What do you know about Italian frozen desserts? Can you prepare a gelato at home? What flavours are in vogue this summer? ScuolaScuola helps you answer all these questions!
On a hot summer afternoon, there’s nothing like a good gelato. A typically Italian merenda that kids and grown-ups love alike and that you can make at home! You don’t need professional tools to enjoy a scoop of homemade gelato. Actually, it is much easier than you might think: choose your favourite flavour(s), pick up fresh, high-quality ingredients, and read our article. You’ll also discover the latest trends for this summer.
Gelato trends for 2021
Like many other economic sectors, the gelato industry has started growing again: data (June 2021) show that consumption in Italy has increased by 14% since the beginning of the year. This is definitely good news for professionals, who enthusiastically reward consumers’ trust by creating new flavours. This season’s gelato has been defined as a “spa for the palate”: it is more natural and healthier than ever precisely to meet customers’ demand for quality and a widespread desire for wellness.
Some examples? Rimini-based Sonia Balacchi, World Pastry Champion in 2012, has invented the Natura Sandwiches, made with ingredients from her family’s farm. “We have the Gold Natura Sandwich, with apricot, orange and saffron biscuit bread with Kefir mango, pineapple, maca and candied ginger gelato filling; the Purple Natura Sandwich, with wild berry biscuit bread with Kefir red grape, beetroot, black carrot and goji berry gelato filling; the Green Natura Sandwich, lactose-free and vegan, with lemon and banana biscuit bread with kiwi, avocado, apple and moringa sorbet filling,” she says.
Eugenio Morrone, in Rome, focuses on sorbets: from a very simple one made with water, sugar and pistachio to his personal version of the traditional sorbetto al limone, made with basil, Sorrento lemons and cinnamon. This is also the year of flowers and plants, as shown by Giancarlo Timballo from Friuli Venezia Giulia. Depending on seasonality, he works with dandelion, elderberry, dog rose, poppy, sea buckthorn and juniper. There are also new versions of the classic gelato al cioccolato: this year, some ice cream parlors are serving the Frutto del cacao flavour, made with cocoa pulp, and a pink variant, obtained from ruby cocoa beans.
How to make your gelato at home
The recipe below is by Benedetta Rossi, a popular food blogger and TV host. She is famous for proposing recipes that everybody can prepare, with no special equipment. Needless to say, you can make her gelato without an ice cream machine! Moreover, her gelato is egg, preservative and additive free, and you can even make it lactose free.
To prepare the fiordilatte base you only need 500 ml of fresh whipping cream and 300-350 grams of condensed milk (see her recipe). Pour the fresh unsweetened cream into a large bowl and beat until stiff with an electric whisk. Add condensed milk and continue whisking until you obtain a homogenous mixture. Your gelato al fiordilatte is ready. Just pour it into a jar and keep it in the freezer for at least 4 hours. And don’t be afraid to experiment and create your custom flavours by adding your favorite ingredients!
The frozen dessert most often associated with Italy is doubtlessly gelato, but there’s much more. Granita, for example, is another popular warm-weather treat, particularly in Sicily, where it usually accompanies a brioche for breakfast. This Sicilian specialty has an icy crystalline texture and is made by flavouring water before it’s frozen. Fruit flavours are extremely popular throughout Italy, but it also comes in non-fruit varieties such as pistachio, coffee, chocolate. Either served in a glass sundae dish or in a paper cup.