Gluten-Free Gelato Journey 2007

Damiani Gelato 2, originally uploaded by A Gluten Free Guide.

If you followed Ms. Guide’s gluten-free soft-serve adventures this summer, it should come as no surprise that I went on a hunt for gluten-free gelato during my recent tour of Tuscany.

Before embarking on my trip to Italy, I consulted the Italian Celiac Association (AiC) site for a list of gelaterie that cater specifically to gluten-free needs. Katie and I tried to visit the gelateria Il Paciugo in Lucca, but unfortunately we ran out of time. After such a big lunch, I probably wouldn’t have truly enjoyed it. On to Florence, where I found two gelaterie associated with the AiC and one recommended by Shauna.

Eliana, in addition to being a wonderful host and cooking incredible meals during my stay, was eager to accompany on my quest for gluten-free gelato. The first stop was Gelateria Malotti. The location is a bit out of the city center, definitely not convenient for most gluten-free tourists.

The options were limited – four flavors of gluten-free gelato, set apart from the standard fare. The novelty of enjoying gelato on a gluten-free cone made up for the meager selection. They used a freshly washed scoop (preventing cross-contamination) to serve up my Vanilla and Hazelnut treat.

Two days later, we continued our journey with a visit to Gelateria Damiani. The options here were plentiful and Solange, the owner’s daughter was a joyful ray of sunshine. On the other side of the Arno river, this outpost is still a trek for gluten-free tourists but may be worth the effort if your schedule permits.

In addition to 15+ gluten-free flavors of gelato and gluten-free cones, Gelateria Damiani also offers gluten-free cialde cookies, plain or filled with hazelnut cream.

After much internal struggle and debate (vacation requires so many thought-provoking decisions), I decided to forgo the gluten-free cone (I like my frozen treats melty) and instead get a cup of fig, pinenut and coconut gelati topped with a plain cialde.

Eliana indulged in chocolate and vanilla soy gelati – even the dairy-free have options at this gelateria.

The last gelateria I visited in Florence was GROM. This gelateria is not part of the AiC but was recommended by Shauna as gluten-free friendly. It does seem a touch sacrilegious to visit a gelateria that has a NY outpost, but its origins are Torinese (as are mine), and we were not disappointed. When I told our server I had Celiac disease, she eagerly explained which flavors were safe and let me sample until I settled on three: Cassata Siciliana (ricotta with candied fruit), Zabaglione (the flavor of the month), and Vanilla (simple perfection).

As many customers seem to have trouble choosing, they offer help in the form of “Matrimoni d’amore” – flavor combinations - something to please every palate.

When preparing my cup they used two fresh spatulas taking care to prevent cross-contamination with the other flavors or gluten-containing culprits. (the question now is -does the NY outpost cater so well to gluten-free patrons? I will gladly work to find out.)

The warmth and friendliness of the staff made the experience even more enjoyable.

Sadly, during my one evening in Siena, I was unable to find a safe place for gelato. Almost everything was closed early on Sunday evening. So I had to make due with a truly sacrilegious option. But they had caramel, which has been discontinued in the States; I enjoyed every bit of “caramelly” goodness.

Next stop: Cantinetta di Verrazzano, my last meal in Florence (on this trip anyway).

Gelateria Damiani

Via Burchiello, 20/r

Firenze, Italia

Phone: 39-055-2335428

Via del Campanile at the corner of Via dell'Oche

(between the Duomo and Gli Uffizi Gallery)

Firenze, Italia 50012

Phone: 39-055-216158

Gelateria Malotti

Via di Novoli, 42/6

Firenze, Italia

Phone: 39-055-411997

Gelateria Paciugo

Via della Formica,172

Lucca, Italia

Phone: 39-0583-56069


CeliacChick said...


What a great trip!

Thanks for sharing.

Oh, I went to Grom here in the city! I'll blog about it soon.

Catherine said...

ooh, I can't wait to hear about it.