After a vacation to Italy, I was anxious to see if somewhere in Shanghai there might
be gelato approaching the incredible quality that abounds in Italy. Gelato is
different from ice cream. It has less fat and more flavor, generally prepared with
simple, natural ingredients, and is served at a warmer temperature (around -14 C vs.
-18 C for ice cream) so it is less icy and melts in your mouth easier. It has a
smoother, silkier texture. Some of the “gelato” sold in Shanghai is pretty much just
ice cream or sherbet, but real gelato does exist with surprisingly good quality.
Of the places I’ve sampled so far, Le Creme Milano may be the best. I tried several flavors and
found none to be bad and several to be really excellent. I thought their chocolate
was too rich, but felt that the coconut, strawberry, pumpkin, and Creme de Milano (a
special house flavor similar to flan) were excellent. The person in charge when I
went spoke excellent English and was interested in chatting, which made our visit
extra fun. The shop were tried was at 262 Danshui Road near Xintiandi, just a few
yards north of Fuxing Road and a few hundred meters from the Xintiandi subway
station on Line 10.
Origin at Tianzefang was highly rated by some other foodies in town, but when we
were there they only had four or five flavors and of those, the coconut was
definitely impaired by the presence of added food starch that made the base gelato
grainy instead of smooth and creamy. The chocolate, though, was excellent, as was
Mr. Eggie’s at the large Dapuqiao food court (an underground area adjacent to the
Dapuqiao station on Line 9) has pretty good gelato also with some Asian flavors like
black sesame and green tea. The chocolate was smooth and flavorful, though its
texture seemed a little more like ice cream.
I will keep reporting as new finds come along. Any suggestions? I’ve heard the
Freshary at the IFC Mall in Lujiazui is excellent, so it’s on my list now.
- Check out Creme Milano’s page on ingredients.
- Also see Shanghai Girl Eats for a different perspective on Shanghai’s gelato.