Agrumato Tangerine Gelato – Olive Oil Gelato

Agrumato Tangerine Gelato

Warm weather or cold weather, rain or shine, I make frozen desserts all year round, and my gelato machine occupies pride of place on my kitchen counter. I enjoy trying new things, and olive oil gelati are the subject of my latest experimentation. Here a simple egg custard based gelato is made with olive oil, and not just any olive oil. I used Agrumato (ah-gru-MAH-to) Tangerine, a premium extra virgin olive oil made by the Ricci Family of Abruzzo. The olives are Gentile di Chieti, Leccino, and Olivastra cultivars. In some citrus oils the flavoring agents are added to the finished oil, almost as an afterthought, but in the best of class the citrus is pressed together with the olives resulting in an extraordinary harmony and blending of flavors that lesser quality oils can not rival. The Ricci Family presses both olives and citrus together to produce a fine oil with no sense of “added flavor.”

Agrumato-Tangerine-Olive-Oil-210x400-1696Oils made with citrus are part of the tradition of oil manufacture in Abruzzo, and started as a way to clean the granite mills at the end of pressing. These heritage oils have evolved into a sub-industry that produces some truly wonderful products, brightly flavored and perfect for spring and summer cooking, grilling and dessert making. See my article on Agrumato with Lemon and Herbs for another taste of this variety of oil. Agrumi is citrus in Italian, and the Ricci Family produces a variety of these oils. Agrumato lemon, orange, tangerine, citron, and lemon with herbs are available from Olio2Go, both in their brick and mortar store and online. I hope you will explore these oils.

With this gelato, the taste of tangerine and a mixed citrus compote lend new focus to a classic. If you have never tried olive oil in gelato, don’t be timid. The oil adds a richness to gelato that no other ingredient can match. Some recipes are a great deal heavier than this one with higher percentages of cream, more egg yolks and more oil. I prefer this lighter version.

I have three rules for olive oil use, and everything flows from these rules. The first is pretty simple. Use an oil you love. If you don’t like the oil from the get-go, or if it is particularly spicy or quite robust, you probably will not like it in gelato, especially if this genre of dessert is new to you. The second is to be sure the oil is fresh, well within two years of harvest and pressing. The date of pressing or a “use by date” should be clearly visible on the label. Third, store the oil in a cool, dark place, well away from heat. Once opened, oil should be used within a few months. There is no hiding rancid oil in gelato or anywhere else. In the case of gelato, the dairy is mild in flavor, and the taste of the olive oil will come through, front and center. Per favore, use the good stuff.


The tangerine oil produces a particularly refreshing gelato. Light, and not at all oily, with a fruity, bright and slightly sweet flavor profile, it captures the essence of tangerine. Plus, it is good for you. With this one you get the beneficial anti-oxidant effects of olive oil’s polyphenols plus the upside of citrus – flavonoids and more anti-oxidants.

This gelato is wonderful served with a piece of pound cake, or a mix of basil and other herbs or, as here, with a mixed citrus compote.


Tangerine Agrumato Gelato

makes 1 scant quart

1 ¼ cup whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Tangerine Agrumato Extra Virgin Olive Oil
zest of 1 tangerine, if desired (See Cook’s Note)
mixed citrus
tangerine zest to garnish, if desired

Prepare the custard base: combine the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat to dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally. Scald the mixture by increasing the flame and heating the mixture until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan.

Temper the mixture: as the milk mixture heats, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until lightened. Slowly dribble the hot milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Combining the egg yolks and milk in this fashion, a process known as tempering, will slowly heat the egg yolks and prevent them from curdling when they are exposed to the direct heat of the stovetop flame.

Finish the custard: return the mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a heatproof spatula until the mixture reaches 175 degrees F. and coats the back of the spatula. Don’t rush this procedure. Be patient and use a medium flame. This slow heating will contribute to proper thickening of the custard.

Prepare an ice water bath: while the custard cooks, pour the cream into a medium bowl. Prepare a second, larger bowl for use as an ice water bath by filling it halfway with ice water. Set both bowls aside.

Finish the gelato base: strain the cooked custard into the bowl containing the cream and whisk to combine. Add the olive oil and whisk well to incorporate. Set the bowl over the ice bath to cool. Stir occasionally until cool, being careful not to slosh any water into the gelato base. Refrigerate the base 4 hours or overnight to chill completely.

Freeze the gelato: pour the chilled base into a gelato/ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the gelato into a container and place in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight. Serve accompanied by a compote of fresh citrus, and garnish with tangerine zest, if desired.

Citrus Fruit

Make the citrus compote: while the gelato is curing in the freezer, prepare the citrus. Slice ¼ inch off the top and bottom of each piece of citrus to produce spheres that will stand on their own. Place the fruit on end, and following its contour, slice downwards to remove the skin and all of the bitter white pith, revealing the flesh of the fruit. Rotate the fruit and continue this process to remove all of the skin and pith. You will have a sphere of bright, juicy fruit.

Cutting Citrus MembraneCutting Citrus SegmentPlace a medium bowl on the counter. Hold the fruit over the bowl in one hand and with the other use a sharp knife to remove each segment of fruit, letting the juice fall into the bowl and discarding the seeds. Cut as close as possible to the membranes that separate each segment, leaving the membrane behind. Once all the segments have been cut from the fruit, squeeze the remaining membranes to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the skeleton of the fruit. Cover the bowl of fruit segments and refrigerate until service.

Citrus Segments

Cook’s Note: If you want even more tangerine flavor, add the chopped zest of 1 tangerine to the initial milk mixture. Heat the milk along with the zest, sugar, and salt. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside to steep for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture and discard the zest. Reheat the mixture and proceed with the recipe.


Still Life With Wrapped Tangerines

William J. McCloskey (1859-1941)

I have no affiliation with any product, manufacturer, or site mentioned in this article.

Note: You can click on any picture to see a slide show!

Picture of Agrumato Tangerine Extra Virgin Olive Oil courtesy Olio2Go

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  1. Comment by Judy @Savoring Today:

    I adore gelato, tangerines, and fresh vibrant olive oil, so this is something I know I would love. Thanks for stopping by Savoring Today, it is always fun to repay the visit! Lovely blog you have here. 🙂

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Judy,

      I bet you would enjoy this gelato and this particular Agrumato oil. The flavor is so pure, really fresh and vibrant. It was a joy to visit your site, and I thank you for visiting mine.

  2. Comment by amy @ fearless homemaker:

    I, too, love frozen desserts year ’round and this gelato sounds just amazing. You always come up with the tastiest, most delicious flavor combinations!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Amy,

      I am glad this one sounds good to you. These flavored oils are special, fab on grilled meats, poultry fish and veggies too!

  3. Comment by Phyllis @ Oracibo:

    You have blood orange trees? Now I really am coming down! One of the jobs I dislike the most is peeling and segmenting the oranges, what a drag…however, I do it for your orange and avocado salad because it’s so wonderful and I would throw myself on the sword for the gelato!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Phyllis,

      Yup – I’ve got the trees! I don’t mind preparing the oranges. I have done it now for so many years, it is second nature, plus I love how bright and pure the flavor is with the naked flesh of the fruit. I hope you get a chance to try the gelato. It really is good.

      • Comment by Phyllis @ Oracibo:

        Hi Adri…I will be looking for that oil in Italy when we are there soon because I really would like to make it! I’ll be on the lookout for EVOO gelato when there. I know, I’ve peeled them for years too…but the good news was I could always give that job to my assistant, who didn’t mind doing it at all! Making your orange avocado salad tonight. The reason I liked yours so much is that the dressing is just a drizzle of good oil and the orange juice mixes with it and makes a really bright, fresh dressing. I put a small amount of baby spinach under the oranges last time and will this time to.

        Ciao, P P.S.: not jealous of those blood orange trees at all!

  4. Comment by sippitysup:

    Your supremes are su-PREEEEM! GREG

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Greg,

      Thanks! I love how the true orange taste comes through when all the pith and membranes are removed. Let’s hear it for supremely filleted fruit!

  5. Comment by Emilie@TheCleverCarrot:

    I think I might have just drooled on my computer… what a lovely, creamy gelato! Your tangerine oil must be exquisite. I am imagining the smell as I type this. I too prefer olive oil as opposed to extra cream and egg yolks in my gelato, which inevitably masks the flavor. Excellent choice Adri xx

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Emilie,

      Drooling is allowed here. Dare I say it is even encouraged. I am glad you also enjoy olive oil in gelato. Until last year it was new to me, but now I am a convert. I have experimented with a number of different oils, and each produces a different product. I am having fun with this.

  6. Comment by Lynne @

    Olive oil in gelato/ice cream sounds so interesting. I have a manual ice cream maker; I think I’ll dig it out and fire it up. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Comment by domenicacooks:

    I’m so glad you found Luanne at Olio 2 Go. I’m lucky that the bricks & mortar store is not too far from where I live in Virginia. She was kind enough to host me for a book signing not too long ago and I picked up a copy of the Agrumato Lemon. I haven’t opened it yet, but now I have an especially good reason to do so. As always, thanks for the inspiration, cara.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Domenica,

      I have you and Pamela Sheldon Johns to thank for introducing me to Luanne and Olio2Go. The interview you posted with her was wonderful. She has such a thorough knowledge of olive oil overall, and also of every bottle and tin she has for sale. How I wish Olio2Go were near me. It’s more fun than a jewelry store as far as I am concerned. I hope you enjoy the Agrumato Lemon. I just flipped for these oils.

      • Comment by domenicacooks:

        As it turns out, I have to drop by there tomorrow so I think I’m going to pick up a bottle of the tangerine. Cheers!

        • Comment by Adri:

          Excellent! If you happen to have a fave olive oil cake recipe, the Tangerine along with some tangerine zest is really good. I used it in Alice Medrich’s Tiger cake, omitting the pepper Alice called for and adding the zest of 1 tangerine. It was delicious.

  8. Comment by Frank @Memorie di Angelina:

    This is totally new to me, but I like it! I may wait, however. Snow still on the ground and—call me a wimp—I don’t much go for frozen desserts when the ground is frozen, too…

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Frank,

      That snow will soon be gone soon enough, and you can start experimenting with olive oil gelato. Also it’s easy for me to make frozen desserts throughout the year: I am in Los Angeles, after all. I bet you will love this!

  9. Comment by Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti:

    How divine! I keep promising myself that I will buy an ice cream maker, Adri! I never had room fro one in my NYC kitchen/freezer. Now I do and I’d love to make my own gelato and ice cream. I’m not sure my waistline will be grateful if I do but I family would be!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Pat,

      Yes, there is the waistline factor, but I figure if you temper the gelato, so to speak, with some olive oil, one might think of it as “health food!”

  10. Comment by speedy70:

    Insolito e originale, da provare!!!!

  11. Comment by nancy at good food matters:

    Hi Adri, I must confess a bit of envy for your bottle of Agrumato, and I can only imagine how luscious that gelato is. Beautiful ingredients, beautiful dessert.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Nancy,

      Believe me, there is plenty to envy! This oil really is wonderful, so bright and flavorful. The company makes a number of other citrus oils as well including lemon, citron, orange and lemon with herbs. I hope you can find some. I bet you could work wonders with it! Alla prossima!

  12. Comment by TheKitchenLioness:

    Dear Adri, we made an olive oil ice cream once for the FFwD group, so I know how delicious and creamy an Olive Oil Ice Cream or Gelato can be. Yours, of course, looks extra amazing because you used such a wonderful tangerine olive oil for making your version. It looks so tempting with that colorful citrus compote – a heavenly treat any time of the year! You have certainly inspired me toady to dust off my ice cream maker and get started on making homemade ice creams agian – I think I should begin the season with some lovely olive oil ice cream!
    Have a terrufic Tuesday, dear friend!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for the kind words. I love ice cream and gelati, and all though I make them throughout the year, now is when I really get down to business. It is good to hear that you also enjoy olive oil ice cream. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  13. Comment by Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella:

    What a great idea using an argumato olive oil. Not only do you get the goodness of the oil but the lovely fresh flavour of the fruit! 😀

  14. Comment by Karen (Back Road Journal):

    I don’t own an ice cream maker but your gelato and citrus dessert certainly makes me wish I did.

  15. Comment by Gintare @Gourmantine:

    The last time I have tried olive oil gelato was back in Italy, thank you for bringing back very good memories. This gelato looks wonderful and the flavors sound perfect together!

    • Comment by Adri:


      I am glad this brought back pleasant memories. I enjoyed this one because it has less olive oil than some other recipes, and so it is light. Also this particular oil is very light and bright in flavor. I hope you try it. Thank you for stopping by!

  16. Comment by Chiara:

    Qui è ritornata la pioggia e lea giornata è stata grigia, ho voglia di gelato, bella ricetta Adri !Un abbraccio

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Chiara,

      Il tempo è bello qui – sole e calore. Mi piace questa ricetta. Il gelato è leggero e rinfrescante. Spero che lo provi!

  17. Comment by zonzolando:

    Ma che buono che deve essere e poi la presentazione è fantastica!!! Bacioni

  18. Comment by Pam@MyNewlywedCookingAdventures:

    This is such a lovely combination of flavors. I would love to taste olive oil gelato. I’m sure it is heavenly. What a beautiful recipe!!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Pam,

      I am glad to hear that this one appeals to you. I say it is time for you to try some olive oil gelato. You are ever more experimental on your blog, and it is a delight to see you explore the world of food. This one is a delight, and I hope you give it a go. Buon appetito, amica!

  19. Comment by Phyllis @ Oracibo:

    I am about to get in my car in Vancouver and head down the road to you! Will be looking for this oil…maybe I can find it in Rome? From the sounds of it, with all the health benefits from both the oil and the tangerines we could make a steady diet of this gelato…my kind of diet! Ciao Adri! Grazie mille for your successful experimentations!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Phyllis.

      Oh my, but I am sure you will fund this oil in Rome. What a pleasure to hear that you are inspired by my experimentation. Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoy the gelato! Alla prossima!

  20. Comment by Laney (Ortensia Blu):

    So now I’m this much closer to buying an ice cream maker thanks to you! Your gelato recipes all look fantastic and this one is so creative -love the combination!

  21. Comment by Bam's Kitchen:

    Hello Adri, Beautiful post and beautiful gelato. This gelato is perfect as oranges are still very seasonal and sweet. I am very happy to hear that you have the gelato machine right there on the counter top as I am looking forward to reading more original gelato recipes like this one. I want to make my next trip to Italy during the fresh press of the olives. By the time olive olives make their way to Hong kong, they are past their good use date. Have a super weekend. BAM

    • Comment by Adri:


      Thank you for the kind words. You can expect more gelato recipes over the spring and summer! What a wonderful time you will have when you go to Italy during olive pressing season. To see the oil being produced and to be able to take some home with you would be fabulous. I too hope to make the trip!

  22. Comment by Marie:

    Adri, That’s it, I’m going to buy my very first ice cream maker ever this year and I’m going to use all your wonderful recipes as my source of inspiration, you’re amazing, this sounds beyond good!

  23. Comment by Carolyn Jung:

    A person after my own heart. I once ate gelato outside when it was snowing. LOL But when you have to have it, you gotta just go for it, no matter the time of year or weather.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Carolyn,

      Don’t you know it! Here I was making gelato while the rest of the country was blanketed with snow. I scream for ice cream! Thanks for stopping by.

  24. Comment by 2 Sisters Recipes:

    Oh my – I can’t wait to make this gelato! What a genius flavor! So glad too, we are familiar with the Ricci family and their oils too, even have one in my pantry. Love this recipe and love how you served it over the citrus compote!! Bravo!!

  25. Comment by Anthony fama:

    Adri this sounds very intriguing

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Anthony,

      It really is great. I have only recently come to the olive oil in cakes and gelato party, but I am loving it. Thanks for stopping by!

  26. Comment by Lizzy (Good Things):

    Oh Adri, I used to sell that olive oil when I co owned the cookware store and cooking school. It’s exquisite! Oh my goodness, this is one beautiful recipe! xox

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Liz,

      I am glad you know this one! It is wonderful in gelato and also in cakes. A cookware store-I did not know this about you! That must have been fun!

  27. Comment by ela@GrayApron:

    I’m planing of making lots of ice cream this Summer. And, oh mine, this one looks fantastic. I’m intrigued by the olive oil! 🙂 ela

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Ela,

      Summer really is the time for ice cream. I’m with you there. I hope you experiment with olive oil. It really is very good. Thanks fro stopping by!

  28. Comment by John@Kitchen Riffs:

    I love the idea of combining citrus and olive oil! I’m definitely going to go looking for this — I’ll bet the flavor is incredible. Really like the idea of the olive oil in gelato, too. It seems a bit odd at first, but I can see how it’d really work. Really inventive. Good recipe, really fun read. Thanks.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! These Agruamto oils are really special. Check out the website at Olio2GO for purchasing information.

  29. Comment by Karen:

    Hi Adri I bought some Pixie tangerines yesterday – never tried them before – and they are spectacular! So sweet, juicy and tart all at once. They’re gone already, but today I will replenish and for dessert tonight we will have gelato with tangerines and agrumato! I have just lemon flavor, though….Also my ice cream maker was smashed during the move and I haven’t replaced it yet. I’ll have to make do with something store-bought for now. Thank you for this flavor inspiration. Olive oil IS heavenly in creamy desserts 🙂

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Karen,

      I just got some Pixies too. Those babies are packed with real bright flavor, aren’t they? I was really surprised. What a shame that you lost your ice cream machine in the move… time for a trip to the cookware I store, I think!

  30. Comment by MADONNA/AKA/MS. LEMON:

    I just pinned this. I have never put olive oil in ice cream, but I bet you do not get the icy issue, just creaminess.


    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Madonna,

      Enjoy, and thanks for the Pin. Olive oil ice creams and gelati are often too heavy for me, but this fruit oil was so nice. I hope you give it a try!

  31. Comment by Ciao Chow Linda:

    Well Adri, I have eaten olive oil gelato and didn’t care for it. But THIS, with the orange flavor and superior olive oil is one I will surely try. I need to get some of that fabulous oil first. I can’t wait to pull out my ice cream machine.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Linda,

      I had tasted some, and they were all too heavy and too”green” for me, but with the oil from Abruzzo (of course) it was divine! Buon appetito!

  32. Comment by Big Sis Toni:

    Beautiful post, Adri. Whatever you post always looks so enticing. And the information is always interesting. Thanks for all the effort and expertise you put into your posts.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Sorella bella,

      Thanks, as always, for the encouragement! You guys ought to try this one. I bet it would be a perfect dessert for your summer pizza parties!

  33. Comment by Trisha Thomas:

    Beautiful as always Adri….I’ve actually never heard of using Olive oil for making gelato. That is fascinating. And are those slices of citrus around the gelato all mandarine oranges? Also I was surprised to see the blood oranges (or mandarines) I didn’t know you could get those in the US. The red color makes it so beautiful. Compliment for another tempting and beautiful post. Bellissimo.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Ciao Trisha,

      Yup – olive oil in gelato. It is divine. It is a mix of citrus you see – tangerines, Moro blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges and Navel oranges. Blood oranges are easy to get here now, and for those of us with trees, they are one of the most anticipated garden events of the year! Thanks for all the kind words.

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