Authentic gelato at retail: typically made fresh in a gelateria, now authentic gelato can be purchased packaged at retail

Authentic gelato at retail: typically made fresh in a gelateria, now authentic gelato can be purchased packaged at retail – 2004 Ice Cream Outlook

Donna Berry

Gelato [jeh-LAH-toh], the Italian word for ice cream, varies significantly by region in Italy. In the south, particularly in Sicily, gelato is made with milk and no egg yolks, and sometimes includes a thickener such as cornstarch. In central Italy, such as in Tuscany, it is made from a milk and egg custard, while up north, it is very rich, as northern Italians use cream and eggs to make their gelato. The one attribute that all the gelatos have in common is the use of little or no overrun, the air that is whipped into traditional American ice creams to give it a lighter texture. As a result, gelato is denser than traditional American ice cream, and this density produces a more heightened flavor for the consumer.

Another attribute of gelato is that it is made fresh at a gelateria and typically held and served at a warmer temperature than American-style ice cream. This further intensifies the flavor. When gelato is purchased for at home consumption, it is hand-packed at a gelateria.

This is where the term gelato has lost some of its oomph in the United States, as some packaged ice cream manufacturers over the years have made a gelato-like product and packaged it for retail distribution. These products still taste great, but appearance wise, it’s not the same. There’s just something about the appearance of fresh gelato that makes it stand out from other ice cream products.

Aromi d’Italia to the rescue! Aromi d’Italia, Glen Burnie, Md., is a distributor of gelato and other Italian products. The company has partnered with Pecan Deluxe Candy Co., Dallas, to bring authentic-looking and tasting gelato to U.S. grocery stores. The companies worked together to modify a traditional gelato mix so that it runs on current ice cream filling equipment. Ice cream manufacturers simply fill containers, preferably clear ones so that consumers can view the delicious contents, and top the gelato with indulgent inclusions.

An extensive array of true-Italian gelato flavor combinations are available including Nocciola di Torino, which is hazelnut gelato topped with butter roasted almonds. Gelato flavors and inclusions have typically centered on nuts, fruits and chocolate. For example, Amore del Lampone is raspberry gelato topped with chocolate flakes and white raspberry almond bark drizzled with raspberry chocolate sauce and Pannacotta del Mandarino is pannacotta (cooked cream) gelato topped with tangerine praline pecan bark.

Other indulgent flavor combinations include Flambe della Banana, which is banana gelato topped with pound cake and cognac candy pieces drizzled with banana flambe sauce. Romantico di Bosco is wildberry gelato topped with mixed berry cobbler bark drizzled with raspberry chocolate sauce. And of course, what would an Italian ice cream line be without a Tiramisu? The tiramisu gelato from Aromi d’Italia and Pecan Deluxe is a tiramisu gelato topped with Marsala-flavored ladyfinger cookies and chocolate flakes drizzled with coffee sauce.

For more information on this gelato program, call 800/733-3589.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Business News Publishing Co.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group