The secret ingredient to Gelato
Updated: Feb 28, 2020
Now that I have been introduced to Gelato, I don’t think my life will ever be the same. Everywhere there is gelato. The gelato is so good that it makes me want to weep. I crave it like the way some people crave sex and drugs. It isn’t served as a neat scoop but rather it is lovingly applied to a cone and built up as if it is a work of art. I love Pizza and Pasta with all my heart and I adore Italian bread. If I have fallen in love with Schiacciata all’olio then my feelings for gelato must be bordering on something akin to lust. My day is made complete by a gelato. I am absolutely fascinated as to why the Gelato tastes so bloody good. I have started to obsess about a secret ingredient of some description that makes Gelato for me as addictive as crack cocaine. (I have never tried crack cocaine and I have no fucking idea as to what I am talking about. Saying it just makes me feel like I have street cred and it is my way of trying to explain the depths of my feelings for Gelato.)
I used to love a Mango Sorbet at home and during my time in the States it was my staple diet throughout summer. In my younger, pre-vegan days I used to adore ice-cream so much so that I could be positively gluttonous. Gelato is different. It has this creamy, milky, almost silky quality. Even thinking about gelato makes me drool. Somehow the combination of milk, sugar, fat, air, fruit and water makes a heavenly combination of something truly delectable. Every time I drive past my favourite gelataria in the afternoon there are adults sitting quietly blissfully consuming their gelatos. It is like a religion.
It turns out that ice-cream has all these ingredients as well and my obsessive research has led me to the conclusion that ice-cream has more of everything. More sugar, more milk, more fat, more flavourings. It has more, yet it is nowhere near as good. Outside of Italy we tend to view Ice-cream as a bit of a sinful indulgence, whereas in Italy, Gelato is almost revered as a health food. “Eat more!” “It is good for you!” “You need it!” No wonder I am in love with Italy.
This morning Fabrizia organised a visit to our favourite Gelataria to see Gelato being made. Finally, I was going to find my Holy Grail. The answers to all my questions about gelato. Meeting Andrea, the Gelato Artisan was almost like meeting a Rockstar. I felt a little giddy. I have said it on occasion before, but move over Tenterfield Baker you have been replaced. I have the heart of a fucking harlot.
We stood in his spotless kitchen with the stainless-steel machinery and Fabrizia translated as he made several different varieties whilst we watched. The final Gelato we witnessed was Lemon, my favourite. I was perplexed though as the ingredients were deceptively simple and surely were the basis of ice-cream all over the world. But out of the machine came this heavenly, creamy mixture that made me salivate just by looking at it. I was none the wiser.
I listened to Fabrizia translating as Andrea spoke about how long he had had his gelataria, the processes he went through, the ingredients, the fact that some fruits could only be used when in season as they tasted better. He spoke about the air, the temperatures, how some fats needed to be balanced when you added other ingredients like nuts. I thought about those adults who approached the eating of a gelato like it was an act of worship. I thought about the taste of gelato that was nothing short of heavenly. Gelato was like the food from a fairy-tale. It was so creamy, so light and so indescribably perfect. It dated back to Florence in the 1500’s. There was no answer to gelato that I could find except a hidden mysterious chemistry. The ingredient had to be love. There was no other explanation for it. A little bit of Italian magic with lashings of Italian love. It is a thing of beauty.