How to order gelato in Italian

Adam Jones | 05/12/2018
How to order gelato in Italy. Italian gelato cafe.
Gelato bar

You’ve taken time to learn Italian phrases, maybe even read our article on Italian phrases for travellers. Now you’re in one of Italy’s many gelaterias looking for your first sweet taste of authentic gelato. Despite your study of some basic Italian phrases, you might find yourself somewhat at a loss since there a lot of words here that you haven’t covered.

We’re here to help you order that real Italian gelato in Italian.

Let’s begin with some basic Italian words and phrases to get you started. 

The first one is easy — it’s important to remember it’s Italian gelato not Italian ice cream. The locals will definitely know that there’s a big difference.

Okay, time to learn Italian. We’ll start with some basic words that will come in handy in the gelateria. 

First, let’s focus on getting the size you want. When it comes to gelato you may want to order a piccolo (small), medio (medium), or a grande (large). 

How do you want to eat your gelato? The most common options you’ll find are in una coppa (a cup), una copetta (a small cup), or un cono (a cone). 

Your order might sound something like this: 

  • Vorrei un cono grande.  I would like a large cone.

Excellent, know you’re off to a running start. 

In Italy, gelato will often come with the offer of being topped with la panna (fresh cream) or maybe even la panna montata (whipped cream). 

You might hear the question: 

  • Vuole la panna?  Do you want cream?

A quick si (yes) or no (no) will suffice here.

Now it might get a bit trickier, since you’ll be likely to hear:

  • Quali gusti? Which flavours?

You may know by now that there are many, many different flavours of gelato in Italy.

Let’s cover some of the most popular flavours:

  • Amarena : Cherry
  • Bacio : Hazelnut
  • Caffè : Coffee
  • Caramello : Caramel
  • Castagna : Chesnut (seasonal)
  • Cioccolato : Chocolate
  • Cioccolato bianco : White Chocolate
  • Cioccolato Fondente : Rich, dark chocolate
  • Cioccolato Fondente Extra Noir : Extra dark chocolate
  • Cioccolato al Latte : Milk chocolate
  • Cioccolato all’Arancia : Orange-flavored dark chocolate
  • Cioccolato con Peperoncino : Hot pepper-infused dark chocolate
  • Cioccolato all’Azteca : Cinnamon and hot pepper-infused dark chocolate
  • Crema : Custard
  • Cocco : Coconut
  • Dulce de Leche : Sweetened milk/caramel-flavored gelato
  • Fragola : Strawberry
  • Fior De Latte : Sweetened Cream
  • Frutti di bosco : Mixed berry
  • Limone : Lemon
  • Liquirizia : Licorice
  • Malaga : Rum-Raisin
  • Mandorla : Almond
  • Menta : Mint
  • Nocciola : Plain Hazelnut
  • Panna Cotta : Cooked Cream
  • Pesca : Peach
  • Pistacchio : Pistachio
  • Puffo : Blue anise-flavored
  • Riso : With bits of rice; like a rice pudding
  • Stracciatella : Fior di Latte with veins of chocolate
  • Tiramisù : Gelato version of Tiramisù
  • Vaniglia : Vanilla
  • Zabaione : Marsala wine-tinged custard

Now you know some basic phrases for what you want to order, how much and how to say your favourite flavours. The best part is yet to come: savouring that cone or cup or gelato that you just learned how to order.