Benvenuta la primavera! Welcome springtime! Which means in Verona all of the authentically Italian gelato stalls/shops throw open the shutters, open their doors, and those quintessential tables and chairs are back outside! I have always wondered where all of these gelatieri (artisans of gelato) go during the winter?
The art of traditional gelato making has been handed down from father to son. Gelato has been around since the 16th century! Its origin is said to be Florence, where Bernardo Buontalenti delighted the court of Caterina Dei Medici with his creation. It was first brought to the rest of Europe by a Sicilian, Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli, who was the first to sell it to the public.
Lake Garda is a summer holiday destination so a new gelato stop is around every corner! Although for me, even on a crisp autumn day, the lake is magical and you can easily pass an afternoon wandering around the semi-abandoned villages that are dotted along the shoreline. Time feels as though it has stood still compared to the hustle and bustle of the summer season.
Gelato directly translates as “frozen” in Italian.
Gelato, ice-cream, sorbet, no matter what your vice is, the first one of the season makes all of those delectably sweet childhood summer memories return. Everybody regresses to enjoying the simplicities of life with a gelato in their hand, even if it is only for as long that cone with two scoops lasts.
Although nowadays you can probably find gelato anywhere, have you ever actually tried to make it at home? Now, although the artisans will probably chastise me for saying that this recipe can even be considered gelato, I have felt that the same dense lushness hints at it’s superior. This is a much easier, although still, slow-living approved, no-churn gelato recipe. Just like at the gelato stall, the sky is the limit when it comes to flavours. I have included two of my favourites, although the base-recipe is scrumptious enough on its own and could be considered a fior-di-latte if comparing it to a more traditional gelato flavour.
So, take an evening, or a morning, or an afternoon, and embrace these lengthening springtime days that will inevitably turn into summer!
- 500 mL of whipping cream (or double cream)
- 250 mL of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 vanilla bean (if you don’t have one you can use 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
To make the base, pour the whipping cream into a large (preferably chilled) bowl and whisk (out of ease use an electric whisk) until light and fluffy, not stiff peaks.
Add the condensed milk, and whisk to combine.
Halve, and scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean, adding them to the mixture. Fold in.
At this point, you can add whatever toppings you like (above are two alternatives to start you off). If you are adding a dense cream (like mascarpone) I do suggest to whisk it in to combine. Everything else, fold into the mixture (don’t worry too much about being gentle because gelato is traditionally denser and less airy than ice cream).
Add your mixture to a freezer friendly container, and pop in the freezer for about 6 hours. You can leave it there for up to 3 months (although, I highly doubt it will last that long if your home is like mine)!
For the best serving consistency, take out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes before you want to serve so that it gets nice and soft and lush.
Base recipe plus:
- 60 mL of cooled espresso
- 20-25g of roughly chopped savoiardi biscuits (also known as lady’s fingers)
- Cocoa powder for dusting when serving
Merry Berry Pannacotta Gelato
Base recipe plus:
- 60 g of mascarpone (cream cheese can be used as a substitute if you cannot find it)
- 75g of berries (if using frozen, let thaw)
- 1 tbsp of lemon zest
What is your favourite flavour of gelato?
Written by Lucy Bidgood-Lund