Olive Oil Gelato: An Easy and Elegant Dessert for the Holidays

In Italy, gelato is sometimes served with a drizzle of olive oil on top and then a sprinkling of sea salt.  It’s a surprising combination:  the creamy vanilla gelato accented by the best quality olive oil and the savory enhancement of good sea salt.  I first learned of this wonderful combination of ingredients from some friends who had just returned from vacationing in Italy.  Cindy and Keith Hummer are innkeepers at a delightful bed and breakfast in Roanoke, Virginia called The Inn on Campbell.  Their bed and breakfast is a Select Registry inn, and it’s the best place to stay in the area.  The Hummers are fantastic foodies and exceptional hosts; so, I new it would be good!  Olive oil gelato has become one of my favorite desserts, and whenever I serve it to friends, it’s always a hit.

Olive oil gelato is simple yet delicious.  It also goes nicely with fruit, particularly sliced strawberries or some roasted apricots.  It’s an easy, elegant dessert that doesn’t take long to prepare.  However, if you have extra time, a recipe for making gelato from scratch is provided.

**NOTE:  You may substitute best quality vanilla ice cream for vanilla gelato.


This recipe is from SAVEUR magazine.

Makes 1 1/2 Quarts


1 cup sugar

6 egg yolks

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cups milk

1 cup heavy

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. kosher salt

Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt, for serving


Using a hand mixer, beat sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl until pale yellow, about 5 minutes.  Add oil in a steady stream and continue beating until smooth and airy, about 3 minutes.  Add milk, cream, vanilla, and salt, and beat until combined.  Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Serve with a sprinkling of fleur de sel or flaky sea salt, if you like.


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