GELATO, Amore mio!
The best time for gelato is…always! As all we know, there is nothing that a scoop – or two – of gelato can’t fix. So here is our go-to guide to this Italian frozen pleasure!
FROM ROME TO TUSCANY
Who invented gelato as we know it today? The ancestor of the future cool dessert was born in Rome. Here the ancient Latins used to eat crushed ice and honey, something similar to the contemporary Sicilian “granita”. According to the legend, the modern version of gelato is an invention of Bernardo Buontalenti (1531-1608), a Tuscan architect at the service of the noble Medici family in Florence. Cosimo de’ Medici asked him to work on a spectacular dinner honoring the King of Spain. The designer and his chefs created a frozen cream made with milk, honey, sugar, sweet wine, and eggs, flavored with bergamot and orange. They changed the world.
GELATO IN THE US
Gelato arrived in the US many years later with Italian immigrants. In 1770, a man named Giovanni Basiolo brought gelato to New York City for the first time. Sometime later, the pastry chef Filippo Lenzi opened the first Italian gelateria in the US. Today gelato’s fans in the U.S. are more and more numerous.
GELATO OR ICE-CREAM
This is the dilemma! Let’s learn some Italian: the word “gelato” literally means “frozen”. Still, the terms gelato and ice cream are not switchable! Even though the primary ingredients are the same (both contain cream, milk, and sugar), the proportions and the process are different. First of all, gelato is smoother. Ice-cream is slightly heavier because is made with full-fat cream. The recipe for gelato has less cream and uses whole milk instead. The formula also has fewer eggs (if any). According to the Food and Drug Administration rules, ice cream contains no less than 10 percent fat. On the other said, gelato has always less than 9% fat. Another difference is the air. Yes, you got that right…It is an air factor! Gelato and ice-cream are both churned in the process, but the Italian brother is mixed slower and incorporates less air. The result is that gelato’s flavor is more intense. Also, ice-cream is served cooler than gelato.
USE A SPADE, NOT A SCOOP!
Here is a true professional tip! If you serve authentic gelato, do not use the ice cream scoop! The best tool is a flat spade. You can also impress your guests with some ultra-chic toppings. For example, you can make a delicious affogato dropping a shot of cold and creamy espresso on your fiordilatte (milk, cream) gelato; top it with chopped chocolate and hazelnuts. If you want to impress your snobbish gourmet friends, pour some drops of extra virgin olive oil and salt on your fiordilatte. It seems weird, but it tastes really good! At Magnifico we have an incredible selection of amazing extra virgin olive oil ready for you!
- Donatella Mulvoni