If there is one Italian thing, unquestionably Italian, that has conquered the world it is ice cream. Already known by the ancient Romans who prepared a sort of sorbet by freezing water and fruit juices in a bowl immersed in a larger container filled with ice, this product became a distinctive product of Made in Italy and of the Mediterranean diet.
Typical of the territory from the Dolomites to Sicily, across the entire peninsula, the history of artisanal ice cream since its origin is linked to our country, especially to the culinary creativity of the Italians, who have spread the tradition in Europe and in the rest of the world. The real triumph of the cold dessert takes place in the sixteenth century, at the Medici court of Florence. In fact, during the Renaissance, sorbets have a place of honor at parties and banquets.
In 1559 then, Bernardo Buontalenti presented ‘his cream’, a creation based on zabaglione and fruit, giving rise to the famous Buontalenti ice cream, which can still be enjoyed today in the best ice cream parlours. But the real turning point in the history of artisanal ice cream, that is its marketing, is due to Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli. He perfected the production of ice cream by adding two elements: cane sugar to sweeten it and salt to the ice.
The traditional flavours, healthy and genuine ingredients, and craftsmanship make Italian ice cream a symbol of goodness for fans from all over the world. Today, there are almost 30 thousand artisan ice cream parlours scattered throughout the national territory; a market worth about 2.5 billion euros per year. Its spread is due also to initiatives such as that of Carpigiani, the historic brand in the province of Bologna, which has opened the university of ice cream, the Carpigiano Gelato University, and the Gelato Museum.
Savoring an ice cream, in a cone or cup, walking through the streets of Venice, Turin, Rome, Naples, and Palermo, is one of those essential pleasures that contribute to getting to know the beauties of Italy also through its particular tastes. From the typical Piedmontese gianduia to the Bronte pistachio, from north to south, ice cream represents, in fact, the typical character of the areas in which it is produced. In addition to being refreshing, tasty, and satisfying for the palate, ice cream is a balanced food that provides the right proportion of proteins, fats, sugars, and, in the case of fruit sorbets, vitamins. Furthermore, in the search for raw materials, there are tastes specially studied, as the combination of some flavours is capable of stimulating particular areas of pleasure. Today, it is curious to note the opening to new flavors and particular tastes such as basil, parsley, and vegetables which resulted bring benefits from a psychological and emotional point of view.
The ice cream represents a typical Italian ritual, capable of transmitting well-being and tranquility, a dessert that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Eating ice cream is not just tasting a good product, it is a moment dedicated to oneself.
— Cecilia Berardi