In the Rajasthani capital of Jaipur, in India, the colour pink is a part of life. Upon arrival, you’ll see it everywhere – predominantly splashed across the city’s regal architecture. The latest addition to the Pink City’s signature colour scheme are the custom-designed, eco-friendly rickshaws driven by local women for Pink City Rickshaw.
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.
Still hungry? These 5 Michelin Star chefs are celebrating local culture through food.
Memorable travels often stay with you for one or two incredible experiences: a time when you were immersed in the people, culture, history and food of a place. At Luxury Gold we call these experiences Passport Moments, and we want to share our favorites with you. So we asked our Luxury Gold travel experts for their top 5 Passport Moments. Here’s what they had to say:
Private cruise around the Island of Capri, Italy
What better way to soak in the splendor of Italy than on a private cruise through sparkling blue waters around the dramatic coast of Capri? Delve into hidden coves and visit the White Grotto, a tucked away treasure that few get to see. Admire the stalactites that dangle over the entrance of this stark white cave. Then, wind your way along the dramatic coastline of craggy rocks, the Faraglioni sea stacks and the Punta Carena lighthouse. You can almost hear the tempting siren call from the tales of Ulysses from this storied and stunning locale.
Game drive in Kruger National Park, South Africa
On your South Africa travels, venture deep into the heart of one of the world’s largest game reserves on a thrilling three-day safari in Kruger National Park. Your game drives in a private, open-air safari vehicle will have you on the lookout for the Big Five: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and the African buffalo. Your guides, an experienced ranger and tracker, are true experts and will share fascinating insights on the local wildlife. With multiple game drives scheduled, you will embark on exciting evening game drives that are followed by sundowner drinks around a campfire. You’ll also seek out leopards, crocodiles, hippos and elephants as the mist rises on a morning game drive.
Sunrise at the Taj Mahal, India
No trip to India would be complete without a bucket list visit to the Taj Mahal. Luxury Gold makes your experience even more memorable as you view one of the greatest monuments in the world at sunrise. Bask in the majesty of the Taj Mahal as its marble domes and columns are framed in warm hues of pink, orange and yellow. With the light of dawn and fewer visitors, you can fully appreciate its gleaming white grandeur in peace, only accompanied by the quiet calls of birds and monkeys. Take in its scale from a distance and get close standing within its dramatic architecture as you reflect on this monument of love and flawless architecture built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen.
Sunrise at Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia
Take in another unforgettable sunrise in Australia at Uluru. On our Inspiring Australia tour, you’ll experience two stunning sunrises at this sacred site. Watch the glowing red hues change as the sun rises behind the majestic Uluru. In this remote area, reflect on how this land is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area.
Bask in another spectacular sunrise the following day. You’ll watch the dawn break over Uluru enchanted by the magical ‘Field of Light’ art installation by celebrated artist Bruce Munro. This garden of 50,000 hand-crafted, colored spindles of light, spread out across the space of four football fields, will enchant you with its vibrant splendor. Wander through the deep violet, ochre and white illuminated paths. Then, from atop a dune, watching the dawn creep across the desert plain and light up Uluru.
Your visit to Uluru will be made even more memorable by your stay at Ayers Rock Resort.
Geiranger Fjord boat safari, Norway
We return to Europe for our final top Passport Moment with Luxury Gold. On our Timeless Scandinavia tour, deep within the fjords of Norway, embark on an adrenaline-fueled, fun and informative boat ride taking a close look at cascading waterfalls and remote mountain farms that cling to steep mountains. From the comfort of your craft, cruise up to dramatic cliffs with an average drop of 800 feet. Here small farms sit at the top, almost untouched in modern times and only accessible by boat and foot. This energizing and exciting RIB-boat ride is the ideal way to experience Norway’s natural beauty. If you’d prefer a less adventurous visit to Geiranger fjord, join a kayaking trip. You’ll glide alongside the fjord’s magnificent peaks and waterfalls, called the Seven Sisters and the Suiter, with an experienced guide.
If Europe calls, we’ve picked our favorite European cities to visit this summer. Still thinking about your must-visit destination? Here’s why a Luxury Gold tour will whet your wanderlust.
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