On summer evenings, the Italian gelateria (ice cream shop) is the busiest part of town. The shop teems with people inspecting the mounds of gelato on display, choosing their favourites, deciding which two or three to sample tonight (that’s right, you can get THREE flavours in one cone!). Outside, the pavement is blocked with locals congregated to eat their ice cream, or just to hang out. You might run into a relative or a friend here and stop for a chat. Whatever else you’re doing, treating yourself to an ice cream is an important part of the evening.

So you can experience a bit of the magic, here are twenty of the most common ice cream flavours (gusti). Which would you choose?

1. Panna (cream): also known as Fior di Latte, this plain ice-cream is a hit with adults and children alike

2. Cioccolato: good old chocolate. Sometimes this comes in two versions, cioccolato and cioccolato fondente (extra dark chocolate)

3. Limone: fresh, tangy lemon flavour is perfect for hot summer days (and nights)

4. Pistacchio: another favourite, look out for the home-made version with real nuts

5. Zuppa Inglese: the title translates literally as ‘English soup’ but the flavour is more like custard. It gets its name from an Italian dessert which is thought to be inspired by English trifle

6. Bacio: the name means kiss, and bacio is a mixture of hazlenut and chocolate…yum!

7. Frutti di bosco (fruits of the forest): a mixture of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, raspberries

8. Caffè: for lovers of espresso and cappuccino here is the dessert version

9. Pesca: fruity peach flavour tastes just like the real thing

10. Crema: Italian crema is a pale yellow colour and more like custard than cream. This is the frozen version

11. Fragola: Quite different from the pale pink, creamy versions of strawberry. This one has the deep pink colour of crushed strawberries

12. Cocco: White, creamy and very coconutty

13. Stracciatella: chocolate chip

14. Banana: Italians divide ice cream flavours into two groups: creme (creamy flavours) and frutte (fruit flavours). Banana lies somewhere between the two – fruity and creamy at the same time

15. Amarena: Plain ice cream with swirls of cherry sauce

16. Menta: bright green colour, fresh minty taste

17. Melone: Another super-fruity flavour. Like eating a fresh, sweet melon straight out of the fridge

18. Ricotta stregata: literally ‘bewitched ricotta’ (a type of cheese). Ricotta stregata is softer than normal gelato, because it actually contains ricotta. Definitely one to try if you fancy something different

19. Liquirizia: I’ve never tried liquorice flavour. I’m curious, but there’s always so much else to choose

20. Nocciola: Hazlenut – my favourite!

Is ice cream popular where you live? What’s your favourite flavour?

Read more:
The cappuccino rule: fact or fiction?
Patat frites: a popular snack in the Netherlands
Summer rituals in New Zealand


About the author

Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.