Is there something better than a fresh, creamy, sweet and tasty dessert during the hot days of the summer?
I’m talking about a mix of milk, eggs, sugar and fruits served in a cone, very easy to eat while you are walking down the street, the fantastic, wonderful Ice Cream that we call " Gelato".
Since childhood, I used to steal gelato from my little brother and now I’m 52 I’m still addicted to it. It is really my favorite dessert. The best in the world.
There is a Gelateria near my home that makes a fantastic ice cream with pistachios from Sicily, local fresh fruits and organic milk. No artificial colorings, flavorings, emulsifiers of preservatives added. The boss has recently opened a new shop downtown New York. Their speciality is a flavor called “amarcord” (like the title of the movie of Federico Fellini). It is made with a creamy mascarpone cheese and, at the bottom of cone, a chocolate fondue. In this gelateria I also like Bacio (Gianduia Chocolate and roasted hazelnuts) and pistacchio and so many other fruits flavors.
Who invented this extraordinary delicatessen? We know for sure that ice cream is born in Italy.
We know that the first kind of Ice cream was a sorbet made with honey, fruits and snow (which later on was stocked in cellars insulated with cork to keep it frozen).
During Renaissance period in Florence a chef called Ruggeri invented a gelato to be served during the parties prepared with cream, fruit and zabaione…
In 1686 Mr. Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, a Chef coming from the south of Italy, Sicily, created a perfect mixture to prepare the ice cream and also invented a dedicated machinery to produce it. He opened his confectionery shop in Paris and he was so famous that important people like Balzac, Voltaire, Hugo and even Napoleon came and taste his own sorbet (made of lemon and ice) and ice cream.
At the beginning of XX Century ice cream was brought across Europe thanks to the peddlers.
Nowadays Italy is the best place in the world where you can taste fantastic traditional “Gelato” with more than 25,000 gelaterie. At the first place in the world!
The place where I live, Bologna, in the north of Italy, is really the “cradle” of this gorgeous invention with more than 50 shops within the city centre. It is not a case that in Bologna in 1927 Mr. Otello Cattabriga invented the first automatic machine to produce Ice Cream.
Now the company he founded, is the first producer of automatic machines in the world.
Traditional/“Artisanal” means it is made with fresh and good natural ingredients but it is not easy to recognize if an ice cream is made in this way or not. I have my personal techniques to do this.
Here's my tips:
-The shop must have a limited number of flavors (12 flavors are enough)
-Ice Cream shouldn't be too colored. We must ask if it is free from flavorings, emulsifiers and preservatives
-It shouldn't be too much creamy (if means fat) and without too much sugar on it
-It has to be made with fresh season fruits
-It shouldn't be too much “high” when displayed in the box and no special toppings to cover “poor quality”
-The surface should be neither too dull nor too shiny
-It would be nice if the laboratory behind the counter (where ice cream is prepared) was visible.
I don't know if this time is possible but I can't wait to attend the Gelato Festival that every year is held somewhere around Italy.
Are you ready for a Gelato tour behind the scene to follow all stages from pasteurization up to creaming? I have special places to show you!