Let me tell you, there is definitely such a thing as “bad” gelato. First, let’s start off by explaining what makes gelato different from ice cream. Gelato is more dense, has less fat, and is served at warmer temperatures than ice cream. It turns out, the difference between good gelato and not-so-good gelato are pretty easy to spot.


First thing’s first. You should never be eating gelato that looks like it’s been injected with radioactive matter to make it neon. The color of your gelato should look natural and closely resemble the color of the main ingredient of the flavor. This means that mint gelato should be white, not green. Color is so important because who wants to be eating dyed gelato? Not me.


goody, desert, Italy, gelato, icecream
Amelia Hitchens

You read that right, height. The next step to finding top-quality gelato is where many tourists fall victim. Any gelato you're eating should by no means be piled so high that it resembles a mountain. It also shouldn't be decorated with ingredients that indicate the flavor. Of course it looks pretty, but this means that the gelato was most likely whipped and is full of air instead of slowly churned like it should be.


feast, candy, pizza, chocolate, cake
Emily Palmer

If you've heard to look for gelato served in metal tins, this can be kind of confusing. Cheap-o gelaterias used to serve out of plastic bins, but they are getting a lot smarter. Gelato piled high into a metal tin still probably isn't the best quality. But if it's tightly packed into a metal tin (like the picture above), it is almost certainly better quality. To find the absolute best gelato, look for when it is stored in their own containers with metal lids (pictured below).

These containers allow the gelato to be stored at exactly the right temperature. As I mentioned, gelato is served at warmer temperatures than ice cream, and much of the density and creaminess is due to this. 

But wait, there's more

So now that you’ve found a top-quality gelateria, I have one last tip for you. Most gelaterias allow you to pick more than one flavor. If the person serving you questions your flavor combo, trust them.

milk, candy, goody, ice, sweet, cream, chocolate
Becky Hughes

Gelato can either be creamy or fruity, and mixing the two can be a big no-no. I’d be willing to bet that the person serving you knows a lot more about gelato than you do and wants you to have the best experience possible, so take their advice. Or take this advice if you really can't decide. 

So, if you've ever fallen victim to bad gelato, now you know how to spot the difference and we guarantee your gelato experiences will be changed for the better.