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Meet the Italian Ice Cream Sandwich

Contrary to the all-American breakfast that is complete with pancakes, bacon, and eggs, Italians do not place a great magnitude of importance on the first meal of the day. Instead, a typical Italian breakfast consists of a light, sweet pastry paired with some type of coffee - usually an espresso or cappuccino. 

However, there is one Italian breakfast dish that deviates from the traditional formula of pastry plus coffee. This unique morning treat is brioche con gelato, which is exactly what it sounds like: a halved, warm brioche bun stuffed with one or more flavors of gelato. 

It’s possible to find brioche con gelato throughout Italy however, this sweet sandwich originates in Sicily. If this treat seems foreign and intimidating, no need to worry. America Domani has broken down some of the questions you might have about this unique Sicilian breakfast.

How to Eat Brioche con Gelato

(Photo Credit: Eric Gotsch)

There is not one right way. You will always be served this Italian ice cream sandwich with a spoon that is optional to use. Some like to eat the gelato before consuming the brioche, while others will tear bits off of the sweet puffy bread as they go. You can also dive right in and eat the brioche and gelato together like a true ice cream sandwich - don’t forget extra napkins.

Managing Gelato in a Warm Bun

Your first thought might be that the warm brioche will melt the gelato quickly. However, the bun absorbs most of the melted gelato. 

Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth

While this is considered a sweet breakfast, some may want to turn the sweetness up a notch. In this case, we recommend brioche con gelato’s sweeter cousin, cornetto con gelato. A cornetto is the Italian version of the French croissant. Cornetto con gelato is stuffed with decadent gelato topped with powdered sugar.

Not Just a Breakfast Item 

(Photo Credit: Eric Gotsch)

Although brioche con gelato is typically served as breakfast in Sicily, many gelaterie (gelato stores) that offer this sweet treat will serve it throughout the day and evening. 

Choosing the Right Gelato Flavor

Traditionally, classic flavors like mandorla (almond), nocciola (hazelnut), pistacchio (pistachio), strattaciella (vanilla with chocolate swirl) and Nutella are the most fitting inside your brioche. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the plentiful options, don’t be shy to ask the employees of the gelato shop for their recommendations.

If you're an adventurous eater looking for a unique way to start the day, we hope you consider giving brioche con gelato a try!