Why Tourists Should Take Note Of The Color Of The Gelato Serving Spoons In Italy

Walking down the street eating gelato is one of the best things that you can experience in Italy. What's more, is that you can order like a pro if you know the secret code that gelaterias use to show the variation of ingredients in their flavors. Tiktoker and Italian food blogger Benedetta from @localaromas outlined the system that gelaterias (shops that sell gelato) have in place to explain what is inside each flavor.

She explains that shops do this via a color-coded system using the serving spoons. In her favorite gelateria, if the spoon in the ice cream container is yellow, the gelato contains eggs; if it is white, then it contains milk; and those without eggs or milk have a clear scoop. Different shops may use different colors, but the idea is just the same. This makes it easier for those with allergies or dietary preferences to order and prevents cross-contamination of the scoops. Italy is also subject to EU law which means that the 14 main food allergens should be labeled. If you have a favorite flavor, then it may be worth learning some Italian words and phrases so that you can easily order once you find a gelateria that catches your eye.

What creates the taste differences in gelato

Beyond the importance of allergies, these different ingredients change a gelato's texture and flavor. When a gelato contains eggs, this creates a richer taste. Crema is a gelato flavor that is made with only eggs, milk, and sugar. While it is a simple recipe, the eggs give it a yellow color and it is made with high-quality ingredients, making it popular in gelaterias. In the south of Italy, it is much less common to use eggs in gelato. 

If you choose a clear spoon, aka gelato without any milk or eggs, it'll be more like a sorbet. It is usually made with fruit, water, and sugar, while having a much lighter texture than a traditional gelato. Between the lighter texture and the fruity flavor, this type of gelato is more refreshing on a hot summer day.

Compared to ice cream, gelato contains more milk, less cream, and fewer eggs (or no eggs at all, depending on the spoon!). Gelato is churned at a slower rate than ice cream, so it is thicker and doesn't contain as much air. To keep it soft, it is served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream. As it is less fatty than ice cream, it helps the flavor to really pop.

How to choose a gelateria in Italy

When buying gelato in Italy, it is important to go to the best places and not just the tourist traps, so go to places where the locals go! There are also some signs to look out for to make sure that you're buying the best product. For example, quality gelato should not be brightly colored, but muted because it is made from natural ingredients instead of additives. The ingredients list should also be available, as good gelato makers will be proud to use local ingredients and not bulk it up with low-quality agents.

Flavors should change according to the season, as this means high-quality gelato. Out-of-season fruit doesn't taste as good, and top-tier gelaterias wouldn't be selling summer produce, like strawberries, in the winter. It is also useful to taste the gelato, as most places will offer you a small sample to try before you buy. If there is a strong taste of the flavor, then it is likely made from scratch and good quality. Once you've found a great place, you can enjoy this tasty treat even if you're traveling around Italy on a shoestring budget.