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You’ve seen the queues outside every gelato shop the moment the sun comes out in London, but there’s a reason people come back to Badiani, come rain or shine. From the colourful shop fronts that entice you in, to the friendly staff who know their flavour combinations, you’d find it hard not to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters with a gelato from Badiani. While they’ve only been with us in Covent Garden since 2021, their 7th store in London, this iconic gelato brand has been giving customers an experience through colour and flavour since the summer of 1932 when Idilio Badiani opened his first shop in Florence. We sat down with Leonardo, to learn about the culture and magic that goes into each and every scoop. 

Can you tell us a bit about Badiani’s beginnings? 

Badiani opened his first shop in Florence in the summer of 1932 and has maintained the high standards of Florentine tradition and history in gelato ever since. 

 Our signature flavour was created in the 1960s and takes its inspiration from our hometown. “Everybody knows the Buontalenti flavour in Florence and we’ve been eating it since childhood.”  

Tell us more about Buontalenti and how it was created… 

In the 1960s Florence held a competition to honour the Renaissance architect and gelato connoisseur, Bernardo Buontalenti. Badiani took part in the competition and created the Buontalenti flavour as a nod to the first gelato created by Bernardo Buontalenti in the 1500s and won the competition! A little about Buontalenti; he was the creative genius who created the very first gelato in Florence and served it to the Queen of France in the 1500s. She fell in love with the dessert, and helped it reach the popularity that it has today. Since the 1960s, it has become one of the most popular flavours in Italy because it almost “ transports you back in time to when the first gelato was created.” 

Badiani ice cream pots
Badiani ice cream pots

Do you have any modern twists to try Buontalenti? 

“Today, Buontalenti is also available in a variety of ways. You can try Buontalenti Pistachio which is layered with the creamy flavour of Buontalenti and Pistachio sauce.  

There is also La Dolce Vita that won best gelato flavour in the Gelato Festival Europe, 2015. This has layers of Buontalenti with layers of hazelnut chocolate spread. It’s my personal favourite.”  

What are the most popular flavours in London? 

“Londoners are crazy about our Pistachio flavour and it’s our best seller which is also becoming a favourite in Italy.   

We also have a number of vegan options. The vegan dark chocolate sorbet it’s delicious and a must try. Surprisingly very creamy.”  

We wanted to say a huge happy birthday to Badiani for turning 90 this year. What are your plans to celebrate, both in Florence and London? 

“There will be a big party in Florence in September but for London we will be celebrating our birthday throughout the summer.  

For now, you can purchase our limited edition tote bags and limited edition t-shirts, which are available at all our stores, including our Covent Garden. You will also get a free tote bag when you spend over £40.    

On top of our limited edition merchandise that we will be launching over the next couple of months, we are planning to have some 90th anniversary events at some of our shops, including our Covent Garden store.” 

Keep an eye out for more details to come and we can’t wait to raise a gelato cone to Badiani this summer! 

Stop by Badiani soon for a sweet treat in the sunshine! 

Make sure to follow The Yards Covent Garden on Instagram to be inspired by the vibrant culture and join us in spreading Joy by using the hashtag #FindJoyAtTheYards.

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