Did you know that Italians consume 4kg of gelato per year?


The food-lovers who come to Tuscookany – Cooking vacations in Tuscany ready to learn the secrets of the Italian cuisine are often surprised by the simplicity of the recipes. As a matter of fact, differently from other traditions, Italian food is about quality before complexity, and pleasure before anything else: this is what makes Italy the home place of all those who truly love sitting at a table and enjoy what life has to offer. There are those who claim Italian recipes are love letters written to nature itself, a big “thank you” for the many gifts and the feelings coming from them. With its intense flavour and its pure natural notes, the Italian gelato is no exception which we teach you to make at Tuscookany.

Tasty origins of Gelato
Truth be told, what we now know as gelato (literally means “frozen” but you can call it ice-cream) has ancient origins and has changed quite a lot through time. It is said, the idea of gelato can be traced back to the Neanderthal men, who used to freeze berries in order to preserve them, taking advantage of the cold climate of continental Europe at that time. However, if you are looking for something similar to the cold cream we all love, you will need to move to Sicily during the Arab domination, in the 9th century. In fact, the Arabs were those responsible for bringing sugar cane to the Italian island, the missing ingredient for the sweet taste of our beloved gelato.

On the Sicilian Apennines there were large glaciers from which the inhabitants took large ice cubes that were sold in spring and summer on the coast, where they were used to make granita flavoured with different fruits, the precursor of today’s ice cream. The delicious recipe moved then to France. It is said this happened because of a man from Florence named Ruggeri, who lived in Paris and invented a mix made of ice, cream, eggnog and fruits: it was an incredible success.

This said, Italy is the place where the gelato ultimately acquired the features that made it what it is today. In fact, it was 1884 when the famous gelateria Pepino was opened in Piedmont. It is still open today and the owner still uses milk, ice, sugar and cream like the founders used to. Then, the final touch: in 1903, Italo Marchioni added the cone to the mix and the ice cream became the faithful sweet companion of the long romantic walks Italians love so much.

Interesting facts about Gelato
Let’s get down to some interesting facts. The flavours exported and used around the world are many, often extremely original and yet far away from the original gelato. Those loved by the Italians are the simple ones: chocolate (22%), hazelnut (20%), strawberry and lemon (12%), soon followed by cream and stracciatella.

In case you had doubts about how much Italians love their gelato, you should know that near Bologna there is a museum completely dedicated to it: the Gelato Museum Carpignani in Anzola Emilia. And if this wasn’t enough to convince you, there is a number that speaks louder than 1000 words: the per capita consumption of this delicious food in Italy touches almost the 4 kg per year. Considering Italians generally eat gelato only in summer, this number is even more impressive.

Another interesting fact you probably didn’t know: when the humidity is high, many Italians eat a big cup of ice cream for dinner. If you are asking yourself: what is the most complete dish, hamburger with fries or salad with gelato? The answer is salad with gelato all the way, hands down. In fact, while delicious and irresistible, the Italian gelato contains proteins, minerals, sugars, lipids and vitamins. In other words, it is quite healthy and complete. Just to be sure, we are talking about the real handmade Italian gelato here, not the pre-made hyper-sugary mixes that get sold as ice cream in supermarkets and malls. A good gelato with fruits can be a quick and fresh meal with a proper caloric intake that is quickly expendable: an ideal meal at work (it’s not heavy) or for active people. All natural and organic, a genuine wonder with a delicious taste: gelato is the flavour of an Italian summer!

Hope to see you in Tuscany this year to enjoy one of the many delicious flavours of Gelato!


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