Having earned a significant place among the most beautiful Greek cities, thanks to its rich history, numerous charming attractions, picturesque paved alleys and renowned fortresses, Nafplio attracts and captivates travelers from all over the world. And when the weather gets warmer and the Mediterranean sunlight reflects on the soft yellow and pink shades of the neoclassical buildings, when blooming flowers start to adorn balconies and window shutters and the blue waters that embrace the floating castle of Bourtzi become even brighter, then an excursion to the beloved capital of the prefecture of Argolida and first capital of Greece, becomes even more tempting. And what better way to soak up the relaxing, spring and summer vibes, than strolling around the old town of Nafplio with a cone of delicious, homemade ice cream that will add a sweet touch to your experience.
Although you will find plenty of gelaterie in Nafplio, the name that has become synonymous with pure, traditional ice cream is that of the Koustenis family. The queues that line up on the picturesque pedestrian street of Vas. Konstantinou, are not incidental. For many years now, locals trust the freshly made Koustenis ice cream, while visitors who try it for the first time, soon come back for another dose of sweet indulgence.
Having completed half a century of experience in ice cream making and with the second generation now in charge, the rule that the Koustenis family puts into practice since 1972, when they opened their first ice cream parlor in Athens and carries on in the Nafplio gelateria in 1983, is preparing homemade ice cream, using pure ingredients and local raw materials, showing care and responsibility towards clients at the same time. Clients, that whether they live in Nafplio or simply visit it, always seek the steadily high quality and the two new flavours that are added every summer in the long list of 40 delicious flavours, daily prepared in the family laboratory.
The basic ingredient for all of them is fresh milk supplied by local producers – which also provide the fresh cream that gives the ice cream a rich texture -, as well as fresh, seasonal fruit, that become tasty sorbets. As this part of Peloponnese is well known for its citrus fruit production, lemons and oranges are local, while on the other hand, in order to keep up with the latest trends in flavours and technical know-how, Koustenis family visits relative exhibitions in Italy regularly.
As for the traditional recipes, they truly bring out classic flavours, like the ones suggested by the kind staff – it’s certainly worth trying every single one of them.
Mastic is full of aromas, Cocoa – brioche is really original, Vanilla is combined with traditional sour cherry or bergamot sweet of the spoon, Cocoa-amarena and Cocoa-cookies are addictive, Nocciola is one of the most preferred flavours, Cheesecake is rich in digestive biscuit chunks, whereas Wafer and Donut are very popular with children. Just choose your preferred flavours and fill one of the chocolate covered, crunchy cones or biscuit cups and enjoy it as you walk around the lovely old town. If you like the taste of caramel, the Koustenis caramel ice cream is a must for you, as they prepare the caramel in their own lab and add it to the ice cream in order to give it an extra crunchy texture. The same way they caramelise peanuts to make Snickers ice cream extra delicious. Small details that make a big difference in the outcome.
Extra tip: Those who are on a diet or avoid sugar, will be thrilled with light Stevia ice cream, either vanilla or chocolate, so tasty that it’s hard to believe it doesn’t contain sugar. And should you visit Nafplio around Christmas time, ask for traditional Diples, handmade fried dough rolls, served with local honey, or at Easter make sure you try the delicious, fluffy, Tsoureki, a traditional, very fragrant sweet bread, as well as the Easter cookies, handmade with fresh butter.
Info: Address: 16 Vas. Konstantinou St. , Nafplio – tel: 27520 – 25301