What differentiates really excellent Artisan Gelato from something else
Today I would like to say something in defense of true Artisan Gelato.
There has been a big dispute in Italy because real Gelato makers and Chefs are arguing the fact that most of the Gelati Shops in Italy and around the world (more than 90%) use ‘semi-finished’ ingredients, pre-mixes and artificial or industrial flavors, so it wouldn’t be fair to call them “Artisan”.
The Compagnia Gelatieri (http://www.compagniagelatieri.it/) was born in 2015 from renowned Gelato Chefs such as Alberto Marchetti, Paolo Brunelli and Andrea Soban in order to define and distinguish ‘good, clean and fair‘ Gelato. I had the pleasure to meet these great Artisans along with other First Class Gelato Makers such as Gianfrancesco Cutelli (Italy’s best Gelato shop in 2015), Luigi Tirabassi (Gelato World Champion 2016) at Gelato Artigianale Festival in Agugliano in 2015 when me and my business partner Matteo were invited to partecipate because we make Gelato at La Macelleria following the same principles of ‘good, clean and fair’. http://www.gelatoartigianalefestival.it/
So what define a ‘real’ Artisan Gelato? I believe that using ‘pre-mixed’ bases and additives that determine the strutcure of Gelato eliminating the art and the skills of the Gelato Maker, does not make real Artisan Gelato. ‘Real’ Gelato should be produced following a controlled supply chain and guarantee of all individual ingredients used, selected one by one from the Gelato Maker/Gelato Chef according to the principle of ‘good, genuine, clean and fair’. I’m proud to be part of this minority of Gelato Chefs that follow this principles.
Artisan Gelato is where the skills and professionalism of the Gelato Maker matters. Where his/her Passion matters. It can’t be limited to use semi-finished ingredients completed and manufactured by others.
We also need to distinguish between semi-finished ingredients that define structure and ‘long life’ of Gelato and those that gives the distinctive taste. The first ones are just tricks to make life easier. Among the second ones I place all the products from culinary tradition such as nougat, candied fruits, nuts pastes, etc. These products are often made by equally skilled Artisan, which, if they also meet principles of ‘good, clean and fair’ they can be used in Gelato. In our shop La Macelleria we even produce ourselves all the nuts pastes (hazelnut, pistachio, almond), roasting the raw ingredient before grind it.
So remember, there’s excellent Artisan Gelato and there’s Gelato. Which one you like?
In my next article I will give you guidelines for the degustation of Gelato.
Now I have to go, I’ve been asked from a customer in Indonesia to develop 50 (fifty!!) recipes with local ingredients!
I like challenge…wish me luck…