Like ice cream, gelato contains milk, cream, and sugar, and it’s churned in almost any flavor imaginable. Yet gelato isn’t ice cream. So what’s the difference? True gelato makers could explain their craft for hours, recounting precise measurements of butterfat. But on a hot day, it’s better to just take a tiny spoon, taste its unique texture, and be amazed. Here are four places to do just that.
Cold Fusion Gelato
If you have a pulse, you will probably hear the phrase “Dark Chocolate Sea Salt” and grow instantly hungry. But if, for whatever reason, that sweet-savory combo doesn’t suit your palate, Cold Fusion has 33 other handmade flavors ready for the tasting. Summer in Newport is already a sublime experience, but artisan gelato and sorbets make it all the sweeter. Imagine yourself strolling down Thames Street, caressed by an ocean breeze, as you savor spoonfuls of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. You can even pick up pints or 1.5-gallon boxes for a late-night binge. Newport
Nana’s Ice Cream & Gelato
A sunny visit to the beach basically requires a waffle cone. Nana’s Ice Cream & Gelato, a short walk from Narragansett Beach, serves both types of creamy goodness, and the options are dizzying: cones and sundaes, smoothies and milkshakes, soft serve and sugar-free ice cream, iced coffee and ice cubes made of coffee, plus 50 flavors to choose from. The shop is already overflowing with sugary options, but you can also slip into Nana’s Candy Bar next door, where the shelves are stacked with fudge and taffy, and you’re encouraged fill up a plastic bucket with hard candies. Nana’s may not help your beach body, but this gelateria is a seaside treasure. Narragansett
Amoré Espresso Gelato Bar
Hot and cold, bitter and sweet – opposite flavors often harmonize, and no combination is better than gelato and espresso. Standing on a quiet stretch of Pearl Street near the RI Hospital campus, Amoré is an intimate cafe housed in a Victorian cottage, where guests can sip cappuccinos and hot apple cider all day. When the weather warms up, the pavement outside is ringed with bistro tables, and visitors feast on Amoré’s famous pistachio gelato. This gelateria offers a nice respite from the bustle of Downcity, and you can even stick around for panini sandwich or goat cheese salad, among other lunch offerings. Providence
Maple Avenue in Barrington is one of those perfect residential streets, with shingled houses and manicured lawns, so of course there would be a quaint little gelato shop. Medici Gelato has been serving customers since 2014, when Jean and Bob Robertson bought the property. In addition to their regular flavors, the Robertsons make a coffee-saturated affogato and a rice-milk gelato that is gluten-free. As for the name: ice cream was supposedly invented at the behest of Catherine de Medici, but the building also belonged to the late John Medici, former police chief of Barrington. Barrington