Italy: How to Tell Real Gelato from Fake

How to Tell Real from Fake Gelato in Italy

Did you know that most gelato you will see in Italy is fake?  Yes, fake as in made from a powder and pumped full of air.  80% of gelato in Rome is fake.

Don’t let the “artigianale” (artisinal) signs fool you.  We saw plenty of fake gelato that was labeled artigianale.

Look at the colors.  Real gelato will not have artificial colors.  Look closely at mint and banana.  Real mint gelato is white, not green.  Real banana is greyish and not yellow.  If you find green mint or yellow banana, it’s probably fake gelato.  The color of the gelato should exist in nature.

How to Tell Real from Fake Gelato in Italy

Look at how it’s displayed. Is the gelato piled up into pretty puffy mounds?  Then it’s probably fake.  The pretty mounds mean that the gelato has had air whipped into it and likely contains stabilizers.  Real gelato will be displayed very simply.  Some of the real gelato we saw was kept in covered containers!

Is it garnished? Are there piles of mint leaves on the mint or strawberries all over the strawberry gelato?  Then it might be fake.  Again, real gelato doesn’t need to advertise.

How to Tell Real from Fake Gelato in Italy

Yes, it can be challenging to avoid the fake stuff and find the real stuff.  On the plus side, if you avoid the fake gelato it will keep you from eating gelato every three seconds on your trip.

Even being careful to find the real stuff, I still averaged about 1.5 gelatos a day during our two week trip.  It can be done!

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