July is National Ice Cream Month; it therefore seems fitting and right to laud our frosty delight. American ice cream challenges us with the different forms it takes: Italian ice, soft serve, frozen yogurt [“fro yo”], custard, sorbet, and ice cream itself [made with butter fat] leap to mind. One may even indulge in these ice cream variants in sugar-free or fat-free forms. Various companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, Haagen-Dazs, Blue Bell; Ritter’s; Cold Stone, Bonnie Doone [our own local creamery] to name a few, tease us with their frozen treats. No matter the ice cream eater’s preference, there is a sweet frozen delight waiting to please.
The crème de la crème is: [drum roll, please]: Gelati [plural]. Italy’s version of ice cream has a more potent flavor than does U.S. ice cream. Unlike U.S. ice cream, gelato [singular] has little or no air added to it, which accounts for gelati’s density and for its creamy taste [caffegelato.net/whats-gelato]. Furthermore, gelato contains less butterfat than ice cream, even though gelati has a higher proportion of whole milk [cookingequipment.about.com/od/icecreammachines/f/gelatovicecream.htm]. Gelato is semi-frozen, thereby heightening its creamy texture and flavor. My signature gelati are pistachio with real nuts; fragola [with actual strawberries; and stracciatella [with rich vanilla and chocolate shavings].
Gelaterie, the Italian version of ice cream parlors, proliferate in Italy. In the heat of an Italian summer, gelato gets me through sultry Italian days. When I saw the proliferation of gelati at Bellagio’s Café Bellagio, I had to partake of a large scoop of pistachio. At Caesar’s Palace, the gelati again seduced me.
In the end, whatever tickles one’s ice cream fancy will appease the palate. As for me, tonight I will be dreaming of a tantalizing scoop of gelato fragola eaten under a starry sky.
Ciao for now.