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GROM Gelato in Florence, Venice and Rome

Does anyone know why Rick Steves stopped recommending GROM gelato in his guidebooks? We are finishing a 3 week trip to Italy, and we got started on GROM by Rick Steves from prior Rick Steves Guidebooks - where he had only good things to say about the company. But in the hardback Italy 2017 (which I bought last fall), and in the current Italy 2018 (Kindle), GROM has been removed as a recommended gelato place.

When we were in Florence, Venice and now Rome we tried several of the current Rick Steves recommended gelato places, and quite frankly most of them do not taste as good as GROM's gelato. Some do, but most don't. So we kept going back to GROM which has now grown to be all over Italy as well as in NY, LA, London, and Paris.

Does anyone know why GROM is no longer a recommended gelato place? Could it be because of its success?

For the record we still recommend GROM anywhere in Italy.

Posted by
7605 posts

I love GROM, but then I'm biased, as it originated in Turin, my husband's hometown!! And I'm so happy we have a few of them here in Paris. !!!!

yum yum yum

Posted by
2560 posts

Company was brought by Unilever in 2015. My sense is that RS does not favor big corporations.

Posted by
4470 posts

At the risk of starting a tangent on your responses, I love Grom because it's similar to Starbucks - the product is consistent from store-to-store which are all excellent. When I see a Grom, I'm heading that direction! Another chain that I really like is Amorino.

For anyone worried that I'm not supporting the family-run stores, also, you haven't seen our gelato spoon stash! My hubby & I treat ourselves to a gelato in Europe after each 10,000 steps - numerous small shops supported! I take a photo after each trip of the spoons we've acquired (the spoons from Spain last year were placed in the shape of a couple of Spanish fans.)

Posted by
5697 posts

Jean, what a great idea! My approach to gelato is like the "seafood diet" -- I see gelato, I eat it. Sometimes comparing the same flavor across stores, sometimes comparing flavors within a store. Good that there are LOTS of stairs to climb in Italy!!

Posted by
1154 posts

Another vote for Grom even over Amorino in Paris. The Grom on Rue de Seine is close to where we stay and we usually manage to reroute our travels to drop in frequently. Rick has opinions that aren't always in line with all travelers, especially veteran travelers. He is helpful for first timers going on their own.

Posted by
994 posts

Jean- I love your idea. I’m going to have to “borrow” erm, okay, “steal” that idea on my next trip to Italy.

I love both Grom and Amarino, in fact, they now have Amorino in Las Vegas. That was a pleasant surprise the last time I was there. The best gelato I ever had is Santa Trinita in Florence. I can still taste the black sesame gelato, yum!

Posted by
27 posts

Thanks for all the replies. Love your suggestion, Jean. I think the Starbucks analogy is spot on. Just as someone else stated, besides GROM being really good, the consistency from shop to shop is another reason we like it. No surprises. When I go to an independent shop, it's a 50-50 chance that I will like what they are selling as gelato. And if I don't like it, I've already spent my 5 Euro gelato allowance for the day (let alone the gelato calorie allowance), so I really don't want to correct my mistake by trying to find a GROM that will make me happy again after a not so good gelato experience.

So bottom line, GROM is very good, and it is consistent from shop to shop, city to city.

Finally, after mentioning Starbucks, we should note that there are NO STARBUCKS in Italy. I'm told that is a Starbucks decision. They don't want to enter a market and fail. It would harm their brand everywhere. So the Italians who threaten to boycott Starbucks if the come to Italy are winning at the moment.

Posted by
258 posts

Anthony, a Starbucks is opening in Milan next year, it's not going to be the typical corner Starbucks, but a fancier one, where the coffee is toasted and grinded. I think it will do fine with young people in Milan!

Posted by
13509 posts

...but they (Starbucks) plan to enter the Italian market this year.
(I'm sure there have been umpteen Forum discussions of this!)

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/starbucks-in-italy

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/starbucks-opening-in-italy

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/your-american-coffee-is-served

Given that they're doing just dandy in the other countries they market in, I expect they'll be just fine in Milan, especially with the younger folks.

Posted by
27 posts

Thanks for the info. I wasn't aware Starbucks decided to enter the Italian market. Sorry for the detour, I meant this post to be about Gelato and GROM.

Posted by
358 posts

GROM is now a multi-national brand, including several locations here in the US. For those who are unfamiliar with gelato or, simply looking for good ice cream, GROM works. Like Starbucks, they're consistent, they don't suck but, if you're a gelato aficionado or, seeker of craft makers, GROM is simply a corporate entity and you can find better at smaller operations.

Posted by
4470 posts

Wow, Kathy, thanks for posting that link! I’m going to be staying in Montepulciano three nights and had planned to take the bus over to Pienza one day to see some former Romeo & Juliet film sites. Now my top priority will be stopping at Buon Gusto.....and De’Coltelli in Lucca! I can easily walk 10,000 steps in Pienza and Lucca. ; )

Posted by
10056 posts

GROM is most assuredly institutional. The better shops make their own gelato on-premises and as mentioned, often it is in covered containers. Not good for marketing but one sign of excellent stuff. I would go out of my way for Come il Latte in Rome. I would not stop in a GROM if it was free. I do not go to Starbucks, either, though.

Posted by
2560 posts

I consider myself a foodie of sorts. But I limit my sweets for health reasons. I indulge in an occasional gelato while in Europe, but most often do what we call poison control-tasting my wife’s and daughters! We’ve gone out of our way to try highly touted places and it’s been hit and miss, but almost always long lines. GROM is consistently good. Yes, it’s no longer artisanal but they pay attention to quality and it shows. Big is not necessarily bad.

Posted by
1893 posts

I have the same ambivalence over the Granier bakery chain -- not usually a fan of chains, but this company's heart seems to be in the right place, and their products are tasty, sensitive to local conditions, and cheaper than most spots catering to tourists. There are bakeries that are cheaper still than Granier, but you're kind of taking your chances ...

Posted by
2329 posts

It’s been a few years now since i’ve been in Italy and enjoyed GROM gelato there, and I have not yet run into any of their outlets in other countries. I was surprised to learn here that the chain has been purchased by Unilever. Coincidentally, I have recently become a fan of Talenti Gelato, which has many quite exotic flavors available in local supermarkets. As a matter of fact, my local Safeway has a Friday special on Talenti Gelato today, $2.50 per pint, which is half the regularly posted price of $4.99. I plan to load up, and wish I had more freezer space. I realize that a mass-produced, mass-distributed and long-frozen product cannot be as fresh and pure as one made everyday in a good gelateria. Interestingly, just this week I wondered just what company put out Talenti products, so I read the smaller print on the back of a container, and saw — a product of Unilever! So, I guess it’s now “Unilever, the gelato guys.”

Posted by
3304 posts

Does anyone know why Rick Steves stopped recommending GROM gelato in
his guidebooks?

Perhaps because you can find Grom in the US. There are at least 3 locations in Manhattan let alone a few in southern CA. Why recommend gelato in Florence, Venice and Rome that one can find in the US?

Makes sense for RS to recommend foods/cafes/bars that are LOCAL and not those who have stores in LA, NY, Malibu, Hollywood, Osaka, Dubai....