Here it is – the moment you have all been waiting for… The crowning of the best gelateria in Florence (from the ones we’ve tried so far)… And the winner is (drum roll please)….. Perché no!…
So, why “Perché no!…” and what was our methodology you ask? Though not exactly scientific, we tried to compare apples to apples so to speak. We tried to try the same two quintessential gelato flavors everywhere – “cioccolato” and “pistacchio.” Of course, those of you who know me, know I have a difficult time ordering the same thing twice in a row, so I would usually pick randomly from interesting new flavors and Steve would (usually) get the requisite ones. Today at Il Procopio we both went off-script (I ordered two specialties of the house, Steve tried lemon-basil and mango). So in our dedication to you, the reader, we went back and got a small cioccolato-pistacchio to share (the other flavors were so good we knew we had a contender). What were we looking for? Mainly two things – 1) were the flavors “flavor-y” – in other words, was the chocolate chocolatey and the pistachio pistachio-y, and 2) were they smooth and creamy. We have also been observing the pricing, the friendliness of the proprietors and more, but this review is based solely on yumminess.
Perché no!… (the ellipses is in the name itself) wins because the flavors were intensely flavor-y and it was sooooo creamy and delicious! I had two house specialties - orange cream (with bits of candied orange peel) and caramel cream (with swirls of caramel) and Steve got the chocolate/pistachio combo. The pistachio had visible pieces of nuts and was the most pistachio-y we have tasted; the chocolate was dark and rich and intensely chocolatey. And, while it had no effect on this review (?), when we told the owner how much we appreciated his handiwork, he came outside with a free watermelon granita sample for us (actually the more appropriate frozen treat in this weather). That granita was very watermelon-y, and so refreshing! Pictured below (row 1) are the shop/proprietor, pics of the gelato, and Steve’s review (i.e. the smile on his face). It is worth mentioning that real artisinal gelato does not have artificial colors, so it doesn’t look as pretty as the fake colored stuff in the windows you see at the tourist spots.
Several runners-up also deserve a shout-out..
Il Procopio (the one we tried today) was a very close second (and apparently won an award at last year’s gelato festival). The unique flavors we found off-script were tasty (the mango was exceptionally mango-y) and the pistachio and chocolate were just a nose short of Perché no!… Of course, Il Procopio (pics 1&2 in row 2) is a much shorter walk from our apartment, so I am guessing it may become our go-to place.
Carrozze was in contention to be second, until we tried Procopio today (sorry, Josh). We have actually been there twice because when we went to try Carapina the other day it was still closed for ferie. The gelato was delish, but I think it may suffer from being a bit too much of a tourist attraction (right by the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio). (Carapina actually opened back up today, but on seeing it open I realized I had tasted it on one of my house-hunting trips here and I wasn’t that impressed.)
GROM is a chain, but actually makes pretty creamy, flavorful gelato. I had tried it in Milan and it was worth another taste here (the coconut is yummy). Vivoli is rather famous, as attested to by the tour group inside. It was also actually delicious, but just doesn’t stand out in our memory the same (and was the most pricey). Il Lingotto is perfectly respectable and gets a shout-out because in addition to being tasty (though a little less flavor-y), it is literally less than a block from us, the most reasonably priced, and always open. One famous one that just didn’t do it for me was Carabé – I thought it was much more icey than the others, though I later read they are more famous for granita, which makes sense. The very lowest of the low (no surprise), was store-bought “artigianale” gelato (last picture, below).
Overall, we reluctantly (not) threw ourselves on the gelato sword, for the benefit of you, the readers. If you have any similar queries (e.g., what is the best pizzeria in Florence?), I am sure I can convince Steve to join me in that quest as well…