Gelato with Caramel and Chocolate Shavings

A simple vanilla gelato recipe with rich caramel cream and chocolate shavings is Italian decadence at its finest! I’ve got some big news today. Can’t wait to share!

Vanilla Gelato Recipe with Caramel Swirls and Chocolate Shavings #gelato #icecream #italian

So at this very moment… I’m roaming around ITALY eating gelato!

That’s right, after years of dreaming about traveling to Italy, we have finally arrived. Eeeeeek!

Dreamy Vanilla Gelato Recipe with Caramel Swirls and Chocolate Shavings #gelato #icecream #italian

This summer our family is spending 3 whole weeks perusing Tuscany, Liguria, Verona, and Lake Como. I’m sure I will have wonderful tails to tell in our Una Prospettiva Piccante Su Italia (A Spicy Perspective on Italy) series when I get home.

But in the meantime, we are celebrating by sharing 3 weeks worth of easy Italian-inspired recipes you can enjoy all summer.

Silky Vanilla Gelato Recipe with Caramel Swirls and Chocolate Shavings #gelato #icecream #italian

If you are interested in what we’re doing in Italy from day to day, keep an eye on our Instagram Feed over the next few weeks. I’ll make sure to capture plenty of decadent meals, age-old monuments, and Italians.

So today let’s start our Estate d’Italia (Summer of Italy) with the end-all of Italian summer treats, a gelato recipe.

Ok, okay. Alright, alright, alright, alriiiiiiight.

I have to be honest. This isn’t authentic gelato.

Italian Vanilla Gelato Recipe with Caramel Swirls and Chocolate Shavings #gelato #icecream #italian

The difference between gelato and ice cream is that ice cream generally has a higher fat content and is churned at a higher speed, making it lighter and fluffier than gelato. Whereas, gelato is made with milk and is churned very slowly, so it’s more dense than ice cream. Gelato is also usually served at a slightly higher temperature, so the flavors seem more intense.

So the reason this is technically ice cream, not gelato, is that I have an American ice cream maker, not a slow churning gelato maker… I had to use cream and egg yolks, not milk, in order to reach that silky texture we love so much about gelato (ice cream.)

And P.S. gelato literally means ice cream in Italian, so let’s not be too particular about the details.

Love this Vanilla Gelato Recipe with Caramel Swirls and Chocolate Shavings #gelato #icecream #italian

Just know this gelato recipe is dense, rich, and creamy with an intense vanilla flavor and a luxurious swirl of caramel and chocolate flecks running throughout.

It’s pretty dreamy. Just the sort of gelato recipe I’m enjoying right now in Italy.

You can also follow our Una Prospettiva Piccante Su Italia on Facebook!


Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active time)

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Gelato Recipe


  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups half & half
  • 2 Tb. vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 5 oz. dulce de leche (or thick caramel cream)
  • 3 oz. semi sweet chocolate bar


  1. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, half & half, vanilla, and two pinches of salt together in a medium sauce pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking continuously, then remove from the heat.
  2. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl to remove any particles. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.
  3. Once the mixture has chilled, pour it into an ice cream maker and churn for 20+ minutes to the desired consistency. Meanwhile, shave the chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler, so the pieces are very thin.
  4. Scoop a quarter of the gelato into a plastic container. Drizzle some of the caramel and chocolate shavings over the gelato, then repeat with the remaining gelato, caramel, and chocolate shavings, filling the container in layers. Cover and place in the freezer until firm. Scoop into small cups and serve!

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16 Responses to “Gelato with Caramel and Chocolate Shavings”

  1. #
    Bri | Bites of Bri — June 23, 2014 @ 5:28 am

    This looks so refreshing. I’ve been following your trip and it looks like so much fun so far! I always forget how beautiful Italy is. Have fun!


  2. #
    Margherita — June 23, 2014 @ 6:36 am

    Nice recipe!! I’m Italian I’m sure you will have. A wonderful holiday. If I may correct you …a better translation of ” a spicy perspective on Italy ” would be “una prospettiva piccante SULL’ Italia”. Have a good holiday!


  3. #
    marla — June 23, 2014 @ 6:52 am

    Great gelato recipe!


  4. #
    Jenny Flake — June 23, 2014 @ 6:53 am

    Yay for gelato! Looks great, have so much fun on your family vacation!


  5. #
    Melanie @ Carmel Moments — June 23, 2014 @ 7:32 am

    So lucious! I’ve gotta make me some Gelato this summer! And personally I don’t know if I can stand to look at all your Italy pictures. I don’t love to go there some day and I may just get a little too jealous. ;)

    Have a great week!



  6. #
    Liz @ Floating Kitchen — June 23, 2014 @ 7:38 am

    Looks delish! So happy to hear that you are on and AMAZING vacation!


  7. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — June 23, 2014 @ 8:31 am

    Looks awesome!! Bet you’re having amazing gelato in Italy right now!! xx


  8. #
    Gaby — June 23, 2014 @ 10:50 am

    Amazing! Can’t wait to see all of your photos from Italy!


  9. #
    Carol at Wild Goose Tea — June 23, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

    There is nothing simple about the flavor of vanilla gelato. On Mom’s day I had some freshly churned gelato and it was superb! The shavings are a wonderful addition for flavor enhancement of all 3.


  10. #
    zerrin — June 23, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

    Never had gelato before, I didn’t know even the name of it. Thanks for infoming! This looks definitely amazing!


  11. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — June 23, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

    Regardless of what you call it this looks fantastic. I couldn’t think of a better dessert for the hot weather. I hope you are eating extra gelato for all of us!


  12. #
    Kevin @ Closet Cooking — June 24, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

    So cool, decadent and good!


  13. #
    Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch — June 24, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

    I love gelato! Mmm.. Plus the Dulce De Leche and chocolate make this over the top! Love it!


  14. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — June 24, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

    Three weeks in Italy sounds dreamy. Have a wonderful and relaxing vacation. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this delicious gelato while I dream about roaming the streets of Rome. Pinned.


  15. #
    NanaScriv — June 28, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

    ” a spicy perspective on Italy ” would be “una prospettiva piccante SULL’ Italia”.
    I really like this that Ms Spicy is getting help with her language translations. What fun. And love this recipe


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