Italians are famous the world over as the best makers of ice cream so while you are visiting Florence here are a few places where you can sample some of the best.
Not far from the church of Santa Croce in the interesting shopping street called Borgo degli Albizi is a piece of chocolate heaven called Vestri. If you are a chocolate fan you have to make time to visit Vestri whatever happens, but if you are a chocolate and an ice cream fan, then you may have trouble leaving this shop! The ice cream is made on the premises and every stage of production is watched over by the Vestri family from growing their own cocoa in Santo Domingo to serving the finished product to us here in Florence.
Close to the Uffizi gallery in the street called Via dei Neri is the Gelateria dei Neri with a great range of gelato all made on the premises. Try one of the more unusual flavours such as ricotta with figs, or peaches with amaretti. If you prefer the classics, try the vanilla, the lemon or one of the many varieties of chocolate. They also make wonderful semi-freddi here, concoctions of whipped creams and custards, if you haven’t tried one before, this is a great place to start!
Right next to the cathedral you will find the gelateria called Grom. If you have trouble deciding where to start with all the flavours here, just check out the board that suggests which flavours are ‘harmonious matches’. You can’t go wrong with the fruit flavours, organically grown rare varieties that they grow, harvest and make into gelato themselves. Check out the nut flavours of bacio, nocciola or torroncino, all made with a named variety of hazelnut.
After a visit to Michelangelo’s David, walking towards the cathedral, call in at Carabe in Via Ricasoli. Some ice cream enthusiasts say you can tell that the ice cream here is Sicilian and not Florentine, but for most of us, we just know it is very, very good! Here you should try the rich, creamy and smooth almond ice cream but don’t miss the granita and cremolata. The difference is that a granita is made with fruit juice, sugar and crushed ice to make a granular sorbet and the cremolata is made with thick fruit puree which is chilled more like an ice cream.