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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Mellor

La Strega Nocciola: The Best Gelato In Florence?

A review of La Strega Nocciola, a small gelateria tucked away near the Duomo.

We stumbled on this gelateria quite by accident; the sandwich board outside with "La Strega Nocciola" written, and underneath, "Gelato Artigianale". In the case of gelato, using "artisanal" means nothing in Italy. It's not a protected word as it is in France. So anyone selling anything resembling gelato may call it "artigianale" if they want to.

Interestingly enough, some of the best, most-artisanal, hand-crafted, small-batch gelato I've had come from gelaterie that don't even have signage (such as La Gourmandise in Rome), let alone "artigianale" anywhere near their branding.

So I had little faith in this one being any different. Mixed with the fact it was in literally stone-throwing distance from the Duomo, I had even larger doubts. (Nothing good is ever close to a tourist attraction.)

However, it was there, and my mother-in-law mentioned how she wanted a gelato after spending the morning in the Galleria Accademia, so in we went.

An exposed brick wall, dim lighting, and a laid back atmosphere greeted us inside. Instead of displaying the gelato in large pans, as is common in most gelaterie, they instead housed their gelato in pozzetti, or stainless steel cylinders. I'm a total sucker for these, as these more often than not signal decent-to-good gelato. After all, these gelaterie that use pozzetti rely on their attractive flavor combinations, or just their ambiance, to bring in passersby, rather than violently colored mountains of gelato.

The front of a gelateria with chairs and benches on the street and a small sign that reads "La Strega Nocciola."
The front of La Strega Nocciola

With a starting price of 3.20 for a small gelato (going up to 4.10, then 5.20, and finally 6.90 for medium, large, and extra large, in that order), I felt a little nervous, as I make it a point to rarely spend more than 3.00 euros on a small gelato (as that is the going price in nearly every city, some offering a small for as little as 2.50).

Choosing their signature flavor of lavender gelato and pairing it with the ever simple fiordilatte, I found myself incredibly impressed.

As we mention on our podcast, fiordilatte (a type of very mild cheese, similar to fresh mozzarella, though in this case, it's closer to "milk" gelato) is the classic flavor of gelato. It's also a great way to tell the quality of a gelateria's gelato because there are no extra flavors to hide behind—there's only milk, sugar, and cream. The quality of the ingredients must stand on their own.

I found their fiordilatte to be one of the better ones I had tried. Likewise, lavender is a tough flavor to pull off. Too floral and it can easily go soapy. Too woodsy and it can taste bitter. This lavender felt right down the middle— sense of floral overtones mixed with the more grounded stems offering a rounded flavor.

My conclusion:

If you're near the Duomo, or making your way to and from Galleria Accademia, it's worth a trip to La Strega Nocciola. It might not be the best in Florence, but I would be happy if Florence was the only city I was visiting in Italy and this were the only gelato I got to try.



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