Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The best ice-cream in the World?

A big reason (well, perhaps the reason) for booking to stay in Noto was this Guardian Travel article where Giorgio Locatelli makes the bold claim that Noto has the best ice-cream shop in the world. A quick internet search can find lots of similar claims and even the exciting prospect of Noto having the best and second-best ice cream shops in the world. We’d have been remiss if we didn’t try both of them.
Dolceria Costanzo
We first tried Dolceria Costanzo and to be honest I thought I’d walked into the wrong café. I was expecting a mecca to ice-cream, a dessert fantasy like Adriano Zumbo’s Patisserie or Gelato Messina (both in Sydney). Instead we were standing in a classic, even plain, looking bar. It took me a couple of moments to notice the small ice-cream counter that was tucked just inside the door on the left hand side. We each ordered a cup of ice-cream with two flavours and went outside to take up a seat on the terrace.

I ordered a bowl of pistachio and chocolate. The pistachio for a local flavour and chocolate because it is always a benchmark for me. There are a lot of bad chocolate ice creams out there and only the top people can make a good one. It was  strawberry and almond for Becks. All four ice creams and a lovely smooth texture. The pistachio and almond ice creams had delicate flavours. The chocolate flavour was bolder. At €3.50 per bowl, the price of a Magnum in London, you definitely couldn't knock the value.
Almond, strawberry & almond and blood orange granita in Cafe Sicilia in Noto 
On our final morning in Noto we visited Café Sicilia, the more famous of the two venues. Famous for their granite we ordered a tasting plate €5 of the almond, strawberry and blood orange & almond flavours, all made with local ingredients. They were subtle and beautiful flavours and the granite was very refreshing.

The granite was 'officially' for Becks so I ordered a cassatina €3.50, a ricotta cake covered in a pistachio paste and topped with icing and a glace cherry. It was like Sicily meets the Bakewell tart, and wins. I loved it.

Café Sicilia added a 22% service charge to the bill, which was the first (and only?) time I noticed service being added to our bills. When it was such a low value transaction it didn't hit the pocket too badly, but I did think it was a bit of a cheek.
So, do Dolceria Costanzo and Café Sicilia serve the best ice cream in the world? They were both very good ice creams, but all the ice cream we tasted in Sicily was very good and this unrefined pallet wouldn't place them higher than some of the others we tasted.

Dolceria Costanzo
Via Silvio Spaventa, 7
96017 Noto SR

Cafè Sicilia
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 125
96017 Noto SR


  1. Delicious! Yummy ice cream. My mouth is filled with water. I also ate best ice cream in Italy only. In fact, Italian pizza is my favorite one.
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