On Saturday we returned to Leamington Spa from one of the most beautiful places in the world – Northern Italy, where we had the fortune to do a little travelling. Somehow we squeezed in 7 hotels, 8 lakes, around 1,000km (mainly along some very dodgy mountain roads!) and lots of absolutely amazing Italian food to sustain us – all in just 7 days! See map –>
In July – Italy’s peak season the weather was fairly hot so we had the chance to taste numerous samples of genuine Italian gelato – it’s a tough life but someone had to. With this wealth of experience we self-appointed ourselves gelato aficionados!
On Sunday as we still had the Italian spirit flowing through our veins we got our beautiful Vespa scooter out of the garage. Then we thought it would be fun to zoom around local parlours in Warwickshire to sample their goods and suss out how they compared in a bid to find the best gelato and ice cream shops in Leamington Spa and Warwick.
Before we started it was important to decide a single flavour to review and what criteria we would judge on. After much deliberation we decided that we would sample strawberry – it’s a classic, often under-rated and commonly sold. For the criteria we picked 7 categories:
- Look/feel of the parlour
- Customer service
- Selection quantity
- Other offerings
Although new to Leamington Spa this is a family business who have been making ice cream for over 100 years, now with 3 parlours in the Midlands area. They sell ice cream rather than gelato (yes there is a difference!), which is made and sold by Gallone’s in a very professional looking ice cream bar with plenty of indoor seating.
Served straightaway, we had a pleasant experience which was topped off by the lovely ice cream which was a real treat to eat with little strawberry pieces surprising us inside! It’s quite far down the parade a shopping stop-off but perfect location if en-route to the park!
There are currently 6 parlours across the Midlands area selling ice cream (not gelato) in a funky American-Vintage theme with plenty of indoor seating. It is unclear whether they make or buy their ice cream, but we’re happy as long as it tastes good!
When we went in we saw lots of people happily munching away which can only be a good sign! We ordered our one scoop of strawberry and decided to eat outside (it was a lovely day!), for us the strawberry flavour was quite subtle and that’s the only fault we could find – but it’s all subjective!
A local parlour opened a couple of years ago, they are the only ones in our selection who sell Cornish ice cream made by Kelly’s.
We’ve been in before, so obviously worth a return visit in our eyes! The cafe is signposted off the main street in Warwick otherwise you might miss it tucked away in a back street. Main thing here was it was Cornish ice cream and it didn’t disappoint, the great thing here is you can come in for a savoury bite before gorging on ice cream!
Another parlour who have very recently come to Leamington, they handcraft their gelato using authentic Italian techniques. What we really loved about this place was their outdoor seating!
Their gelato is so creamy smooth, they must be magicians! Although the price is a touch more expensive here, they are actually very generous with their ‘one scoop’ serving so don’t be put off – and the Swirls branded waffle disc is a lovely touch!
Located on the top floor of the shopping centre you’ll find this little gelato kiosk. This is the biggest of the parlours we are reviewing as they have 17 parlours, stocked in Tesco, supply to the likes of Nando’s and many more. I have to include in here that they didn’t stock a standard strawberry gelato, therefore we had to taste the strawberries & cream flavour instead.
We initially missed this one out as we forgot about it tucked in the Royal Priors. We were served immediately and settled down to munching our scoop. The texture was very different to any of the others – more aerated and fluffy rather than silky smooth gelato. We’d love to come back and try their strawberry!
So once we had tasted it was time for a verdict but actually they are all brilliant and the margins between them were so small. Our personal favourite was Swirls but we’ve included our scores below and ice cream/gelato is so subjective, so we think you should make your own mind up
Obviously we have only picked a selection here so if there is any gelato or ice cream you want sampled please get in contact via my blog, Twitter or Instagram!