For the uninitiated, gelato is Italian-style ice cream. Unlike American-style ice cream, gelato relies more heavily on milk, giving it a smoother, silkier texture. You can go for standard flavors like cocco (coconut), vaniglia (vanilla), or nocciola (hazelnut). Or you can give some of the more unusual tastes discussed below a whirl. Hey, summer is long—why not try a little of everything? By Jessica Allen.
305 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Dolce Brooklyn makes its gelato in small batches, ensuring that arrives in your cone or cup at peak deliciousness. Yes! The Red Hook shop is run by a couple, one of whom discovered a passion for gelato on a trip to Sardinia and learned to make it in Bologna, and occasionally their kids work behind the counter. And what’s more Italian than olive oil gelato? Or fior de latte (mozzarella)? Or espresso? What you’ll find depends on what’s in season and what’s going on in in the head gelato-maker’s creative brain, which has come up with such imaginative combos as whisky-infused chocolate or mint, cucumber, and lemon.
138 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Everything at Fresco Gelateria is made fresh daily in a sparkling space in the East Village, from the fruit-focused, such as banana and sour cherry, to those that borrow from beverages, such as chai, summer rum, and matcha. In other words, this places lives up to the “fresco” in its name, for sure. For a true “Christmas in July” kind of feel, order a heaping portion of egg nog. It’s subtle and sweet and guaranteed to have you looking over your shoulder for Santa. Flavors rotate, which means you have a perfectly valid excuse for returning again and again and again.
233 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
What makes Grom so good? Its ingredients! From the very first Grom shop in Turin, which opened in 2003, all the way to the four locations in NYC, the gelato is 100% natural, with an emphasis on traditional techniques. Grom’s cassata siciliana gelato takes cassata as its inspiration, a sweet cake that’s soaked in liqueur, dotted with ricotta, and usually served around Easter. Using ricotta made from sheep’s milk as a base—a rarity in the gelato world—Grom mixes in candied lemon, citron, and orange, each providing a variation on citrusy tang and a refreshing jolt to the palate.
Il Laboratorio del Gelato
188 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10002
Why, yes, Il Laboratorio del Gelato is an actual laboratory. From a huge space on the Lower East Side comes a huge array of flavors. Here’s where to go to get a scoop of red bean and another of tarragon pink pepper, a cone that combines lavender honey with rose petal, or sage and crème fraiche. Basically, if you can eat it, the folks at this outfit can turn it into gelato. Might we recommend the avocado? Its inherent creaminess absolutely lends itself to gelato. Plus, since avocado is a well-known superfood, you’re actually getting healthier with every lick of avocado gelato. Promise.
L’Albero del Gelati
341 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
L’Albero del Gelati has become the city’s number-one destination for savory gelato. Indeed, the philosophy at this Brooklyn scoop shop is best summed up as follows: “When natures offers so many ingredients, we can’t help but feel tempted to turn them into gelato. Because everything can be transformed into gelato!” Even better, ingredients are sourced from area farmers and dairies, with a Slow Food mentality, minus dyes and preservatives of any kind. So, good to eat and good for the planet! When it comes to unusual flavors, if the green bean doesn’t float your boat, try the organic arugula or eggplant.
Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.