Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards

Combine an icy Cabernet treat with chocolate shards and make this amazing light dessert. Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards is perfect for summer get to-gethers; it’s unique, sophisticated and simply delicious.

Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards Served in a Wine Glass

I started this week off with a bang; I didn’t get this recipe for Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards completed in time to post with a group that I’m a part of. A group I started so I really feel some extra responsibility. But the good news? We’ve all been there. I simply ran out of time this weekend.

I never seem to have the luxury of playing all weekend; even with a now four year old house, I still think of long weekends as the opportunity to get a project done. This past weekend it was all about the deck I had built this time last year; it was time to stain it and I was the person in charge.

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Ah, well, I was also the person doing all the work…doggone I need a team to be in charge of and I could just sit and enjoy this Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards while someone else does the hard labor…what was I thinking??

Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards Closeup

So while I should have been making an icy treat I was prepping the deck with cleaner, staining it, and then after 24 hours of letting it dry, moving all the furniture out of my back yard back onto the deck and arranging it. That’s the part that probably ate up as much time as anything…I’m definitely a re-arranger!

But now it’s done and it’s time to enjoy it so I invited some friends over yesterday to an early barbecue. I slept a bit too late, I forgot I had to treat eight huge couch cushions with Scotchgard and ahem, the part I totally spaced? This gelato is cooked to incorporate some cornstarch into the mix to make sure it thickens nicely and it had to completely cool before I could even think of churning it.

Gelato is not made with heavy cream, it’s normally a combination of milk, half and half and flavorings. Since my third component was going to be wine and I would be eliminating some of the milk, I upped the half and half ratio that I used in this recipe to balance the creaminess a bit.

Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards Served in Wine Glasses

I used a technique when making this gelato called Stracciatella; it’s a big, hard to pronounce word that has multiple meanings but in this case it means that melted chocolate is dripped into the ice cream mixture at the end of the cycle when it is already firmed and moving easily in the machine but not quite ready.

The result is heavenly and adds flakes of chocolate to the gelato and I prefer it tenfold over the simplicity of adding chocolate chips.

The shards that are created from this technique melt in your mouth, something I honestly don’t think chocolate chips do well. Plus by creating your own chocolate mixture you can vary it significantly. I usually prefer a combination of half semi-sweet chocolate with half milk chocolate but if you’re all dark chocolate all the time; then do that. White chocolate could even be fun in a dark mixture like this one.

Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards on the Patio

Luckily the one thing I knew would make this easy once I got to it was my ice cream maker. No longer the hour of churning by hand thankfully, this Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker does make the process simple once the ingredients are ready. I think I sold my neighbor on one who had never seen the electric ones; he was still thinking hand crank!

This is not a super sweet ice cream; don’t get me wrong it’s sweet but just enough for an adult palate that lets the wine come through. It’s not a cheap ice cream because I used an entire bottle of wine that I simmered down to one cup, but it will serve more than a bottle of wine would, so next time you have guests, forgo that last after dinner tipple and serve this instead; it’s absolutely worth it!

PIN IT! ‘Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards’

Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards PIN
Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards Closeup

Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards

A delicious combination of chocolate and red wine in a cool summer treat.
5 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Course Desserts, Ice Cream
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 262 kcal


  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup red wine Simmer a full bottle of red wine until reduced to one cup; chill reduction thoroughly before using
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter


Prepare the Stracciatella (Chocolate Shards)

  • Melt the chocolates and butter in a microwave on low power for 30 second increments, stirring in between sessions until melted and smooth.
  • Transfer to a pastry or Ziploc bag and seal; pressing out as much air as possible; keeping warm until ready to use. I put the bag in to a glass of hot water to keep it warm until the gelato is ready.

Make the Gelato

  • In a medium saucepan bring the milk and half and half to a simmer.
  • Combine the sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch into a bowl and whisk in the wine reduction.
  • Scrape the sugar and wine mixture into the hot milk. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles a little at the edges. Stir and cook for 2 minutes longer.
  • Pour the mixture into a clean bowl and cover the surface of the mixture with plastic wrap. Chill without stirring until very cold to the touch; minimum 90 minutes. (I put mine into the freezer for about 45 minutes to speed it up a bit).
  • Freeze gelato according to the instructions with your ice cream maker. When the ice cream has churned and the consistency is a bit firmer than soft serve, remove the chocolate mixture from the warm water and snip the tip of the bag about an eighth of an inch; no more than a quarter of an inch. Drizzle the chocolate into the ice cream as it is churning (save a bit for the top and for sundaes if desired) and allow it to distribute throughout.
  • Continue churning until desired consistency and then transfer the mixture to a freezer safe container and let freeze for at least 4 hours before serving; preferably overnight.




Nutrition Facts
Cabernet Gelato with Chocolate Shards
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword cabernet, chocolate, dessert, gelato, ice cream, shards
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    1. It’s evident but not overpowering but just like a chocolate dessert with a glass of red wine, they compliment each other perfectly.

  1. I am totally in love with this dessert! I haven’t made homemade ice cream in way too long but now I can’t wait to bring out my ice cream maker and try this. Your photos are beautiful and so inviting! I want to just sit right down and enjoy!

  2. This sounds amazing. The flavor from the reduced bottle of wine must be incredible. Fabulous for hanging out on your beautiful deck.

    1. I admit I love it and it’s really not boozy at all. I sort of figured the simmering would evaporate any alcohol and I was right; it froze quickly. Um, so quickly that I had to take it out of the container and let it thaw a bit so I could do that chocolate drizzle business. Live and learn right? I’m going to sit out there soon and do just that…if the rain will just stop! 🙂

    1. When I was out working on the deck yesterday it was perfect weather, not too hot at all. And then the rain came and by last night I was pulling out socks and my blankie! I was FREEZING (OK so it was 50 degrees but still). Today’s nice, I’m more in the mood for ice cream so I’m enjoying my first one tonight after dinner. Or maybe for dinner. 🙂

    1. It’s a wonderful technique that is really pretty easy too Susan. I have another recipe on the blog where I did it; a Black Forest Ice Cream with shards and cherries. The chocolate beats bagged chips any day of the week!

    1. Thanks Liz; you and everyone else were so good to me this month. I was literally dead last night and even a cone of this treat would not have helped. 🙂

    1. They are great together and this is such fun isn’t it…I can’t help myself, I always veer towards the libations don’t I?

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