In case you had forgotten, I don’t feed myself only with cinema and beauty. I also need gelato, which I rigorously eat only in the summer and sometimes as much as one a day. I am also a very selective gelato eater, so much so that I only go to a handful of trusted addresses in town (and what a town. Bologna is one of the best places in Italy for artisanal gelato lovers) for my daily dose of icy creaminess. I already wrote a top five of the best gelato in town three years ago, when this blog was still a baby, but everything needs updating, especially food charts, and particularly in Bologna, where the last three years have witnessed a real explosion of everything food-related, including gelato. So here’s my latest version of Bologna top five ice cream shops. Enjoy.
An institution in town, with its iconic scoops “Ludovico” and “Edoardo” as well as the varieties of the politically uncorrectly named “moretto”, La Sorbetteria Castiglione was already hitting charts in the Nineties, when doing artisanal gelato wasn’t in fashion and competition wasn’t too big. Then it was kind of shadowed by neighbor Cremeria Santo Stefano and other, newest names. But this solid gelateria a few steps from Giardini Margherita is here to stay and still provides a delicious gelato, with one of the best “creaminess factor” in town.
Must try: “Cremino Ludovico”, with hazelnut pralines, cacao butter and whole caramelized hazelnuts.
Creaminess factor: perfect. Never too icy, melting in your mouth the very moment you taste it.
Home delivery? Yes
What used to be La Funivia on Piazza Cavour simply became Cremeria Cavour, but nothing changed other than the name: same queues that from the shop invade the portico, same scoops, same velvety creaminess, same location in front of posh Galleria Cavour. On a more personal note, this gelateria is also dangerously near to my yoga school, which induced me more than once to neutralize my efforts on the mat with a post practice, much enjoyed gelato. Especially now that they introduced a crunchy chocolate cone. But hey, it’s all prana.
Must try: “Amarenata”, black cherry cream with almond brittle, hazelnut crumb and chocolate chips
Creaminess factor: really nice. Velvety and buttery.
Home delivery? Nope
La vecchia stalla
Here’s a new entry and pleasant surprise. Right in the heart of Piazza Santo Stefano (it is actually still via Santo Stefano), Cremeria La vecchia stalla also makes for a great licking with a view: if you pay attention, every day you’ll se someone trying to photograph their melting ice cream with the beautiful, triangular piazza in the background. I particularly like this cremeria when I’m in the mood for a guilty pleasure: super creamy, quite fat, sweet and often with the addition of melted chocolate in the cone bottom, their gelatos are tasty and rewarding.
Must try: Dolce Salato, a mouthwatering “cremino” with peanuts and chocolate cream
Creaminess factor: very high
Home delivery? Yep
Here’s another institution in Bologna and another place where you’ll might have to queue. On the bottom on Via Galliera, very close to the rail station and to Piazzola market, here’s this apparently unpretentious place (it’s not even a proper shop, rather a stall), yet so famous and successful that it can afford to be open only during the warm season. Also great for granitas, Galliera 49 has a very nice variety and combination of flavours, with particular interest for seasonal fruit sorbets. They also have a very cool website (also in english) where every flavour and scoop is explained in detail as well as the origin of every single ingredient.
Must try: Mediterraneo, with almond, pistachio and pinenuts
Creaminess factor: not the highest, but this makes for great fruit sorbets
Home delivery? Yes
Cremeria Santo Stefano
Let’s close this little chart with the queen of Bologna’s gelaterie. Situated in quiet and upscale Via Santo Stefano but set aside from the more lively Piazza bearing the same name, Cremeria Santo Stefano is a place you don’t happen to walk by. You generally go there on purpose and many people have such purpose. Excellent gelatos, lovely laboratory with a view, pretty little shop and… did I say great gelato? The only thing that I cannot forgive the guys from Santo Stefano is not making their “scoop of the month” salted almond a regular all year round. But they promised to make a granita with the same ingredients.
Must try: Pistacchio salato del Bosforo. Simply a perfect, salted, mouthwatering pistachio
Creaminess factor: not extreme but still very rich