Il Gelato di Claudio Torce
I’d been hearing about Claudio Torce’s Il Gelato ever since he opened in 2003. He recently opened two outposts closer to the center of town, one an easy walk from the Colliseum the other near the Spanish Steps. My favorites? Don’t be shocked, but I love-love-love both the celery and the habanero. I know they sound strange but they aren't. Brie con Frutti di Bosco (Brie with Berries) is creamy and just cheesy enough. Other favorites include Fior di Sesamo (Sesame) and Zabaione. Don’t worry, they have "normal" flavors too.
Viale Aventino 59
Piazza Monte d'Oro 91/92
Owner Maria Agnese Spagnuolo spent a lot of time learning gelato craft from Claudio Torce and, like him, not only insists on top-notch ingredients but uses them in new and exciting ways. It’s hard to have a favorite here since she's very creative and changes offerings constantly. Be prepared to find things like Blue Cheese and Pear, and Kentucky (which is flavored with tobacco). I still remember the day I ordered Dukha, that rich blend of sesame, almonds, hazelnuts and coriander. I’ve never found it again. Reason enough to keep going back. Three locations make it very easy.
Via di Lago di Lesina 9/11
Via Ostiense 36/E
Via G. Bettolo 7
Why does Prati, the neighborhood near the Vatican, have such a high concentration of great gelato? I don’t think it has to do with religious inspiration. More likely it’s because the ‘hood is so densely residential, as well as having some great shopping districts. In other words, a lot of foot traffic. I always think that a test of any ice cream place is their nut flavors, and Gracchi comes out with flying colors. Both pistachio, and pistachio with meringue are creamy yet full of big chunks of pistachios. Like all the best gelaterie, the flavors here reflect the season; they only use fresh ingredients. Persimmon was out of this world, like biting into a big juicy piece of fruit. But my hands down fall favorite is roasted chestnut.
Via dei Gracchi 272
This gelateria is one of the newest of the new breed of artisanal gelaterie in Rome. Located just off Via Flavia, it’s worth a trip over. They only have about a dozen flavors, most very traditional, but among the creamiest and richest around. Cioccolato Extra Fondente is intense while the Crema Come Una Volta is just that: old-fashioned vanilla ice cream. The fruit flavors tended towards things like kiwi and strawberry. And here’s the kicker: at Italian gelaterie they always ask you if you’d like whipped cream on top of your ice cream. But here? They fold zabaione into the whipped cream, to create an entirely new food group. On top of already incredibly rich and delicious gelato. Nirvana. While I was there I was totally seduced by their refrigerated case containing ice cream pops and ice cream cakes, too. They looked delicious and that’s what almost everyone else who came in was buying.
Via Collina, 13/15
The sparkling, crystal-studded walls make Vice feel more like a late-night disco than an artisanal gelateria. And the Thursday afternoon aperitivo hour only adds to the hip/cool factor. And did I mention the ceiling is covered in fake snow? But get beyond the stage-like hype and the gelato is some of the best in town. Obsessive attention to ingredients, including organic eggs from Paolo Parisi, chocolate from Amedei and Domori, lemons from Amalfi and pistachios from Bronte. The creaminess factor is perfect, and the flavors are rich and clean. Don’t miss Thursday evenings when savory flavors like olive oil, salmon, and prosciutto make guest appearances.
Via Gregorio VII , 385
Casa del Cremolato
If you’ve never had a cremolato, or even heard of one, it’s a close relative of the granita. But while a granita is more about liquid turning into icy delight, the cremolato is all about the fruit. Perfectly ripe fruit is combined with just enough sugar, frozen, then mashed up just enough to produce an intensely flavorful, fruity and bone-chilling treat. When it comes to cremolati in Rome, Casa del Cremolato is really the only place to go. It's officially called F.lli De Angelis and the bar is located in the crowded residential neighborhood of Trieste. The half dozen fruit flavors change with the season (well, duh!) and are written on a chalkboard behind the counter. Current favorites are blackberry, almond, and fig. Don't forget to order whipped cream, for which they are famous.
Via Priscilla 18