GASTRONOMIC GELATO: WILL THE TREND SURVIVE THE SUMMER?21/07/2023
Italian ice cream, commonly known as gelato, is one of the staple foods in summertime. With fewer calories, less sugar and lower fat content per serving than standard, commercial ice cream, Italian gelato is tasty and filling enough to be the perfect substitute for a lunch on-the-go during a hot and hectic summer day.
7,5 million occurrences of the hashtag #gelato, on the main social media platforms, confirm that the popularity of this Italian excellence is on the raise all over the world. Predictable – one may say – when you combine Italian expertise, top-quality ingredients and a product that satisfies many different tastes and needs.
Yet recently fans of this fresh preparation seemed not be totally satisfied with consuming an excellent product, prepared according to tradition and using the best ingredients available. Since today more than ever consumers are looking for novelty and innovation, the whole gelato experience had to be brought to a brand-new level.
If mixologists are now combining gelato with cocktails – in the pursuit of an iconic multisensory experience that can balance taste, sweetness, creaminess and texture – the most popular chefs have developed an innovative, gourmet variant of traditional gelato: gastronomic gelato. Prepared with high quality ingredients and advanced production techniques, this offers unique flavors and combinations that are conquering gourmands from all over the world.
By activating interesting and productive collaborations with master gelato makers, the greatest chefs have started to give life to unusual and highly creative combinations: Parmesan and balsamic vinegar, bacon and lavender, corn with caramel sauce, tomato and basil…possibilities seem to be endless when gelato becomes savory. Its preparation is not an issue when the right people and ingredients are involved: what is difficult is to experiment its perfect gastronomic combination. To do this, it is necessary to book a dinner in one of those restaurants which still believe in the artisanal dimension of gelato and therefore produce gastronomic ice cream served as an accompaniment to the main course.
Although the invention of gourmet ice cream dates back to the 1970s – when Enzo Vannozzi, a popular gelato maker from Viareggio, made the first zucchini gelato – now the time seems to be right to get it out of ice cream parlors and serve it on our tables, as the fine line between sweet and savory has become thinner than ever. Time will tell if this is a passing trend or a radical revolution in our eating habits. For sure, if we wish to approach this new gastronomic universe and enjoy it as much as we can, we must free ourselves from all sorts of taboos and preconceptions.