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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

HOW TO TELL GOOD GELATO FROM BAD GELATO

In Italy, there is no distinction between gelato and ice cream. There is only the distinction between good gelato and bad gelato. Good gelato is rich and delicate simultaneously. It is creamy, but not heavy. It is cool and refreshing, but not numbingly cold. It is sweet, but not cloying. As each spoonful melts in your mouth, the gelato reveals layers of complex flavors that linger pleasantly on the palate. Like all Italian food, it is enjoyed best together with friends and family.

Italians can spot good gelato easily, long before they actually taste it. A Neopolitan visiting Florence will be drawn to Gelateria Vivoli and a Florentine visiting Naples will find La Scimmia. Italians pass up the bright, beautiful gelato displays that line the tourist thoroughfares. They look for the promise ‘Produzione Artigianale,’ or, even better, explanation of gelato pod Produzione Propria‘ on the outside. ‘Produzione Artigianale‘ means they produce the gelato themselves, but they do not start from fresh, local ingredients. ‘Produzione Propria‘ means they make their gelato from scratch. The gelato should not be garishly colored. Banana gelato should be grayish, not bright yellow. Pistachios are naturally green, but not neon. The promise is fulfilled in the surprise of intense, nuanced flavors melting on the tongue.

Wonderful gelato

Like all good food, wonderful gelato is fresh, natural ingredients which have been well treated and combined to complement, contrast, and harmonize with one another. To get truly great gelato, you must start with the freshest, highest quality ingredients. Fresh produce contains hundreds of flavor compounds. Artificial flavors only mimic two or three of the flavors of real fruit; they are sharp and lack nuance and complexity. ‘Real fruit’ that has been grown far away or in a hot house, has been picked too soon so that it can ‘ripen’ during the long journey to the gelateria, or has been overly processed, canned, cooked or frozen also leaves the fruitýs potential unfulfilled.

For great flavor, there are no shortcuts. The produce must be from varieties known for their taste– not bred for increased yield or attractiveness on a grocery store shelf. Most fruits are unable to develop their full flavor once they have been picked. Only local produce can be allowed to ripen fully on the plant. Within hours of leaving the field, the fruit must be in the laboratorio, capturing the moment at which the fruit is at its succulent best. Like divas, fresh, natural ingredients are finicky and must be coddled and cared for lovingly to coax out their best performances. For lovers of wonderful gelato, however, all the effort is distilled into a few delicious moments of bliss.

Let’s Try Gelato, Yum!

What is gelato…?

Gelato, the Italian word for “frozen” is the name given to an ice cream-like frozen dessert composed mainly of milk, sugar, cream, and whatever ingredients it is flavored with. This can be anything from fruit to chocolate, or more recently some less traditional flavors such as tiramisu or even bubblegum.

Although commonly confused with what most of us consider American ice cream, gelato is not to be mistaken for its “American” counterpart. The history of gelato dates back to the 16th century, where some believe that it was first created by Bernardo Buontalenti in Florence. Gelato did not become popular however, until the Sicilian Procopia dei Coltelli began selling it publicly when he opened a café in France.

Did you know…?

Manufacturers often add air to their ice cream after it is produced to make it lighter and fluffier than gelato, unfortunately, adding air also cuts back on the taste of the ice cream. Gelato however has very little air, which accounts for its richness in flavor.

While the gelato of northern Italy was produced using dairy products, the gelato of the hotter southern parts was traditionally produced using water and fruit. This came to be known as sorbetto, or sorbet.

Gelato requires a special gelato print on demand company freezer in order to maintain its creamy consistency since it is typically kept between 0°-6° Fahrenheit, about 10 degrees warmer than ice cream.

Gelato, although creamier and more flavorful than American ice cream actually has fewer calories and much less butter fat than ice cream. So have some gelato this month without having to worry about packing on summer pounds. Prego!

Ahsan Khan
Ahsan Khan
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