With August well underway, it’s time to prep for summer’s unofficial swan song. That means cramming the remainder of the season with all the pool days, lake adventures, and grill-outs the calendar can possibly handle. The perfect accompaniment for those sweltering outdoor days? Gelato — ice cream’s smoother and creamier Italian cousin. Traditionally, gelato is made using more milk and less cream and eggs than its American counterpart, making it silkier and softer than ice cream. It also offers a punchier, more intense burst of flavor that satisfies in smaller amounts.
Nashville’s happily jumped aboard the gelato train with several spots around town. This means it’s the perfect time to dive into a few sweet frozen treats before (even more) boots and PSLs take over the city.
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Two words: gelato carousel. That’s one of the standout features at Stompin Grounds Market, a casual grab-and-go cafe tucked inside the JW Marriott. The gelatos here are all made from scratch by executive pastry chef Daniel Mangione and include locally sourced ingredients — such as Belle Meade Bourbon and mint from the hotel’s garden — in their recipes. Traditional flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel are balanced by more creative takes on the dessert such as bourbon, strawberry cheesecake, Snickers, and margarita. Pastries, baked goods, and sandwiches are also available to go.
Coco’s Italian Market and Café
For over 50 years, this family-owned market and cafe has been providing locals with Italian eats made from recipes handed down through several generations. The gelato here is no exception — made in-house, this cool confection consistently hits the spot on a sweltering summer day. Their gelato bar is packed with flavors ranging from chocolate and pistachio to peach and Nutella. For a caffeinated boost, order up one of their lattes and add a scoop of their gelato for an affogato-style treat.
With a name like Pastaria, it’s no surprise that chef Gerard Craft’s pasta and wood-fired pizza are the stars of the show. But don’t sleep on the gelato here, which features scoops of seasonally rotating flavors. Grab a seat at the counter, watch the crew work their magic behind the open kitchen, and cool your heels with a few scoops (or pint) of their smooth and creamy flavors like dulce de leche, avocado, and cotton candy. Or take it outside and soak up the sun with a few bites of gelato in between rounds of bocce.
After a trip to Italy, Bravo Gelato owner Christie Auckland fell in love with gelato and brought the delectable Italian dessert to Nashville in 2003. Using locally sourced ingredients like Hatcher buttermilk, Olive & Sinclair chocolates, Ed Johnson honey, Jack Daniel’s whiskey, and Yazoo beers, Bravo churns out a roster of both classic and modern flavors that can be enjoyed via cone or cup. It’s the perfect way to wind down a day spent exploring the Gaylord Opryland Resort.
An amalgam of “gooey” and “oozy,” Goozy’s been fueling up shoppers with warm, melty sandwiches, warm chocolate chip cookies, and perfectly scooped cones of creamy gelato for several years from its outpost inside the Mall at Green Hills. Their offerings range from the standards (think: chocolate and strawberry) to more inventive spins on the dessert like a popcorn gelato scoop drizzled with warm caramel sauce, and gelato-based milkshakes.
Nestled in between all of Broadway’s honky-tonk and pedal tavern madness is a haven for sugar aficionados looking for an escape from the summer heat. The Georgia-based Savannah’s Candy Kitchen also calls Nashville home and packs a powerful sugar wallop in the form of candy, caramel-covered apples, fudge, and, yes, gelato. This bustling little shop serves up cones and cups to tourists and locals alike with more than 40 flavors of both gelato and ice cream from which to choose, including banana pudding, peach, and toasted marshmallow.