Venice is beautiful and spectacular like no other city on earth, and when I was there for 2.5 days I was determined to eat as much gelato as possible. I was pleasantly surprised to find gelatarias everywhere… these are almost as commonplace as coffee shops.
Let’s see. I took notes of all the flavors sampled:
NIGHT OF ARRIVAL From a gelataria on Lista di Spagna: Hazelnut, Cherry, Chocolate-Orange.
DAY 1 From Mela Verde (see photo above - gelato in front of gondola): Pistachio, Melon, Cherry-Vanilla-Almonds. From Il Doge:Raspberry, Caramel
DAY 2 From Venchi: Stacciatella, Chestnut, Dulce de Leche (which was unbelievable) From gelataria on lista di Spagna: Tiramisu
DAY 3 Gelataria at Venice Airport: Lemon
If only we had more days in Venice. So many flavors to taste, so little time!
So you might wonder what is the difference between the gelato in Italy and the gelato in Los Angeles? According to Serious Eats, "gelato" is different from regular ice cream in that it has a more of a dense, soft yet elastic texture. It contains more milk than cream/fat, and the higher density is a result of slower churning. The gelato I experienced in Venice was even softer and denser that what I expected. Deliciously creamy with an incredibly lush buttery mouthfeel. It was SO GOOD.
Another one from FrozBroz’s list of creative flavors. I wrote to Ben and Erik of FrozBroz and asked them if they could send me one of their recipes to make and illustrate and was thrilled to receive their Sumac Ice Cream with Carrot Apricot Jam . So unique! I had Googled, and there are no sumac ice cream recipes anywhere else.
Erik informed me that FrozBroz’s ice cream base recipe is a “trade secret” so they couldn’t share this. Totally understandable, and I was happy to stick with the base recipe that I usually use.
My illustration above is an adaptation of the recipe I received from FrozBroz. I had no idea what sumac ice cream was supposed to taste like, but I did some experimenting and tweaking (as I do)…
In the first batch that I made, the sumac flavor was very subtle especially when paired with the super sweet carrot-apricot jam. In my 2nd batch, I infused the sumac for 1 hour before straining it out. Interestingly, the warm sumac-infused cream tasted to me almost like malted milk….
Third time lucky: I increased the amount of sumac from 2 tsp to 5 tsp and did a cold infusion overnight. The addition of lemon juice helped enhance more of the aromatic, sour, tamarind-like flavor of the sumac. Yay! It turned out great. A really interesting and delicious ice cream.
I attended a very cool workshop on the weekend: Sparkling Summer Beverages with Emily Ho. It was so much fun. We were a class of about 15 people and in just over 2 hours, we each learned to make and went home with:
2. A Ginger Ale fermented with Champagne Yeast, and
3. A Shrub Syrup with our choice of fruit, herbs and spices. Mine was made with peach, plum, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and black peppercorns.
I picked up some useful tips like storing peeled ginger in the freezer to make it much easier to grate. I am now inspired to make more syrups that I can use in homemade sodas and as ice cream flavorings.
Recently I had the pleasure of doing some illustrations for Hannah Kaminsky, amazing vegan chef and cookbook author. You may remember the Chocolate Hazelnut and Tropical Plum ice cream recipes on this blog… both were inspired by Hannah.
I highly recommend Vegan A La Mode and Vegan Desserts for creative flavor ideas and inspiration even if you are not vegan. I am not vegan but I try not to consume too much dairy. Below are two illustrations of recipes from Hannah Kaminsky’s new book - Easy As Vegan Pie:
Meanwhile, here’s a new Cooking Conversions fridge magnet starring Boogie my blue-eyed boston terrier. It is an updated version of this earlier magnet that I made for myself but if anyone is interested I would be glad to take pre-orders and get extra copies printed. Stay tuned to the facebook page! :)
Last but not least, I am registered for the next LA Food Swap - August 18th 5-7pm, Spice Station, Silverlake. Looking forward to it! :)
Day 2: I cooked up a Chocolate ice cream and a Vanilla-Lemon ice cream. Let these chill in the fridge overnight.
Day 3: Churned the ice creams. I made “divider cards” for the containers by cutting up postcards to size, and wrapping these in parchment paper.
I filled half the containers with Choc ice cream and cookie pieces, and let these sit in the freezer for a few hours, on their sides, to prevent the soft chocolate ice cream from seeping under the cardboard onto the other side.
When the chocolate ice cream had firmed up a bit, I churned the Vanilla-Lemon ice cream (I have a NewAir compressor machine so I can make more than one batch per day) I then removed the cards, and filled the other half of the containers.
Black and White ice cream! With black and white cookies!
I am very lucky that I live within walking distance of RAMEKIN (Los Angeles) so last night my friends and I were the first customers in line to taste Matthew Biancaniello's trio of exotic boozy savory ice creams.
*Laphroaig with chocolate covered blanched garlic, topped with Matthew’s signature Never Let Me Go (Cynar cassis and blood orange), toasted saffron, and blood orange slices… and peppers
The tequila squid ink was our favorite … also the favorite of the guy sitting at the next table, and MB himself. It was the least salty of the three and had the most amazing combination of flavors. The saffron laphroaig was nice and had a touch of spice and citrus; and the parmesan flavor was much more subtle than expected. Neither of us liked the dehydrated olives… which was the saltiest element in the ice cream trio, and the rum-marinated surinam cherries were like, wow. They taste like spicy tomatoes! The whole experience was pretty exotic and cool.