Gelato: Manna from heaven or a cultural creation?

Where did ‘Gelato’ begin? The short answer is that there really is no answer to such a question! One of the main reasons for this is that, culture to culture, no one can seem to decide what exactly they mean by ‘ice cream!’ The first ice cream-like substance is generally credited as being a Chinese invention dating back as far as 3000 BC (in point of fact it was actually closer to a sorbet than a modern day ice cream). However, from Roman emperors to Solomon himself, people have been mixing ice, cream and fruit in various combinations for centuries.

Gelato Dubai

In Italy, the modern ice cream

What is known though, is that Gelato started to take the form of its modern incarnation after it first arrived in Italy. Legend would have it that Marco Polo brought the earliest versions of ice cream back with him after completing his adventures in Asia. However, what is certain is that around the turn of the 16th century, the precursor to modern day Gelato first came to prominence in Italy. The story goes that Bernardo Buontalenti, a native of Florence, used it to enthral and win over the court of Caterina Dei Medici.

The ingredients of ice cream

Given the sheer number of ice cream-like substance that populate the world and delight the young and old, defining Gelato can seem like an impossible task. However, in terms of production, almost all ice cream shares certain core features: it is primarily made of frozen water and the goal is to keep the frozen crystals as small as possible through the use of various kinds of techniques and ingredients. The main methods include the use of fat, sugar, air and temperature in various combinations to achieve various different kinds of texture, density and fluidity. Artisans may also employ a variety of other ingredients to achieve these results, including the application of starch, alcohol and protein in the form of milk and eggs.

The Artisans are back and making superlative ice cream creations one again

Recent years have seen a meteoric rise in the demand for what is normally termed artisanal natural Gelato. This demand has increased in tandem with the growing market for organic products created from natural ingredients. Artisanal ice creams follow a similar pattern. By focusing on higher quality ingredients and more care and attention during production, artisan ice creams can deliver a superior taste experience than your average store brand plastic tub of Vanilla and Chocolate.

Venchi ice cream

The most traditional flavours

Italian Gelato offers an impressive menu of flavours. Of course you’ll find the old classics such as Crema (also known as Vanilla) and Chocolate/Cioccolato (which normally included normal and extra dark chocolate versions). However other highlights include Stracciatella (with its fine milk base and delicate chocolate shavings), Pistacchio di Bronte (which incorporate the edible seeds of the Pistacchio) and Nocciola del Piemonte (or Hazelnuts from Piedmont) flavour.

Eataly artisanal ice creams

All these flavour can be found in Eataly stores and are created by exclusively by accomplished artisans. We serve only the finest quality Italian Gelato from producers such as Lait, who create the creamiest ice creams imaginable from milk sourced from the mountains found in the Piedmont region, and Venchi, famous for their expertise in chocolate making going back over a century: Eataly offers visitors the chance to enjoy the luxurious experience of finely crafted Italian Gelato and benefit from the passion, detail and exceptional ingredients that go into every single creation.