Habanero, Celery, Valrhona gelato – 100 savory & sweet gelato flavors at Il Gelato gelateria

Update: This location appears to have closed as of November 2012 – you can still visit his locations in Rome

Another stop on the Tour del Gelato – discovering the world’s best gelato one lick at at time! You can participate, too!

This week I made a discovery about a new gelateria near me in Milan. I’m especially excited since the gelateria closest to my house is average, but not great.

Il Gelato gelateria in Milan is from the same group of gelatai (gelato-makers) who created Il Gelato in Rome, in EUR. I was fortunate enough to speak a few words with Lorenzo Franchini and Alessandro Meco in the Milan location that opened in June 2009. They were recently included in Gambero Rosso’s July edition that examined Italian gelato in-depth. You can flip through some pages of the Gambero Rosso July issue (Italian only) via that link- their particular feature is on page 37.

Chocolate and Raspberry (Cioccolato, lampone) gelato at Il Gelato gelateria, Milan, Italy

Gambero Rosso estimates that there are 35,000 gelaterie in Italy – so we have quite a few more to sample for the Tour del Gelato!

Two things distinguish Il Gelato from other gelaterie – one is they offer 100 flavors. Very few gelaterie have the creativity or space to do so. The other interesting thing Il Gelato offers is gusti salati – which often get translated as “savory flavors“, but I would suggest they be called “bittersweet flavors” as they are always sugar-based and sweet, but not as sweet as you might expect from traditional gelato flavors.

Some of their savory/bittersweet flavors pictured belwo: crema ai peperoni (cream of bell pepper), habenero picantissimo (hot hot pepper), crema di sedano (cream of celery) and frittata di cipolle (onion frittata). ù

Other flavors I saw were: Philadelphia e noci (yes, the cream cheese and walnuts), wasabi, gorgonzola, and taleggio, aceto basalmico e Miele (taleggio cheese, balsamic vinegar and honey).

Savoury / Bittersweet gelato - Celery, Habanero, Bell Pepper, Onion Frittata at Il Gelato gelateria, Milan, Italy

Though they have 100 flavors, they often rotate in new flavors and solicit feedback from customers on developing new flavors.

My first gelato was pistacchio (my barometer and constant in every gelateria test), halva e pistacchio (pieces), and cioccolato Amadei 9 (Amadei chocolate).

Chocolate flavors at Il Gelato gelateria in Milan, Italy

As far as how good this gelato is, I would say it’s above average, though not the best I’ve ever tasted. I also have a lot more flavors to taste. It would be in my top 10 gelaterie in Italy, though. But most importantly, it has the possibility to become your favorite gelateria due to offering flavors you can’t find anywhere else. That’s what struck me as people were streaming in all evening to get gelato – they were excited to see so many flavors and be able to stray from the Italian trilogy of gelato – pistachio, chocolate and hazelnut.

Sicilian cassata gelato

Cassata siciliana gelato at Il Gelato gelateria, Milan, Italy

Here is latte e mirtilli (blueberries and milk), and some of the very interesting and sure-to-be-favorites of someone were: sesamo nero (black sesame seed), riso e zafferano (rice and saffron), chocolate of every type (paprika and hot pepper, banana) using some of the best chocolate in the world for their base (Amadei, Valrhona, Domori).

Blueberry and Milk gelato (Mirtilli e latte) at Il Gelato gelateria, Milan, Italy

They make small batch sizes of each gelato flavor which is probably why they can offer you 100 flavors. I sampled a zenzero (ginger) sorbet that was incredibly strong and fresh and would have been a perfect thing to serve in between courses to clear one’s palate.

Holding fresh gelato, Il Gelato gelateria, Milan, Italy

On my next trip, I’m going to try girasole e cioccolato (sunflower seed and chocolate), pistacchi turchi (turkish pistachio), and cioccolato with Valrhona.

Which flavors do you want to try? Which would you definitely avoid?

Black sesame seed and Sunflower seed gelato at Il Gelato gelateria, Milan, Italy

Il Gelato gelateria
Piazza Lagosta, Milano. Angolo (corner of) Via Trau

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  1. says

    I want to try gorgonzola, blueberries and milk, bell pepper, habenero, wasabi, and some of the up-scale chocolate ones. Do they happen to have chocolate and peanut butter?

  2. says

    Ooh, I love black sesame seed gelato… I’d like to try the wasabi, gorgonzola, taleggio/balsamic/honey, philadelphia + noci…. I think I have to visit Milano soon, for gelato and shoes! :D

  3. says

    I don’t see the appeal of gelato made from onions, or wasabi or gorgonzola. I like all those ingredients but not in gelato. Give me dark dark chocolate and coconut and coffee anyday.

  4. nellie says

    I would unfortunately make myself into a glutton of enormous proportions,and have one of each please! Gelato for breakfast lunch and cina and snack time and passagetta time and right after espresso.
    My uncle Ignazio indulged me when I went to visit Sicily, 3 years in a row,recalling how as a toddlers when I come to visit there was all I cried for. So there it is then.
    I Nell am a gelato addict of ginormous proportions.

    • Ms. Adventures in Italy says

      @Steve, I still need to try more flavors – I think it was comparable but I would still rank Il Massimo higher.

  5. says

    is there anywhere here in rome that has gelato like this?! i’m dying to try some of these flavors! although, if need be, gelato tasting may be reason enough to justify a trip to milan.

    • Ms. Adventures in Italy says

      Hi Ellen, yes the gelateria is actually from Rome – they are in the EUR area at Viale dell’Aeronautica 10 :)

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