Gelato literally means ice-cream in Italian, and creating the perfect gelato is an art that requires well-honed skills and age-old techniques. It has to be made fresh, with the best ingredients and attention to measurements. Thankfully for us, Shanghai and more specifically the gelato artisans in town, deliver on this. From classic flavors to fusion blends, we have pinned down the best gelaterias in town to prepare you for the scorching days ahead.
Image via Popolo Group
A year since it first opened, Buco has proven itself as the innovative laboratory of gelato art. In addition to the classics, which it does exceptionally well (like pistachio and hazelnut), Buco has invited Sicilian chef Salvatore Naselli to push new flavors to the fore this summer. Think thirst-quenching watermelon, black pepper with bergamot and cassata - a Sicilian staple made with ricotta cheese and candied fruits. You can count on every batch to be made fresh on site with ingredients imported from Italia, so keep your eyes peeled for this 'hole in the wall' while you're on the Donghu Lu stretch.
See a listing for Buco Gelato here.
Image via De Medici
Boasting a prime location just a stone’s throw away from The Bund, De Medici is a relatively new contender on the Shanghai gelato scene. As the name suggests, it follows a lineage of classic gelato making as the artisans did at the Medici court. Opt for vanilla for sheer fragrance, stracciatella for extra crunch or mango for fresh, tropical juiciness (RMB30 per scoop). Add RMB5 to pair your gelato choice with a vanilla layered or chocolate hazelnut cone, both shipped from Italy.
Buy a single serving for RMB20 between midday and 5pm every Monday until June 4. See a listing for De Medici here.
Image via Gelato Dal Cuore
The youngest contender in the Shanghai gelato world, Gelato Dal Cuore is quickly capturing the hearts and taste buds of locals and expats alike (little bird told us that the Italian community has also sent their blessing). Imported Italian ingredients aside, this gelato boutique truly stands out for its Asian-inspired flavors and sleek interior. Think light and refreshing flavors like lychee rose and pear with jasmine tea; red date and walnut for earthier notes; or pineapple with roasted Sichuan peppercorn for a hint of the southwest. Not to mention you can enjoy these against the 'instagrammable' interior, oozing salmon pink tones and industrial textures, jointly realized by the owners and Shanghai-based designer, Hannah Churchill. Park your bike and check it out while you're in the Shaanxi Bei Lu area.
See a listing for Gelato Dal Cuore here.
Image via Pâte
Pâte is widely-loved for its ever-changing array of pasties, and the gelato collection is equally commendable. Take your pick from grapefruit with fennel, cultured rice, Thai milk tea or, to please the kids, something sweeter like honey peach cherry and Nutella. This summer will see the debut of a 'melon soda float,' a conceptual piece comprised of a scoop of creamy milk gelato floating atop a cooling glass of Japanese style melon soda. If melon isn’t your thing, create your own 'float' by pairing your gelato of choice with any drink. Make a stop there while you explore the Xintiandi area this summer.
See a listing for Pâte here.
Image via Signor Gelato
For those making the most of Xintiandi’s alfresco seatings this season, be sure to swing by Signor Gelato for authentic gelato scoops. With 20 freshly blended flavors (half dairy-based, half fruit-based) rotating daily, the bites here are creamy and indulgent. Scoop a cone of fragola (strawberry), mango or cioccolato for kids to lick on; or ask the barista to whiz up a frappé drink. As for parents, cast your gaze into the future for a comprehensive alcohol-infused series, including amaretto, Baileys and Cognac coming your way this July.
See a listing for Signor Gelato here.
[Cover image via Popolo Group]