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Italian Gelato Flavors You Need To Know Before You Visit Italy

Written by Staff Writer
Need an easy language lesson in Italy? How about getting one while also sinking your teeth into some famous, scrumptious Italian gelato? Your Italian lesson starts the moment you peer through the glass case to select your flavors…and have no idea what the cards say or how to pronounce the one you’re pointing to. The adventurous might just order a few scoops of the cold dessert without knowing what they are about to slurp up, while the more calculated sweat it out to see if they can do some Italian ice cream translation on the fly.

If you want to know your gelato gusti (or flavors) you can learn them right on your flights to Italy. Here is a simple guide to 14 Italian gelato flavors that are among the most popular ones you will find at the gelateria.

Creamy, Chocolatey & Nutty

Italian Gelato Flavors - Chocolate and Creamy

Fior di latte (sweet cream)

(Pronounced: fyôr/dee/LAH/tey)

Fior di latte translates to “flowers of milk”. This simple yet satisfying gelato has a similar flavor to sweet cream.

Cioccolato Fondente: Dark Chocolate

(Pronounced: CHô/kô/LAH/tô  fän/Den/te)
Depending on where you are, the dark chocolate flavored gelato can range in color, but it’ll still be an easy one to spot at any gelateria as the darkest of ice creams. For all our super-dark chocolate lovers out there, some places will even offer an even darker version, called cioccolato fondente extra noir — which literally translates to dark chocolate extra dark.

Nocciola (hazelnut)

(Pronounced: Noh/CHyô/LAH)

Stracciatella (vanilla chocolate chip)

(Pronounced: strah/CHya/tell/LAH)

14 flavors of gelato - Stracciatella

This is sort of like the Italian version of cookies and cream. The base is usually fior di latte (mentioned above) and hot fudge or chocolate syrup is then drizzled on top of the freshly-made, cold gelato so that the chocolate hardens quickly. Although not uniform, once the hardened fudge is broken up into tiny bits and pieces, they taste a lot like the chocolate chips we know and love. The final step is t mix it all together, and voila, you have stracciatella gelato!

Bacio (chocolate hazelnut cream)

(Pronounced: bah/CHyô)
MWAHH! The word bacio means kiss in Italian, but don’t worry — you don’t need to pucker up to take a taste! Similar to Hersey’s signature candy “Kiss” the Umbria-based Perugina chocolate company has the “Bacio”.  The Bacio is chocolate with chopped hazelnuts mixed in. The gelato flavor derived from this sweet treat has both bits of the chocolate-hazelnut Bacio candy in it, as well as crushed hazelnut pieces as well.

Caffé (coffee)

(Pronounced: kah/Fay)

Mandorla (almond)

(Pronounced: mahn/dôr/laH)

Zuppa Inglese (English trifle)

(Pronounced: tSoo/pah  een/glay/Say)

This literally translates to “English soup”…but stay with us on this one. No, this not a creamy take on chicken noodle or cabbage soup, we promise. This flavor is named after the popular British dessert called “trifle” — a scrumptious dish made of alternating layers of custard and sweet, alcohol-soaked sponge cake. Since this dessert is usually made in a large glass bowl, much like a soup, this flavor of gelato took on the interpretation. The base of zuppa Inglese is made with cream and often flavored with a sweet wine such as Sherry (to mimic the flavors in a trifle) and bits of vanilla cookies are crushed into it to act as the sponge cake.

Pistacchio (pistachio)

(Pronounced: pees|tah/Kyô)

Italian Gelato Flavors - PistachioAs one of the signature Italian gelato flavors, you’ll find at almost any and every gelateria, pistacchio is a good indicator of the quality of the gelato of the establishment making it. Although more pleasing to the eye, the color should not be a bright or shocking green as we’re used to seeing pistachio ice creams. Instead, you’ll know your pistacchio gelato is of the best quality if it’s a pale, dusty green.




Fresh & Fruity 

italian gelato flavors - fruity

Ananas (pineapple)

(Pronounced: AHN/ahn/ahs)

Don’t let the spelling (or the color) fool you! Besides being a tongue twister, anana is Italian for pineapple.

Fragola (strawberry)

(Pronounced: lahm/pôh/NEH)

Menta (mint)

(Pronounced: men/tah)


(Pronounced: lee/môh/NEH)

Amarena (sour cherry cream)

(Pronounced: ah/mah/RAY/nah)

Amarena literally translates to “sour cherry” but if you try this gelato flavor you’ll find that the cherries mixed in aren’t really sour at all! This flavor starts with a creamy base of  fior di latte with the sour cherries in a thick syrup mixed in. The cherries themselves are similar to the candied (and sometimes brandied) ones you sometimes get in a nice cocktail.

(Pronounced: ah/mah/RAY/nah)

Lampone (raspberry)

(Pronounced: FRAH/gôh/LAH)

Pesca (peach)

(Pronounced: PES/kah)

Coco (coconut)

(Pronounced: Kôh/kô)

italian gelato flavors - coconutDepending on the gelateria you visit, the coco gelato flavor can vary. At certain shops this is a light and creamy, subtle coconut flavored gelato and at others you might find a much sweeter version with spall bits of fresh or toasted coconut bits mixed in.



And there you have it — a guide to some of the most popular Italian gelato flavors. Now you can satisfy your sweet tooth like a pro! Tell us your favorite flavors in the comments below!

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