Miami's Top Gelato Shops
by ana heretoiu
Intense flavors like chocolate mousse and dulce de leche make gelato a sweet—and almost guilt-free—indulgence.
Gelato is just like ice cream, right? Not if you ask an Italian gelatomaker. Think of it as ice cream’s softer, thicker, and yes, less fat-intensive cousin. While ice cream has a legal minimum of 10 percent milk fat (high-end brands often have twice that much), gelato is made with less buttermilk, resulting in under 10 percent milk fat. The Italian treat also packs quite a flavor punch because it’s whipped at a lower speed, adding less air and creating a denser, creamier texture, enhanced by the warmer serving temperature. Then there’s heritage: cobbled Italian streets dotted with gelateria and recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Now, some of that deliciousness is taking root in Miami, too.
“Gelato has its own culture in Italy,” says Alessandro Alvino, co-owner of Gelato-Go (458 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-397-8648) on Ocean Drive. Alvino partnered with Antonio Armino (gelato-creator extraordinaire) and Domenico D’Addio to bring Miami a little taste of Italy. Their shop serves only a few flavors, but all are made daily with ingredients so legitimately Italian they have their own certificates—like their Sicilian hazelnuts and “100 percent real Bronte pistachios.” The team serves those classics but also whips up whimsical creations such as gelato spaghetti (vanilla gelato shaped like pasta, topped with strawberries and syrup) and cannolo gelato (cannolo filled with two gelato flavors and topped with whipped cream).
Dolce Vita Gelato Café
Julio Bertoni, owner of Dolce Vita Gelato Café (1655 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-604-0104; various area locations), whose company has been around since the 1950s, also raves about the frozen treat’s wholesomeness, noting that ours is a city that greatly appreciates it. “I decided to give the world our family’s biggest pride,” he says. “There was no better place than Miami to do it.” Bertoni’s shops offer savory café bites, sweets, coffees and, of course, a variety of gelato flavors churned daily, including chocolate mousse, Chantilly cream, mandarin, kiwi and, a classic in Miami, dulce de leche.
Low-guilt deliciousness aside, “there are no gimmicks with gelato—it is what it is,” says Richard Espejo, owner of Amore Gelato (901 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-456-6162) in Mary Brickell Village. Perhaps that’s why we love it. After more than a decade in the industry, Espejo moved down from New York to put gelato on Miami’s radar, with 16 milk flavors and eight fruity ones, all made with “a whole lotta love.” Amore offers flavors like pumpkin, tiramisu, and rum raisin, along with a variety of homemade frozen yogurts, sorbets, and coffees. Be it your irresistible Italian charm, velvety texture, or refreshing bite, we’ve got a crush on you, gelato!
photography by shutterstock
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.