Gelato Virgin No More
27 hours ago I was a gelato virgin. I had heard of it; my impression was that gelato was a term given to ice cream so they could charge an arm and a leg for it. I didn’t even know if there was milk in it, and I didn’t care to find out. For me, gelato ranked right up there with Manolo Blahnik shoes – nice to look at, but I would never spend the money …
My gelato world was turned upside down yesterday. I walked into an adorably quaint coffee shop (see picture to right) slash bike shop in my hometown of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Everything was warm and inviting for both my four year old son and myself. There were books and periodicals to peruse, bikes of every size and color to look at, a few different games to play (including chess), and then my eyes were drawn to the cooler. I think I was drawn in that direction because of the large furry man standing behind it. With his jovial smile and twinkling eyes, he quickly reminded me of so many others – my fifth grade teacher, my mother’s neighbor, santa clause, and even my cherished teddy from childhood. We said good morning and exchanged pleasantries as I walked over to the counter, the smiling man, and the cooler … I felt like I had returned home to the kitchen of a cherished friend. This man was a mere stranger, and yet I wanted to hug him. I was trying hard to stay in the moment and the cooler provided me just the diversion I was after.
I peered through the glass like I had done many times as a child in ice cream parlors. There before me was a plethora of gelato flavors. Vanilla and pistachio caught my attention first. My inner child was screaming “looks like icecream – let’s have some for breakfast” and in the back of my mind I heard my mother inquire “don’t they have fruit here?” Being a very decisive sort of girl, I looked at my new teddy bear friend and said “I’ll have the pistachio gelato please. After all, life is uncertain and I could die before lunch!” My new friend laughed which encouraged me to also announce the following “I am a gelato virgin too – and here I am having it for breakfast!” I’m not quite sure what he thought of me, but the twinkle in his eyes led me to believe he wasn’t uncomfortable. My son is quite accustomed to my ways, and we settled in to enjoy your breakfast of pastries, gelato, and coffee.
I used the odd little spoon to take my first bite and I was in love with the creamy smooth deliciousness in my mouth. The flavor was so intense I couldn’t believe my great fortune. I was torn between exclaiming loudly “this is amazing!” or keeping it to myself to avoid having to share. The yumminess was so intense I couldn’t keep it in. I proclaimed my gelato praises and soon ended up sharing with my son who obviously felt the same. He requested “can we come here every day for breakfast mom?”. I had to listen to my inner adult for the answer to this one and promised him we would return later in the week.
This morning, I enjoyed my second ever cup of gelato. This morning’s flavor was vanilla. I was as impressed with the vanilla as I had been with the pistachio. When I was finished, I couldn’t help but wonder what made the gelato so much more amazing than ice cream … so I did a little research to learn the following:
· *Gelato has 25-30% air instead of the 50% that you might find in ice cream
· *Gelato has 5-7% fat instead of the 10% fat you might find in ice cream (the difference being ice cream uses more cream and less whole milk, gelato uses more whole milk and less cream)
· * Gelato is not completely frozen and is served at a warmer temperature than ice cream
· *Gelato doesn’t coat your mouth like ice cream so the flavor is more intense
· *Gelato is lower in fat and calories than milk
· *Gelato is high in vitamins and is a great source of calcium
· * Gelato was first enjoyed in 3000BC in Asian Cultures and then enjoyed by Egyptian Pharaohs – then finally the Italians
· *Gelato was brought to America (specifically New York City) in 1770 by Giovanni Basiolo
· * Gelato ingredients include: Milk, Water, Sugar, Non Fat Milk Solids, Stabilizers, Flavor, Fruit, and Air.
If you haven’t tried gelato before, try some! If you want to learn more about gelato, check out: http://www.whygelato.com (I searched many sites and found this one to be most helpful). May shops will offer free samples, so don’t limit yourself to just one flavor – TRY THEM ALL – START A GELATO REVOLUTION IN YOUR WORLD!
May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and new experiences! (particularly yummy experiences)
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