Taste Test: The Best Gelato

After trying 51 kinds of store-bought gelato, we ended up with, well, sticky fingers -- and the tastiest flavors on the market.
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After trying 51 kinds of store-bought gelato, we ended up with, well, sticky fingers -- and the tastiest flavors on the market.

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What exactly is gelato? This Italian specialty contains less butterfat and isn't churned as much as its American cousin, ice cream. So it's denser, creamier and -- bonus! -- packs fewer grams of fat per bite. Check out our favorites!

Taste Test: Gelatos

Most Authentic

Talenti Sicilian Pistachio: The secret behind this intensely nutty rendition of the Italian classic: roasted pistachios pureed into the base. "The pistachio flavor goes on and on," one tester noted. This gelato feels dense on your spoon, but soft and creamy on your tongue, and the mixed-in chopped nuts add crunch to every bite. ($4.99 per pint)

Most Authentic

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No Spoon Required

Ciao Bella Key Lime Gelato Squares: Handheld gelato? Yes, please! In this on-the-go version, soft graham cracker cookies sandwich key lime gelato. "The tart lime flavor keeps them from being over-the-top sweet," said a panelist. ($4.99 for a box of 4)

No Spoon Required

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Flavor of the Moment

G.S. Gelato Caramel Sea Salt: The sweet-meets-salty trend is everywhere right now, and this is one of the most decadent examples we've tasted. Sugary, buttery caramel is offset by bright sea salt: "It's like butterscotch candy taken up a salty notch," said one tester. ($4.29 per pint)

Flavor of the Moment

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Party Pleaser

Archer Farms Tiramisu: Taking a cue from its namesake dessert, this oversize tub contains gelato swirled with mascarpone, coffee and marsala wine and dusted on top with cocoa powder. "I love how the silky gelato contrasts with earthy cocoa," said one panelist. Elegant, and a bargain for its size, it would be the ideal cap to an Italian-themed dinner party. ($4.99 for 30 oz., at Target)

Party Pleaser

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Best Chocolate Fix

Talenti Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: Talenti wowed us across the board with concentrated flavors and voluptuous textures. Here, a milk-chocolate base is laced with gooey peanut butter and teeny peanut butter cups. It carried our tasting by a landslide! ($4.99 per pint)

Best Chocolate Fix

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Dairy-Free and Delicious

Organic Nectars Cashewtopia: File this under "gelato genius": a new line of six great-tasting, agave-sweetened vegan gelato flavors made with mild-tasting frozen cashew cream! The chocolate varieties of this low-cal line (just 150 calories or less per serving!) were our faves: Cherry Chocolate Swirl, Chocolate Hazelnut and Mint Chocolate Swirl. ($7.99 for a pint)

Dairy-Free and Delicious

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gelato and scoop