When your Italy travels take you to a famed gelateria in San Gimignano, know that you’re in for a treat. Much more than a joy for the taste buds, Sergio Dondoli’s gelato in San Gimignano is a haven of local flavors, top-quality ingredients and award-winning innovations. Patrons travel from around the world to visit the best gelateria in San Gimignano. Here’s why you should too.
While Gelateria Dondoli (or Gelateria di Piazza) is known worldwide as a gelato destination and certainly the best gelateria in Italy, the experience of visiting the shop is intimate and personal. You’ll find the gelateria tucked down a winding alleyway in Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano, one of Tuscany’s many piazzas. Step inside – or join the line – and be prepared to be delighted by the creations by Master Gelato Maker Sergio Dondoli.
The man behind the gelato
To understand Dondoli’s mastery, we must also understand the importance of homemade gelato in history. The first person to introduce gelato from Italy to France was Catherine de Medici, future wife of Henry II King of France, in the 16th century. Catherine had worked with alchemist Cosimo Ruggieri as part of a cooking contest to create this creamy dessert and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, Dondoli carries on the tradition as one of the 10 Master Gelato Makers in Italy.
Dondoli is especially known for his experimental, original and unusual flavors. Some of the most notable include Crema di Santa Fina® (cream with saffron and pine nuts), Champelmo® (pink grapefruit and sparkling wine), Dolceamaro® (cream with aromatic herbs) and Vernaccia Sorbet.
Since he began making gelato in 1984, Dondoli has been recognized with numerous international awards. He won the prestigious MAM (Master of Art and Craft) award in 2016, the Italian equivalent of the “Living National Treasure” Japanese Prize, and the French “Maître d’Art” Award. Only 75 Artistic Masters were awarded this honor in Italy, and Sergio is the only Gelato Master to have received this important award. Dondoli also took part in “Identità Golose” (Tempting Identities), a gastronomic event in Milan between February 1-4, 2009, as a member of the “Creatività Gelate” (Frozen Creativities) group. He also recently published a book, I, Sergio Dondoli, an autobiographical account of his passion that includes his recipes.
Not surprisingly, Dondoli makes his gelato using highly selected, top-quality ingredients, often local to the region. For example, his DOP Saffron has earned the protected designation of origin from San Gimignano and Vinsanto. Dondoli also uses “Tonda Gentile” Hazelnut from the Langhe region and Bronte Pistachio. Dondoli is the only gelato maker to use Amedei chocolate, awarded the Oscar in London as the best chocolate in the world for five years. He uses raw milk from cows adopted by Gelateria Dondoli at Camporbiano Farm, and local, organic fruit whenever possible.
When you consider the appeal of gelato compared to ice cream, you can imagine why these flavors are so special. Gelato has more milk than cream and uses lower quantities of fat than ice cream. Because gelato has less air in the base, it is denser and packed with more flavor than ice cream.
We can’t wait to try…
With so many tempting creations at this gelateria in San Gimignano, how do you choose? We have our eyes on some of the most innovative flavor combinations using aromatic herbs such as Rosemary Baby® (Raspberry and Rosemary) and Venere Nera® (Blackberries and Lavender). We can’t wait to sample the pairings of sweet, spicy and bitter, including Sangue di Bue® (spicy chocolate and sour cherries), Michelle® (saffron cantuccini, Avola almonds, honey and bitter orange peel), Biske Rata® (white chocolate, pumpkin seed oil, and cookies) and Crema de’ Pazzi® (bitter orange peel, Grand Marnier, dark chocolate and almonds).
After your visit to this gelateria in San Gimignano, you may want to dig your spoon deeper into the world of gelato. Should you have more time on your travels, you can take the Dondoli Gelato Class to learn more about and make gelato. You’ll have a quick lesson followed by trying your hand at making a Fiordilatte (raw milk) gelato and a seasonal fruit (persimmon, banana, strawberry, lemon or melon) gelato.
Just a taste
Dondoli’s gelateria in San Gimignano is just a taste of the culinary riches of Italy’s Tuscany region. Read about seven ways you’ll celebrate Tuscan food with Luxury Gold and the essential guide to Italy for foodies.
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