I'd read about the Carpigiani Gelato University and museum on The Italy Project, a great blog about Bologna. When we decided to spend a weekend in this lovely city, I surprised Stefano by making a tour of it our first stop! The university and museum are part of the Carpigiani factory complex. This company is famous for producing commercial gelato machines and as part of their dedication to spreading an appreciation of gelato around the world, they have gathered 20 original machines and 1000s of photographs and historical documents explaining how the production of gelato has evolved since ancient times. According to our museum guide, Caterina, there is both a science and an art to making delicious gelato.
Caterina's tips for eating THE BEST gelato.1. Gelato is not ice cream. It is MUCH healthier.
You've probably heard this before and Caterina confirmed it. Ice cream has a higher fat content than gelato. A chocolate or tiramisi gelato is only about 8% fat, whereas ice cream can have a fat content of 20 to 30 %. Because of the difference in fat content, gelato is served at a lower temperature and needs to be swirled rather than scooped into a cone. If you are served firm, solid scoops of frozen something, it's probably not gelato.
2. Great gelaterias are closed in the morning.
Yes, that's right. Gelato should be made fresh everyday, so artisan gelato chefs spend the morning sourcing fresh, seasonal ingredients and then preparing smallish tubs of gelato to be sold after lunch and into the night. This is a great tip for tracking down the best gelato, especially in Milan where there are so many small gelaterias.
3. Look for gelato machines out the back, not gelato trucks.
In Italy, the best artisan gelato chefs make gelato on site. Look for the machines in a kitchen area out the back. It's becoming more popular to display gelato machines in a glass side room next to the counter with some shops producing small batches of gelato throughout the day.
4. Try a seasonal flavour.
Great gelato relies on great produce, so most gelato chefs try to create seasonal gelato flavours. The use of seasonal fruits enhances the flavour and it also challenges the chefs to experiment and create their own style or speciality flavours. As Caterina told us, great gelato is the combination of art and science.
|No Caterina is not about to torture Stefano for asking one question too many! |
She's explaining how to use this old cone production machine.
Originally gelato was served in paper cones, or sandwiched between two cookies, or carefully scooped into tiny penny lick glass cups. But thankfully, in 1903 Vittorio Marchionni, an Italian living in the USA, patented a machine for producing waffle cones and the hygiene problems of serving gelato, or ice cream, in rinsed, licked-clean glass cups was overcome! Cone or cup, now the choice is yours.
|Those glass shot glasses are actually penny lick glass cups. They are almost solid glass with just a small hollow for a little scoop of deliciousness.|
Via Emilia, 45
40011 Anzola dell'Emilia
The shop is open everyday and you don't need to take a tour to buy a gelato there.
Taste test summary
I followed some of Caterina's gelato tips in selecting three flavours. To make sure I sampled the art and the science of gelato, I chose two artisan flavours and a classic. Blueberries are just coming into season, so the gelato chef was making the most of this fruit blending them with a ricotta-based gelato. The result was sensational! My second scoop was of zabaglione with caramelised figs. Rich, but not heavy, this fruity custard flavour was true artistic genius! And my last scoop, to test the science of this gelato chef's technique was nocciola. It is my favourite gelato flavour so I could compare it scientifically against memories of many others. There were pieces of crunchy nut mixed through a delicately flavoured hazelnut gelato. Astounding! Honestly this was a huge tub of gelato but each flavour was completely distinct and absolutely delicious.
Gelati ranking *****!
Absolute perfection! The best I've had anywhere.
To book a tour of the gelato museum or attend any of the gelato production classes click here for more information.
La prossima volta di più su Bologna.