Monday, April 2, 2012

Gelato! A food group all it's own!


Perhaps I LOVE ice cream because of my Italian blood.........and it is really gelato I am looking for every time I stop at an ice cream store.       When home in Italy each year  I taste gelato in every town I visit in Italy.   I have my favorite gelato stores and flavors that I visit every time I go home to Italy.     Yes it is different in EVERY town and EVERY store.   And I am sorry to tell my 23 million Italian American friends, nothing in the USA comes close to gelato in Italy!



Un’arte tutta italiana: il gelato, Yle

Creamy, swirls of gelato 
When clients ask me for a spring culinary experience I often suggest for them to assist in a GELATO demo and learn what Italians gelato makers do and how artisanal gelato is made. 

And when it is about making it (gelato) with some nice friends and learn this Italian art, the answer cannot be anything but positive. 

Last time I saw Luca, the gelato maker, he made me taste a gorgeous fruity gelato and that was at that time that I thought my clients would have loved it. On several occasions, during my USA visits, I have tasted gelato, but have been  disappointed by the quantity of sugar used in it.    In some cases I tought it was a bubble gum rather than a gelato and could not finish my serving.


What makes Luca’s Gelato so special, is actually the freshest products used for ingredients and the limited quantity of sugar he adds.           Actually having tasted sugar free and gluten free gelato, it is one of the best experiences and  I can recommend it.   Also, his gelato is made without preservatives and artificial additives  which made me prefer tasting this rather than others. 


In this area of Italy (Puglia)  people basically eat  healthy , so  planning a vacation for a vegetarian  is not complicated at all.      Well, as probably some of you have realized, I like all things genuine and simple. This selection does not only fit a lifestyle, but is also a guidance in my daily nutritional plan.   


It was a busy spring weekend devoted to the inspection of new lovely places to recommend for my one day or longer tour programs. I asked two friends of mine to join me in this foodie inspection and share with me the pleasure of having breakfast with a “just made” gelato. 

When I told them the factory was by the ocean, they were simply happy.         Our scheduled time with Luca was quite early in the morning and the light on the ocean at that moment of the day is simply gorgeous.

As soon as we got to San Cataldo (a beach that is very close to Lecce), we admired the lovely landscape: a blue ocean and a sense of calmness all around that invited us to be totally lazy.  

Luca and his friends (including his lovely wife and son), were already waiting for us outside the door of the laboratory just in case we could not find the site (actually his gelato shop has a lovely outdoor sign).


The three of us were well equipped with  cameras and could not wait to start tasting.

Luca was kind and informative. He explained to us every part  of the preparation and even allowed us to taste some of the ingredients (like pistachio and chocolate) before mixing them in.     He underlined from the very beginning the importance of using the freshest milk and cream (panna) and the importance of the pasteurization.     



Luca’s gelato is very creamy and has a lower percentage of fat than standard ice cream. 

Perfect and delicious.
Luca filled the ice cream machine with milk and other ingredients to prepare the base and after 10 minutes moved the liquid into another machine to bring it to the right temperature.
While waiting for the pasteurization,
Luca explained to us many interesting things everybody should consider when eating a gelato:       gelato  in fact provides many nutritional qualities such us calcium, carbohydrates, egg protein, fruit minerals and vitamins.

Once the super-soft gelato was ready to be tasted, Luca offered several “gusti” (flavors) and my favourite was undoubtedly the stracciatella one.        I don’t know how but when eating I’m so attracted by all thing white in color and if it is complemented with chocolate, the combination is perfect.      This gelato was soft, creamy,  with soft colors and was so genuine.

 In spring and summer time, enjoying a gelato s a real "must try" in Italy. During break times, late in the evening and mainly at the weekend you will see many locals having a stroll with their favourite gelato flavour in their hands. Also, when  they invite you for lunch, if in autumn and winter times you usually offer cakes or little pastries, now it is the moment for “gelato box” (vaschette di gelato) or semifreddi.
Luca also explained the difference between creamy and fruity gelato. The fruity one is much lighter, since creamy flavors include standbys while Fruit ones contain no dry. Digita il testo o l'indirizzo di un sito web oppure traduci un documento.

For those who love good ice cream there are different tastes, from traditional ones like fruits, creams, chocolate, and yogurt, in particular ones like nutella, hot pepper, almond, pistachio, bacio, cassata, coffee, mint, vanilla and many more.
It can be served in cones, cups or “stecche”  with biscuits and wafers.


It is always time for gelato, so how about tasting one right now?

If you are planning to visit Salento in Puglia and would love making this once in a lifetime experience, send me an email: info@yltourcongressi.com
I’ll be there with you, making and tasting gelato together.

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