Anyone who has visited Italy at some point may well know how good the Italian artisan ice cream or gelato is. This artisan ice cram can be found on every corner of practically every city. On the other hand, for those who are planning their visit to Italy, we suggest not to pass on the opportunity to try this marvelous product.
Italy is famous for its ice-cream in Italy called “gelato”. It is sold in places called “gelateria” which means an ice-cream shop. Many ice-cream shops have their own specialties or their favorite tastes, and depending on the region different ingredients will be used, thus you will be even able to find tastes such as lavender.
On every corner of any street you will be able to see a sign “Gelato artigianale”- this can be translated as artisan gelato. Artisan gelato (or homemade gelato) is very different from the one made industrially:
- Artisan ice-cream is made without artificial food additives, and therefore it cannot be stored for more than a few days.
- The ingredients are fresh and the ice-cream is often made by the owner of the shop.
- Less content of fat (6-10% in the artisan ice-cream, 8-12% in the industrial one).
- Fewer percentages of air (maximum 35% in the artisan, min 70% in the industrial).
The origin of ice-cream is not known today but the roots of this dessert are believed to have gone back to the Roman period. The modern gelato was invented in the 16th century in Florence by an architect Bernardo Buontalenti who used eggs, milk and cream at first.
Some typical flavors of the Italian ice-cream explained:
- vanilla with chocolate streaks
Fior di latte
- (“a milk flower”) basic ice-cream taste based on milk, cream and sugar.
- chocolate taste with a higher percentage of cacao (more than 45%).
Cioccolato extra fondente
- chocolate taste with extremely high percentage of cacao (more than 70%).
- white chocolate
Frutti di bosco
- mix of different forest berries
- you will be able to find it in every gelateria; it is a semi-frozen dessert originally from Sicily that is made of sugar, ice and various flavors.
Ice-cream is sold in cones ‘cono’ or cups ‘coppetta’, and each time you buy an ice-cream you will be asked, ‘coppetta’ o ‘cono’.
- Ice-cream existed before the invention of freezers. During the winter periods people used to store ice underground and preserve it in vast quantities for the summer periods. Afterwards, they would place a metal container over the ice, but since the temperature of the ice is around 0°C, the ice-cream would not freeze. The ingenious way of lowering the temperature was to add salt to the ice, which lowered the temperature enough to do the trick.
- The first industrial ice-cream bar (on a stick) Mottarello was created in Italy in 1948.
- The modern success of gelato can be attributed to an Italian Filippo Lenzi who opened the first ice-cream shop in the United States at the end of the 18th century.
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