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Ice Cream Making 101

6 Mar

“I doubt whether the world holds for any one a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream.” ~ Heywood Broun

A bevvy of beautiful ice cream makers

I was asked to write a post about making ice cream for Cook Kosher , a fantastic site dedicated to kosher cooking. Founded by brother and sister team, Leah Schapira and Zalman Roth, the duo shares terrific recipes, food news, tips and tricks. Below is an excerpt from my piece on ice cream making 101. To read the full article click here 

I still remember my first time like it was yesterday. It was a warm April day. The sun was shining. I got home from work early, giddy with excitement and eager anticipation. I have to admit though, I was nervous. What if The Husband found me? I was afraid of getting in trouble, of divulging my deepest secret. After all, I snuck this little toy into my apartment, and if he found me, oooh if he found me, what would I ever do?

And then it hit me. Who cares if someone finds out! I am so in love that I feel like shouting from the rooftop of my NYC apartment for the entire world to hear!

And that’s what I did.

Listen up everyone. I MADE ICE CREAM FOR THE FIRST TIME!

There, I said it. I feel so much better now!

That was 11 months ago, and the rest is history.

I set out to write 365scoops with the intention of making a few flavors of ice cream a week, blogging about the experience, and sharing with you, my loyal readers, the recipes and how-to’s so that you could create the very same flavors at home. Along the way, I tasted every type of ice cream and gelato I could find, for…errrr…inspiration…and market research! Now I’ve become a self-proclaimed ice-cream-o-holic. I cannot live without ice cream. In fact, 365scoops has grown so much, that we cater parties, sell ice cream, and even do tastings and demonstrations (shameless plug: visit 365scoops.com to find out how to score a quart of ice cream for your freezer!)

To read the full article and get some delicious ice cream recipes, visit Cook Kosher here! 

Happy ice cream making!


Amorino Gelato, Waffles, Candies and More

23 Feb

“Vivi con passione ~ Ridi di cuore ~ Ama profondamente”

Translation: Live with passion ~ laugh out loud ~ love deeply

Personally I think the next line in that proverb should say “ E Mangia Gelato Amorino” translated as “And eat Amorino Gelato”.  But then again no one asked me…

My waffle with chocolate hazelnut spread, coffee gelato and yogurt. Sheer bliss.

Loyal readers, you may remember that this summer I reviewed the one and only Amorino Gelato in NYC and regaled you with stories about their famous Amorino gelato flower and outstanding flavors, including Speculos, Alphonso Mango, Stracciatella, and my personal favorite, L’Inimitabile (which literally means “it can’t compare”) the classic chocolate hazelnut. It’s outrageous and simply perfect. And this means a lot from a fellow ice cream maker and lover!

The perfect Amorino Gelato Flower with Straciatella and Speculos

Anyhow, I got an email last week from my pal Filippo, the CEO of Amorino who told me that they have a new line of waffles with gelato, candies and chocolates and that I should come quick to sample. I saw his email and the next thing I knew, I was at his store with a couple of gal pals for a fun afternoon treat. I was expecting heaven…and heaven I got!

Try one of these waffles...you will not regret it!

If you’re like me and love a good waffle-a-la-mode then Amorino is the place to get it! These perfectly crisp yet not overly sweet waffles are imported from Belgium and individually toasted to perfection. Served either with sugar, ($3.25), hazelnut chocolate/dark chocolate or raspberry/apricot jam ($5.25) or 2 scoops of gelato ($7.50), these waffles are ideal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Guess what I got? If you guessed a waffle with hazelnut chocolate and 2 scoops of gelato you’re absolutely right. Down to the very last bite, this waffle was perfectly crisp, and the ideal combination of hot and cold. What a treat.

But, the pièce de résistance is their new line of flower, seed, herb and fruit candies the recipe for which is unchanged since 1780! These candies are, without a doubt, a truly stunning centerpiece, and more importantly uniquely flavored and delicious. Designed and produced by Italy’s foremost candy company, they are created and sold exclusively at Amorino.

The beautiful fruit, seed, flower and herb candies

Presented in magnificent black boxes, these divine sweets are available in boxes of 2, 6, 12 or 24 flavors. Flavors include Orange tree flower, Mint leaves, Raspberry, Strawberry, Pink Lilac, Anise seeds, Mimosa flowers, Cumin seeds, Coriander seeds, Rose petals and Lavender seeds. I highly suggest that you purchase some as gifts – in fact, if you want to buy me one I will not object! The best part is that when you run out of a flavor, you can purchase refills directly from the store.

A closer look at the candies and chocolates available at Amorino

Right before leaving, Filippo insisted (and naturally we obliged) on sharing Amorino’s Cioccolata Calda,  aka hot chocolate. We each had a “shot” of orange-cinnamon hot chocolate, a thick and creamy drink, and headed on our merry ways. What a perfect end to a lovely day filled with great gelato, waffles, chocolate, candies and more. Here’s to great friends, great gelato, and warm memories together!

Buon Appetito!

Amorino Gelato is located at 60 University Place (on the corner of E 10th Street). Run, don’t walk to Amorino today!

Jelly Doughnut Ice Cream

15 Dec

“Put on your yalmulka, here comes Hanukkah 
Its so much fun-akkah to celebrate Hanukkah, 

Hanukkah is the festival of lights, 
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights. ” ~ Adam Sandler

Jelly Doughnut Ice Cream

Let me be clear about one thing before I go any further. I almost feel like this is confessional: I have never fried anything, and so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. This is coming from a girl who, though she loves herself a good dessert, was never, ever allowed to eat anything fried. In fact, the only way we were ever able to convince my mom to let us eat a doughnut was to tell her that it was a cinnamon bun (nevermind that it was deep fried and glazed!). Talk about pulling a fast one on her. Scarfing down those “cinnamon buns” was a blast. It felt so good. So rebellious. So child-like.

Enter the sufganiya. Many of my ice cream recipes pay homage to my childhood days, but this one, ah this golden, cinnamon sugar coated bundle of goodness, reminds me so much of Chanukkah that I get giddy like a little school girl just thinking about it. Maybe if I tap my heels together three times some presents will show up at my door! Wishful thinking.

Back to these sufganiyot. The Hebrew word for sufganiya derived from the word for sponge (sfog), is supposed to describe the texture of a sufganiya which is somewhat similar to a sponge. I like to tell myself that because the texture is like a sponge (which I think is airy, not fried and fatty!) a sufganiya is completely healthy. And when injected with raspberry preserves, even healthier!

Look what I made -- the jelly doughnut itself!

During Chanukkah in Israel, one famous bakery alone purportedly makes 250,000 sufganiyot. I made 20 and it took me a half day. To make 250,000 I’d have to make 12,500 batches, which would take me 6,250 days or 17 years. No thanks!

This time of year, when all I do is eat sweets, I try to refrain from thinking about how unhealthy it is and instead think about the significance of these doughnuts. On Chanukkah we eat these golden delicious sufganiyot because they are fried in oil, which helps to remind us of one of the miracles of Chanukkah. When the Maccabees were fighting the Greeks, they only found enough oil to light the Temple Menorah for one night. But, in a twist of fate, the oil lasted for eight nights, the exact length of Chanukkah.  In fact, the name “Chanukkah” derives from the Hebrew verb meaning “to dedicate”. On Chanukkah, the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Temple.

So, to toast that small miracle, let’s chow down on some delicious Sufganiyot Ice Cream. Enjoy!

Sufganiyot Ice Cream

Idea created by 365scoops

Doughnuts adapted from Martha Stewart and Vanilla Ice Cream adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

 

Make a well in the flour and add in the wet ingredients

For the Sufganiyot

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rolling
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups vegetable oil, plus more for bowl
1 cup seedless raspberry jam

Additional cinnamon and sugar for dusting

 

 

Rolling out the doughnut dough

For the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk

2 cups half-and-half

3/4 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1 tbs vanilla bean paste

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

 

Cutting the doughnut rounds

For the Raspberry Sauce

1- 12oz bag of frozen raspberries

1 tbs raspberry vodka

3 tbs sugar

Method

For this recipe, patience is a must! This is a multi-step process but trust me, it’s worth it. (Note: this recipe can be made over 2 days if you don’t have an entire Sunday afternoon as I did!)

First, make the vanilla ice cream base. In a small saucepan heat together the milk, 1 cup half-and-half, sugar and the vanilla bean paste until small bubbles form around the edges.

Frying up the first batch (before flipping)

While the mixture is warming, whisk together three egg yolks. Pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks very slowly, stirring between each pour. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure you get all the vanilla bean paste, and pour back into the saucepan. Heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula or a wooden spoon.

Golden brown doughnuts, immediately before removing from the hot oil

Once ready, pour over a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl (it’s important to strain this ice cream because inevitably small little curdles will form from heating the egg and milk, and trust me, you don’t want those in your ice cream!). Once strained, slowly stir in the remaining cup of half-and-half and the vanilla extract.

Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Just after being rolled in cinnamon sugar and filled with raspberry jam, these doughnuts are ready to be chopped and swirled into ice cream

Next, it’s time to make the sufganiyot! This, my friends, is a labor of love. In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a sticky dough forms. On a well-floured work surface, knead until dough is smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger, about 8 minutes (add more flour if necessary). Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

While the ice cream mixture is cooling, and the sufganiyot are rising, make the raspberry sauce. Pour the bag of frozen raspberries into a small saucepan, and mix until heated.

Making the raspberry sauce

The raspberries will turn to mush (which is what you want). Stir in the sugar and vodka and let the mixture heat for 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the seeds, and keep the smooth raspberry sauce. Set aside.

Next, it’s time to form and fry the donuts. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch-round cutter or drinking glass , cut 20 rounds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise 15 minutes.

Adding vanilla to the ice cream base

In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil. Fry until golden, about 10-20 seconds on each side. Turn doughnuts over; fry until golden on other side, another 10-20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Roll in cinnamon sugar while warm. Fry all dough, and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Chopped up doughnuts right before they go into the ice cream maker!

This part of the process takes a little getting used to. Inevitably your first few doughnuts will burn. Don’t stress, you will have plenty more. I noticed that by the time I put 3-4 doughnuts into the hot oil, it was time to flip them, and once they were flipped, it was time to remove them! Hard to keep up with it! If the doughnuts look burnt, chances are, they’re totally fine, just slightly darker than you may have wanted. Don’t worry, they still taste delicious! Also, it’s very important to douse the doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar immediately after frying, otherwise it won’t stick.

The layered ice cream, right out of the ice cream maker

Once you’re done frying all the doughnuts you’ll want to fill them with jam. Since I didn’t have a pastry bag or a #4 tip I used a ziploc bag with a tiny whole cut out. I wouldn’t recommend this, so if you can, head over to Michael’s Craft Shop or a baking store and buy a pastry bag and a #4 tip. It’s much easier!

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #4 tip with jam. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Fit the pastry tip into a hole, pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

Almost done…

Take a bite of that!

Now it’s time for the great assembly! Pour the ice cream mixture into the base of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While churning, chop up 6 doughnuts into small pieces. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is done churning add the sufganiyot pieces and let it mix thoroughly.

Drizzle a few tablespoons of raspberry sauce on the bottom of a freezer safe container. Add a few scoops of ice cream. Cover with more raspberry sauce and repeat process until you’ve layered the ice cream and raspberry sauce. Drizzle a bit more raspberry sauce on top and cover. Transfer to the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. You will have leftover raspberry sauce, which I advise saving for garnish!

Jelly doughnut ice cream, with a side of jelly doughnut. Yum.

When you’re ready to eat, scoop 1-2 heaps of ice cream into a bowl (you’ll notice there is a beautiful raspberry marble!) and drizzle with raspberry sauce on top. Enjoy!

The Verdict: Taim me’od! (very tasty!) This is a perfect treat for the holiday season. In fact, so tasty that I recommend sharing it with friends (like I did) or else you may gobble the whole thing up! Enjoy this fun take on an old classic and Happy Chanukkah!

 


Strawberry Ice Cream

23 Oct

“Let me take you down

‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields

Nothing is real

And nothing to get hung about

Strawberry Fields Forever” ~ The Beatles

Strawberries and sugar...what could be bad about that?

It’s been two months since I had my last eggless ice cream.

That sounds like some sort of AA confession.

Truth be told, it is.

When I first started 365scoops I was making loads of ice cream but was petrified of using eggs. What if I gave someone salmonella? What if I overcooked the eggs and made chocolate scrambled egg ice cream? Tempering eggs seemed way out of my league and Philadelphia-style ice cream suited me just fine. Then one day I decided to start using eggs and to be honest, I haven’t looked back. I never thought I would say this but I absolutely prefer custard. It’s richer, creamier, and allows you to use whole milk/half-and-half instead of heavy cream. Bottom line: I’m addicted to ice creams and gelato made with eggs.

Enter Jeni. I’ve been following Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams since I started this blog and I’ve been waiting with bated breath for her highly-anticipated cookbook to hit the stores. Hearing that she uses cream cheese, corn starch and corn syrup instead of egg yolks, I was intrigued. So, when I saw her new cookbook in Williams Sonoma I knew I had to have it. The next thing I knew, I was at home reading each page of the cookbook, savoring the beautiful photos and drooling over her recipes. David Lebovitz raves about her, and so naturally she must be great.

I dove into her book head first and decided to make a good, old fashioned classic: Strawberry Ice Cream. If you like hard-packed ice cream, this is the recipe for you. If not, I say stick to the custards. But, roasting the strawberries, as described below, is a fabulous idea because it releases some of the extra juices and makes the flavor even more intense. Strawberry fields forever.

Washing the berries before use (always a good idea, even when they're organic!)

Strawberry Ice Cream

Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Ingredients (Roasted Strawberries)

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/3 cup sugar

3 tbs fresh lemon juice

Ingredients (Ice Cream Base)

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tbs cornstarch

2 ounces (4tbs) cream cheese, softened

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/2 cups half-and-half (1/4 cup reserved until later)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbs light corn syrup

Corn starch and milk mixture

Method

First you’re going to roast the strawberries (note: I don’t have a roast function in my tiny NYC apartment kitchen, so I did bake, and it was just fine). Preheat oven the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the strawberries with the sugar in a glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring gently to mix well. Bake for 8 minutes or until just soft. Let cool slightly. Puree the berries in a food processor with the lemon juice. Set aside.

For the ice cream base: mix about 2 tbs of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Combine the remaining milk, half-and-half, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Adding the warm milk mixture to the bowl

In a separate heat-proof bowl gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the strawberry puree and the remaining 1/4 cup of half-and-half  and blend well. Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, pour the ice cream mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer into a freezer safe container and freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, approximately 3-4 hours.

Enjoy!

Mixing the strawberry mixture into the ice cream base

The Verdict: Honestly I was not too impressed. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of pureed berries, and I used approximately 3 1/2 cups – which just goes to show that this original recipe lacked flavor. Once I added enough berries it was much tastier and when drizzled with hot fudge sauce it was simply delicious. But, being that this ice cream was not made with eggs, it got harder and icier in the freezer than a typical custard so I suggest eating it the same day. Try your hand at this flavor, but I would recommend using 3 egg yolks instead of the cornstarch, corn syrup and cream cheese (follow any of my other recipes with eggs to  learn how to temper), the same proportions of everything else, and it will provide a much yummier texture.

One tiny little apology – I forgot to photograph the final product. My bad. You’ll just have to imagine that it looked like this  because it did!

Mocha Choca Latta Gelato

19 Oct

“Mocha Choca latta ya ya (oh oh oohoh ) 
Creole Lady Marmalade”  ~ Lady Marmalade

Mocha Choca Latta

Top of the morning to ya.

As of late, that’s become my favorite greeting. It’s weird, it’s retro, it’s fun.

Last night was a big day for 365scoops – we debuted our flavors at the Real Bloggers of NYC. Not to toot my own horn (wow, another awkward expression) but it seemed that the ice cream went over swimmingly! We served over 100 cups of ice cream from 15 pints of freshly churned flavors including Tiramisu, Charleston Chew, Key Lime Pie, Peach Sorbetto, and Vanilla Bean.

This morning, however, I was zonked. So zonked, that I needed a cup of caffeine – stat. For those of you who know me, I cannot drink caffeine. I become crazy, nutty, loopy and shaky (not so different from the present, non-caffeinated me). Not good things when I’m trying to work at my day job. But, alas, I had to succumb to my urges and drink coffee. In so doing, I realized that caffeinated ice was in order. After work, I marched myself home to create this very flavor.

Fun fact:

Adding the coffee to the milk and cocoa mixture

Shakers banned the consumption of coffee because they felt it was a luxury, but shortly thereafter the older members of congregations complained, so the elderly were allowed to drink coffee in the morning.  Upon hearing this, the women in the community became very angry with the unfairness of the rule, so they lobbied and received the right to drink coffee the mornings of communal clothes-washing as well.  SO despite their reputations of being stringent and unyielding, Shakers did sometimes show some flexibility!

Mocha Choca Latta Gelato

Inspired by Ben and Jerry’s 

Whisking the eggs and sugar

Ice Cream Ingredients

2 1/4 cups half-and-half

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

3 tbs good quality instant coffee

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

Mocha Sauce 

Adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe here

Method

This happens to be a very simple (and wildly delicious recipe). I made the ice cream with caffeinated coffee (duh) but have also made versions with decaf and it tastes exactly the same and still delicious.

The mocha sauce comes to life

Make the mocha sauce here and set aside.

Warm the milk and half-and-half in a large pot until small bubbles form around the edges. Whisk in the cocoa and instant coffee and stir vigorously so that it dissolves. Set aside.

Whisk together (I used my new fun blue whisk!) the three egg yolks. Slowly add in the sugar until it is dissolved and the yolks are pale yellow.

Pour the hot coffee/chocolate mixture into the egg mixture (slowly so they don’t scramble!) and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture back into the large pot and heat until the mixture either coats the back of a spoon, or it reaches 185 degrees.

And it reaches 185 degrees. Eggs are cooked, phew!

Let the mixture cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once the mixture is cooled, pour into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 20 minutes).

Scoop into a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Drizzle with the mocha sauce and enjoy!

The Verdict:  Hit the spot. I’m sick and tired of saying “yummy” so this time I’ll say, delectable! Really, this is good stuff. I even put a scoop of it in my coffee this morning, and let me tell you, I do not regret it. A perfect, creamy addition. Enjoy!

The Real Bloggers of New York City

17 Oct

Friends and fellow ice cream lovers:

The time has arrived. 365scoops is making it’s big debut on the UWS. I’ll be giving away free ice cream at Stand Up NY TODAY, Monday October 17th at 7pm.
I’ll be part of the Real Bloggers of NYC series, which includes a meet and greet (with yours truly!), a stand up comedy show (not by yours truly!), drinks, and 365scoops.
If you want to try some yummy creations, come on down!
Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street
New York, NY 10024
SPOILER ALERT: I will be scooping 15 pints of ice cream and sorbet – and to entice you to come, here are two of the spectacular treats: Charleston Chew and Tiramisu. Some things need to be a surprise – so you’ll have to come to find out the other 3 flavors!
Anyone who comes will be entered to win their very own, custom-designed pint of ice cream. See you soon!

Amorino Gelato

1 Sep

“L’amore si trova nel tuo cuore non per resarci, ma per essere condiviso.” ~ Italian Proverb

(Love is in your heart not to stay, but to be shared)

The famous Amorino flower

You know that intoxicating feeling you get when you buy someone a gift, and upon giving it to them, you see an enormous smile sweep across their face? It’s the best thing on earth.

So, if you’re anything like me, you derive great pleasure from giving gifts – from sharing something of yourself with others. As a kid I always loved getting gifts, and truly nothing has changed since then. I never understood why my parents would always take photos of me opening presents – was it because they loved documenting me with awful “sleepy hair” on the morning of my birthday? That’s what I used to think. Now as an adult, I realize they loved capturing my enormous smiles – my unadulterated joy and sheer happiness. Those reactions were just precious. I get it. My parents were the best. They still are.

This week, I received one of the coolest gifts in a while. I was invited by Amorino Gelato to come and take a behind-the-scenes tour of their flagship NY shop, learn about how they make each flavor, and even sample some gelato straight out of the machine. I was in seventh heaven.

Sorbets and Gelatos. All Natural. All Delicious.

Amorino’s name pretty much sums up their company’s motto and ethos. The translation of Amorino is “little love” or “cupid”, and they try to infuse every single bite with a little bit of love. Love for authentic Italian gelato, love for high-quality, organic ingredients, and most importantly, love for excellent flavor. Amorino believes (and I agree!) that their goal is to get the best flavor possible, using the best possible ingredients from around the world. They attempt – and in my opinion succeed – in infusing every single bite with strong flavor notes that are representative of true artisanal Italian gelato.

Churning the gelato...made fresh daily!

Filippo, the EVP/COO of the US branch of Amorino (did you know that they have 53 stores in Europe?) is from a small town in Italy, called Reggio Emilia. In his town of 150,000 people (or 400,000 if you count the surrounding areas) there are 80 gelato shops. That’s insane (and my dream come true!). His father is a Gelato master, and it’s this family treasure that has propelled him, and Amorino, forward into the US gelato market.

For consistency’s sake, Amorino mixes all their ingredients in Paris (where the company is headquartered) and blast freeze it before sending to NYC for production. Then, in the basement of the Union Square shop, they churn each individual flavor daily. Everything is all-natural so even though they use stabilizers, theirs are totally natural. In fact, they are so committed to good, wholesome ingredients that if you take a close look, their grapefruit sorbet is uber shiny – “too shiny for my taste” says Filippo. But, the shine is actually a result of the organic stabilizer – and let me tell you, it is delicious. I suppose the shininess is just a small price to pay for organic, natural delights.

And that's my chocolate gelato straight from the machine. Life is good.

Good ingredients make good gelato. Plain and simple. So it should come as no surprise that Amornio uses only the best of the best. Pistacios from Sicily, Hazelnuts from Piedmont, Chocolate and Bananas from Ecuador, Vignola Cherries from Italy, Alphonso mangoes from India, Speculoos from Belgium, and Amaretto and Passion fruit from Italy. But, the best flavor, in my opinion is “L’Inimitabile” literally meaning, “it can’t compare.” Well hell, they’re sure right about that! This flavor (once called Nutella) is a chocolate hazelnut that is, simply put, to die for. The flavor is so accurate, yet not too rich, so creamy, yet not too milky, and utterly delicious.

Artesanal Gelato. Fresh Daily. The sign says it all!

Visiting their kitchen was a dream come true – and being able to sample chocolate gelato straight from the machine as it was churning, is something I will never forget. It was outrageous! Delicious! I loved it. Ti amo! Italian is, after all, the language of love.

At the end of my tour, I got my very own Amorino flower. When I asked Filippo how this shape came to be, he told me that’s how gelato is served in his region. What? You mean, not only did those geniuses create gelato but they also invented the beautiful presentation? They don’t glob half scoops of gelato into a cone and hand it to you, half melting down the side. Instead, they meticulously (yet impressively quickly!) craft a flower, with the most firm flavor in the middle to create the center petals, and up to 22 other flavors surrounding it. For someone who loves to sample a lot of flavors (but not too many at once, or else you’ll miss the unique flavor that each one offers), this Amorino flower is the way to go.

Check out my awesome Amorino flower....

Bottom line: run, don’t walk to Amorino. You must taste what I’m talking about.

Luckily, as I was leaving, Filippo sensed my sheer happiness, and managed to snap a shot of me eating my very own Amorino flower (that’s my flower on the right, but not me!) Filippo definitely gets it. Sharing your gift with others is, in it of itself, the greatest gift one can give. Thanks Amorino for sharing your story and gelato with me. It was truly a precious present!