School started again a few days ago and the hot temperatures are gone, but the gelato season isn’t over yet! I think we have at least one more month, if not two, for licking ice cream cones on the street, before turning to sipping hot chocolates. But what’s the best place in Locarno and surroundings to indulge a huge ice cream coupe? The answer is not easy, not at all! I’ve been tasting ice creams for the last few weeks just to answer this question and now I’ll have to hit the gym again! But, at least, I might have discovered my favourite ice cream parlour in town. Here are a few considerations on the local gelaterias.
First of all you have to know that there are two big groups competing in town, the Fior di Panna group and the Margherita. They both have different vending points. Of the two I prefer Fior di Panna. And then there are the smaller gelaterias, that mostly just sell their ice cream in one place. But let’s start… strictly in alphabetical order, because that’s how it’s supposed to be, isn’t it?
Address: Viale Verbano 9, 6600 Locarno
The location is nice, next to the lake promenade and you can sit outside on one of the tables and have a glass of water or a coffee together with your ice cream. Their ice cream cart looks nice, right?
Address: Via d’Alberti 4, 6600 Locarno
You will see a lot of locals in this ice cream parlour as the location is not very touristy. However, they have a nice selection of flavours. I went there today and I tried Obama (cream, chocolate pieces, toasted almonds and almond paste) and Don Vito (vanilla with raspberries and chocolate). There are two or three benches in front of the shop to sit, but that’s it. Also, you are basically sitting on a street.
- Fior di Panna Group
Address 1: Fior di Panna, Piazzetta Franzoni 1, 6600 Locarno
Another pretty great location, excellent for people watching as you can sit under one of the nice pink umbrellas and eat your coupe Denmark or iced coffee while studying the locals and the tourists shopping in Via Ramogna. Whenever I’m with girlfriends and want to have an ice cream accompanied by some gossiping, that’s where we go. They have a wide selection of flavours, one of my favourites is cream with Nutella. Yummy! Unfortunately it’s closed in the winter.
Address 2: Debarcadero, Lungolago G.Motta, 6600 Locarno.
This is just a small vending point and there are no sitting places. It’s right at Locarno’s port and excellent for getting a cone before boarding a boat or when strolling along the lake promenade. It’s closed in winter too.
Address 3: L’angolo dei Golosi, Via Borgo 55, 6612 Ascona
The ice cream parlour with the best view in this area. Sitting at one of the tables outside you can see the lake and part of Ascona’s lake promenade, just wonderful. They have a few tables inside too which means that you can eat ice cream all year long, even when it’s freezing outside.
Address 4: La Nostrana, Piazza Grande, 6600 Locarno.
This vending point is situated at the entry of Piazza Grande, just opposite the post office. Despite not having indoor tables, you can taste their gelato all year long, even though the winter selection is smaller. They have a few tables outside and I’m pretty sure you can sit in the Bar Böcc nearby and have your ice cream in there if it’s raining or snowing.
Address: Vicolo Sacchetti, 6612 Ascona
A small ice cream vending point in the centre of Ascona, open in summer only and with just a small bench to sit outside. They have quite a good selection, for some real Swiss ice cream try the ovomaltine flavour.
Margherita has 20 vending points all over Switzerland, and in many swimming resorts in Ticino. I will briefly present their two main vending points here in Locarno.
Address 1: Caffé Paolino, Largo Zorzi 4, 6600 Locarno
During the summer Margherita sells ice cream in front of the Caffé Paolino under the Arcades. You can have your banana split sitting on the tables of the café if that’s what you want. This is another excellent spot for people watching, no wonder the café is always very busy.
Address 2: Al Bottegone, Piazza Grande, 6600 Locarno
It’s all about the location, and this one is simply the top. Right in the middle of Piazza Grande, with a lot of tables outside… this is eating gelato with a view. The selection of flavours is bigger than at Caffé Paolino and this location is open all year long as it is a proper restaurant.
- Mini Gelateria
Address: Via Rusca 8, 6600 Locarno
This is the new player in town, so new that I’ve only been there once. Unfortunately my first experience wasn’t too good but I see a lot of potential. The place is very small and there isn’t a single chair to sit down, but in case you can always sit on the nearby ruins of the castle. They only have a small selection of flavours, but those are very interesting. Last time I was there they had Mozart (chocolate, pistachio and almond), ABA (orange, pineapple and banana), Raffaello (coconut, white chocolate, almond) or even Pineapple-Basil, just to name a few. They use organic ingredients and they have a good selection of vegan ice cream. I’ll definitely have to try more flavours, I’m thinking about tasting the salted caramel next…
Address: Vicolo delle Olive, 6612 Ascona
I went to this ice cream parlour only twice, while the gelato was good the service wasn’t great. I wanted to give it a third chance, but it was closed, despite being August and really hot. Also, there are just two small benches outside the shop.
Address: Via all’Ospedale 4, 6600 Locarno
Strictly speaking this place is a Pizzeria, and I guess most people come here to have lunch or dinner, but they have amazing homemade ice cream too. I’m still convinced their gelato stracciatella is the best one… ever! They only have a small selection of flavours, but as long as they have the stracciatella they don’t need anything else (except maybe hazelnut, as that one is pretty amazing too). Oh, and they are open in winter too!
Address: Viale Verbano 42, 6600 Muralto
I remember this place being the first one here in the area to put pieces of cookies in their gelato, I love it! The good thing about this gelateria is that it is just next to the big playground at Burbaglio, so while your kids are playing, you can enjoy your biscotto ice cream. They have a few tables outside if you want to sit down, or just have a cone to go, after all you are right on the lake promenade.
- Seven Easy
Address: Piazza G.Motta 61, 6612 Ascona
This one is a restaurant, and a pretty good one if I might add. So it’s not wonder that their ice cream is pretty good too! In summer, they have a good gelato selection that you can either eat in their restaurant (on the terrace on the boardwalk, or inside) or order to go.
Address: Via della Stazione 2, 6600 Muralto
As they say, the last will be the first… so there it is, my number one ice cream shop in the area. And no, I didn’t want to make you wait for the best one, it’s just that V is one of the last letters of the alphabet. This parlour is located near the railways station of Locarno, just opposite the funicular that takes you to the Madonna del Sasso. There are a few tables outside where you can enjoy their amazing ice cream, and, for the winter, a few ones inside too. This month’s ice cream flavour is feta with caramelized figs. I bet it’s wonderful but well, a bit too exotic for me… I didn’t even dare trying it (shame on me). I’d rather have the chocolate with himalayan salt, the chestnut purée ice cream or the farina bona flavoured one. By the way, this last one is truly special as it is made with a local dry flour and it’s simply delicious.
Well, there you go. Writing about all this ice cream made me hungry… what about you? ;o)