Authentic Italian–Style Gelato
Dr. Nestor Alonso ll (The Freeman) - October 12, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines — There are a number of frozen desserts that people enjoy – ice cream, gelato, sorbet, sherbet… Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate one from the other. Filipinos have been enjoying ice cream since 1846, the year the Philippines imported ice from the USA! (Frederic Tudor exported ice from Boston, New England to Singapore, the Philippines, China and South America.)

Ice cream is a frozen product made from cream, milk, flavorings and sweeteners. It can be divided into categories, according to butterfat content: Premium (11-15 percent) and Regular (10-11 percent). During the churning process, air is whipped in, making the ice cream light and fluffy, with about 50 percent air.

Gelato (meaning frozen) has more milk than cream so that it contains between 3.5-7 percent butterfat, to prevent too much fat from covering the true taste since fat acts as a barrier between taste buds and the flavor. It’s churned at a slower speed than ice cream, which makes it denser, with only 25 to 30 percent air. Gelato is served at a higher temperature (-14 degrees) compared to ice cream which is usually served frozen (-20 degrees), at which temperature the taste is flat because it numbs the taste buds.

Sorbet, a frozen dessert is made from fruit purée with flavorings like wine, liqueur and sometimes even herbs and spices. Sorbet contains no milk. It is designed to be a palate cleanser to remove lingering flavors between dishes. Sherbet is like Sorbet but milk is added to make it creamy (less 2 percent butterfat). Egg white and gelatin is usually added, as well.

La Vie, the French baker and wine library launched its newest venture, “La Vie French Artisan Gelato” under the direct supervision of Italian gelato master, Chef Manuel Minelli, whose family hails from Toscania, Florence, Italy, where they produce gelato for the last 200 years. General manager Louis Thevenin guarantees that La Vie Gelatifrenchissimo offers authentic gelato and certain gelato recipes even use local ingredients like mango, jackfruit, coconut and guyabano. Businessman Michel Lhuillier says that La Vie’s gelato is ready to compete globally since they have the supplies, the technology and the expertise of an Italian gelato chef.

Three gelato flavors are offered: Fruits (Banana, Blueberry, Calamansi, Cantaloupe, Coconut, Durian, Forrest Berries, Green Apple, Guyabano, Jackfruit, Kiwi, Lemon, Mango, Pineapple, and Strawberry); Exotic (New York Cheese Cake, Balut Ice Cream and Chili Crab); Chocolate & Nuts (Tiramisu, Ferrero Rocher, Cookies and Cream, Salted Caramel and Pistachio).

My brain is hard-wired on eating gelato as a dessert and not as an appetizer or main entry. Years ago, I was assigned to hand-crank our ice cream maker and the outcome – based on definitions of various frozen desserts – was neither ice cream nor gelato since no cream was added, only fresh cow’s milk. But our trick for a better-tasting ice cream was aging it. The ice cream left untouched in the freezer for a month tasted much better than the freshly made one. (FREEMAN)

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