Philadelphia: Gelato Done Right at Capogiro
Thursday, February 7, 2013

Capogiro regularly wins awards for "best gelato" in the US, with National Geographic even declaring the shop "the best ice cream in the world." But does this blog believe the legend lives up to the scoop? Read on!

Capogiro was founded by Stephanie Reitano in 2002 after she was inspired by the wonderful gelato she discovered on a trip to Italy. Committed to recreating the very gelato she had experienced nowhere in America, Stephanie soon returned to Italy a second time to learn the secrets of gelato making from the masters, but left disappointed. She was unable to learn how the best shops made their gelato so delicious (although one old master did offer to share his secrets for $50,000). Returning to America without any secrets to speak of, Stephanie worked day and night perfecting her recipes, until she hit on her winning formula.

Sleek shop design, but it can sometimes feel too much like a cafe, with sandwiches and granola for sale

When the SCOOP Blog crew walked into Capogiro, we could see why it has won so many awards. The shop is impressive, showcasing dozens of flavors a day, including numerous exceptional sorbettos. However, this selection is also Capogiro's Achilles Heel. Although every flavor we tasted at Capogiro faithfully represented the ingredients, with dense gelato texture that exhibits a slight gumminess, we found the flavors to be lacking a certain oomph. Yes, the chocolate they use is top quality, as is their organic milk. After all, this shop showcases the Northern Italian "Veneto" style of gelato, with a focus on fresh, organic, quality ingredients. But a good ice cream requires more than just good ingredients - it requires the maker to interpret the flavor and bring out its true, layered essence.

With over 350 flavors on rotation, it is not surprising that Capogiro is unable to pay attention to the details of each gelato produced. With that being said, the gelato here is of the highest quality and deserves praise. Is Capogiro the best gelato in the US? SCOOP Blog believes that at least one shop, Grom, originally from Italy but now in several US cities, makes a significantly better product by focusing on a much smaller number of flavors. But one thing is for certain: given Capogiro's overwhelmingly positive mentions in publications throughout the world, the shop probably has the best publicist of any ice cream shop in the US!

Flavor Tasting Notes

Lots and lots and lots of flavors

Dark Chocolate

Deep, complex flavor with hints of nuttiness. Slight graininess.

Philly Cheesecake

Real preserved cherries, done right. Has smooth texture, with mild but tasty cream cheese flavor.

Bourbon Butterscotch

Fantastically smooth texture. Great, substantial milkiness without heaviness. Hint of cinnamon. Hard to detect the bourbon.

Lychee Sorbetto

SCOOP! doesn't typically review sorbet, but we included a few in this review, because sorbetto is such an important part of the selection at Capogiro. The Lychee Sorbetto had small bits of Lychee, with a very earthy, natural Lyhee flavor. Texture was ok, but slightly watery.

Pear Wild Turkey Sorbetto

Tastes like fresh pear purée. Hard to detect wild turkey.

Final Score: 8/10

Capogiro Gelato

119 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA