In a city where the mercury can hit 45C (113F) in summer and stays warm most of the year, cooling off with a creamy gelato is pure common sense. Seville offers the full gamut of heladerias (ice-cream parlours), from old-school to delightfully quirky.
Here are the top 10 places to sample ice-cream and sorbet in Seville, while avoiding those radioactively luminous turquoise and pink bubble-gum flavours.
The original – Helados Rayas
A long-standing heladeria institution in Seville, founded in 1980, Helados Rayas (facebook.com/heladería-rayas) closes down for the colder months – brave the queue from spring to early autumn, and you’ll be rewarded with cream and pine-nuts, dulche de leche and tocino del cielo (crème caramel). Two locations – in Reyes Catolicos near the main shopping area, and close to the contemporary architecture attraction Metropol Parasol and its mushroom-like shades known as the Setas.
Freskura for the boho scene
Catering to the hip Alameda crowd, Freskura (freskura.com) offers favourites including pistachio, chocolate (also available lactose-free) and cremino (mascarpone, hazelnut and cacao); in summer fruit concoctions stretch to passion fruit and pear, while home-made ice lollies in lemon, strawberry and orange will quench your thirst. Take a seat on a bench outside to absorb the vibrant atmosphere.
Coming up (ice-cream) roses at Amorino
With the highest prices of the city’s heladerias, Amorino (amorino.com/seville), the renowned Italian-owned chain (three branches, one built into the old city wall), needs to prove its quality – no problem there. Feast on delicate lime and basil, nocciola (hazelnut), or tangy Sicilian citrus. The pretty gelato rose, with ‘petals’ in different flavours, is a visual and gustatory delight. Opposite the cathedral, you can rest weary feet thanks to ample seating.
Porto Bello on the boulevard
A newcomer on the scene, Porto Bello (portobelloheladeria.com) has around 30 flavours, as well as smoothies and sundaes. Tastes worth sampling include the delectable house combination of mascarpone, caramel and fig, as well as boozy Malaga – cream, vino dulce (sweet Malaga wine) and raisins. Mojito and Sicilian lemon are among the lactose-free options. A big advantage here is the outside terrace with tables on the lively Alameda avenue – perfect for people-watching.
Elhada – market buzz in the Macarena
In a stall on the outside edge of lively Mercado de la Feria, the city’s oldest market, Elhada (facebook.com/elhada-heladería) is probably the city’s smallest heladeria. Speak with Marieta behind the counter to try tastebud-challenging flavours such as black beer, Chinese five-spice, and curry; take her advice and try the latter (coconut-y and mild) together with chocolate and mango – a surprisingly successful combo. She has dairy-free passion fruit, lemon, mango sorbets, plus bitter (Seville) orange in spring. Four outside tables look onto the magnificent 15th-century mudejar Palacio de los Duqueses de Algaba.
Go organic with Puro e Bio
The trendy interior of Puro e Bio (puroebio.es), with its mismatched coloured wooden stools and packing-case shelves on the riverfront Paseo de Colon, is complemented by organic ice-creams with unconventional flavours like spicy ginger and cinnamon – one of the vegan options, along with coconut, pistachio and chocolate – as well as classic sweet-tooth favourite dulce de leche (caramel) and almond crunch. Indulge in an ice-cream sandwich using homemade cookies.
Taste the city’s Moorish past at Bolas
Bolas (bolasheladosartesanos.com) boasts three plum locations in Seville – Calle Castilla by Triana market, next to central Plaza Salvador, and Puerta de la Carne in Santa Cruz. Flavours here range from the quintessentially Spanish (goat’s cheese and quince jam, cream cheese with figs in PX sherry) to international favourites like salted caramel (surprisingly few places offer this), along with no less than six chocolate varieties, including lactose-free and cherries in brandy. You can also taste a nod to history with Sevilla Mora (Moorish Seville – walnut, raisin, orange and cinnamon) and Medina (orange, ginger and cinnamon).
The gourmet master – La Fiorentina
Halfway down Calle Zaragoza, Joaquin Liria’s emporium (facebook.com/heladerialafiorentina) is the first choice of many Sevillanos (note, he opens from February to November). Try the torta de aceite flavour (olive oil biscuit, a local speciality), chocolate with chilli and blueberries, or Sefard-Ice (olive oil, sesame seed, aniseed, honey, date, apple, apricot and walnut), celebrating Seville’s Jewish heritage. Joaquin’s signature flavour flor de azahar (orange blossom), aromatic with orange bits, is much admired by Rick Stein. He also makes ice-cream for the Alfonso XIII, Seville’s most celebrated hotel.
Handy for shoppers at Giolatto
At Giolatto's (giolatto.com) sparkling-white location near the river, sample Spanish ingredients such as pinenuts from Valladolid, Valencian lemons, and strawberries from Huelva. The latter comes in a sorbet that is gluten-, sugar- and lactose-free, a healthy option also available in chocolate and rice with cherry flavours. Cones are warmed for optimum crispiness and chocaholics can ask for chocolate sauce inside the cone.
Hang with the locals at Heladeria Alfalfa
At Victor’s bijou neighbourhood joint (facebook.com/heladeria.alfalfa) in the buzzy Alfalfa district, you eat on the street as seating is minimal. Try traditional Sevillano flavours – pestiño (fried honey-glazed dough) or torrija (French toast), or melon in summer – as well as ginger and lemon and prize-winning gin & tonic. Vegans can choose from chocolate, mango, forest fruits, and lemon.