The Red City got quite a reputation for gelato in the latest years, and with some reason. Under the arches of Bologna, you can actually taste some pretty delicious ice cream, with new shops popping up and traditional landmarks stepping up their game in order not to be overshadowed by the newcomers. But when it comes to gelato, it must be said, objectivity is but an illusion. Some need a certain creamy-ness, others may point out that an otherwise perfect sorbet is “too cold” (don’t dismiss such people, I’m one of them), some favor the classics and might try every pistacchio in town in order to assess which is the purest, while others only look for novelties and reward those Mastri Gelatai who have the guts to think out of the box. Therefore, once we’re clear about the fact that there’s no such thing as THE chart, here’s MY very own. Enjoy, and tell me what you think.
Cremeria Santo Stefano
This little gem of a gelateria established itself as one of the best in town in a short time, not only thanks to its its shabby chic style and slightly French appearance. Just a handful of flavors, but all carefully assembled, especially when it comes to creams. Try the Crema delle zitelle (“spinsters’ cream”: mascarpone, pine nuts and pistachio), the Chai Latte or the salted pistachio and you won’t be disappointed. They also sell fancy chocolates and biscuits. Cremeria Santo Stefano is in Via Santo Stefano 70/C Facebook page
Formerly known as the iconic Stefino, now the multi-awarded ice cream is called Galliera 49. Ranked n.4 among the 100 best artisanal gelaterias in Italy in 2015 according to the über-snob foodies’ website Dissapore, this is a place to try. The location may not be as fancy as Via Santo Stefano (but is pretty convenient for people coming from te railway station or the high street Via Indipendenza), but your senses still will be grateful. Any and every ingredient is carefully selected, from organic kozu to fair trade coffee, cacao and cane sugar, from the brioches that are made by famous local patissier Gino Fabbri to South Tyrol’s milk and fresh cream. And the granita, oh, the granita. A place to go, but if you can’t make it, they also do home delivery. Galliera 49 is, surprise surprise, in Via Galliera 49. Website
I’m a sucker for their whipped zabaione and whipped cream, but the guys at Gelatauro are a lot more than professional whippers. Many come for the signature flavors “Regno delle due Sicilie” (almond and Bronte’s pistachio), “Principe di Calabria” (vanilla cream, jasmine and pan di spagna) “Giuseppe” (whipped – again – hazelnut), Pumpkin and cinnamon, the classic nocciola, or fruit sorbets that are only made with what is in season (in the summer, try Apricot with mint and chocolate bits). Granite are also very fine. Opt for the lemon&mint, or try the Sicilian breakfast: almond granita, whipped cream and fluffy, slightly sweet pastry. Luxurious. Il Gelatauro is in Via San Vitale 98/B. Website
A bare ten steps from Il Gelatauro, on the other side of the road, you will find a wholly different idea of gelato. Lesser flavors, all organic and mostly vegan, ranging from Pear&cinnamon to Peach + Orange flower, from red berries to blueberries. The most famous flavors are Mediterraneo (almond and pistachio) and Cuba (dark chocolate and black cherries). All ingredients come from Fair Trade, everything is recyclable, ethic is a word taken quite seriously and also the people working there are very nice. Stefino is in Via San Vitale 37/a. Website
You must come here on purpose, and I suggest to take away your ice cream. No, Scirocco’s location at the borders of Via Mattei is all but fancy and also quite hard to reach if you don’t have a car, but placing an experimental, artisanal gelateria in such an inconvenient place shows some courage and deserves respect. And so do the ice creams of this shop named after a warm souther wind. If you’re brave enough, try the salty ones: Parmisan and dried figues, Pecorino Dop from Sardinia, Tomato and tabasco or even an audacious Tuna and caramelled onions. Or play safe with the fruit sorbets made from organic berries and tropical fruits. Anyhow, you won’t be bored. Cremeria Scirocco is in Via Barelli 1/C. Website