We had the most amazing ice cream in Italy, this in itself is not surprising, the Italians are famous for their icecream of course. What bowled me over was not the claim “only natural goodness no flavourings, additives, colourings in our icecream” – which of course being Italian they didn’t actually make, instead they wrote- we put fresh local fruit, cream and sugar in our ices – nothing more nothing less.
But what I read wasn’t what made me close my eyes in rapture, no it was the taste and the textures and the clear report to my brain, that yes there is nothing else in here but fresh ingredients. I had the peach and a prickly pear “semifreddo” – in the peach there were pureed peach pieces, not processed, not cooked before, not out of a tin, but what you would get if you put fresh peaches in a food processor at home, tiny flecks of fresh fruit, mixed in with fresh cream and milk and only slightly sweetened. No colour to speak of, just a light cream coloured gelato and specks of pink and yellow from the peach, a dream. No marketing claim necessary, you just need to have one taste and you will be back. The prickly pear ice cream was also a revelation, smooth, dusky hibiscus-orange-coloured gelato, with the unmistakable taste of prickly pear, a very delicate flavour, made from, I suspect, pureeing the flesh and the seeds of prickly pears and then straining the seeds out, lovely.
And as sensual delight starts way before you start eating, the presentation of the gelato needs to be mentioned. Large containers, filled high with swirls of ice-cream – piled up in soft mounds, each decorated with fresh fruit: a granny smith apple, rakishly perched on the apple gelato, two prickly pears bedded in a soft pillow of prickly pear ice-cream, and banana slices scattered willy-nilly across the banana. The display magical, artistic and understated. A still life in gelato, made as much to be looked at, as to be eaten. And I realised that the Italian’s love of elegance extends to food presentation. Whereas many other nationalities subscribe to the more is better approach and embrace garish colours and overloaded buffet tables, or the more utilitarian military presentation style (I remember a dinner I had in Stockholm), the Italians present their culinary delights with understatement, love even, and without even the slightest hint of vulgarity. Buffet tables have a little of everything on them and a discrete but attentive waiter in the background ready to fulfill your every desire. No sticky honey spoons, large jam containers, Nutella smears or muffin crumbs on table cloths for the Italians!
Sadly I wasn’t allowed to photograph the display, so I cannot share it with you, but you can have a look on the cremAmore website.