Italian ice cream is undeniably the best in the world. However, the real question is - "who makes the best ice cream?". While spoilt for choice in Milan, one of our favourites is Riva Reno in Via Col di Lana. Riva Reno also has other shops in Via Mercato, 20 (Tel: 02 89096631) and Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 53 (Tel: 02 34537859).
Riva Reno prides itself on recreating "the recipes of the best Italian gelato tradition" and we have to say that they have indeed succeeded in producing delicious, creamy milk and fruit based ice cream using quality ingredients, while ensuring that the ice cream is not too sweet. Riva Reno's ice cream contains no hydrogenated fat, preservatives, anti-oxidants and artificial colourings and they only use alpine milk and cream from the Stura Valley in Piedmont.
One of Riva Reno’s most popular flavours is "Pistachio" and to ensure its quality RivaReno sources pistachios principally from Sicily and supplements them with pistachios from Syria and Iran. However, for those Brits out there, you will be thrilled to hear that Riva Reno actually makes real vanilla ice cream ranging from spicy Tahitian vanilla to the more delicate Madagascan Bourbon vanilla. For chocolate lovers Riva Reno makes several chocolate recipes, such as their Dark Chocolate recipe which uses bitter Manjari cocoa from Madagascar, releasing a pleasing hint of tobacco on the palate.
The real winners, however, are Riva Reno's exclusive gelato flavours which combine traditional and exotic ingredients together resulting in unexpected flavours. Why not try my favourite - Contessa - a blend of Sicilian almond, amaretti biscuits and a touch of hazelnut from Piedmont, enriched with caramelised almonds. Otherwise, try Gran Torino created by Riva Reno to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy ."A recipe that evokes the union between north and south, exalting the flavour of the gelato with melted gianduia (chocolate and hazelnut), made with the best “tonde gentili” hazelnuts with a tiny pinch of sea salt from Trapani" (Riva Reno). Equally delicious is Mango Heera -a combination of Indian mango (Kesar or Alfonso) and yoghurt, which is reminiscent of the exotic Indian national drink, “mango lassi”. While for the Americans, there is Sweet Alabama which combines creamy chocolate with peanut butter!
If you want something slightly more refreshing, Riva Reno also offers a wide selection of fruit sorbets, such as lemon, mandarin, apricot, persimmon, passion fruit, strawberry, wild blackberry, bergamot etc. All the sorbets are dairy-free and contain more than 55% fruit. Otherwise, during the summer months try one of Riva Reno's granitas made from just water, sugar and fresh fruit, without the addition of syrups, colourings or aromas.
RivaReno also offers gelato cakes to take away. Cakes of various sizes, shapes and combination of flavours can be made to order and decorated according to customer preference.
If you don't fancy an ice cream during the winter months, try Riva Reno's delicious, velvety hot chocolate drink made from various kinds of cacao of African origin – Manjari from Madagascar and red cacao from Ivory coast.
What are you waiting for?