It’s hard to meet someone who doesn’t appreciate the delight of homemade ice cream. But can you recognize quality ice cream? Despite the enormous spread of ice cream parlors, especially in Italy, knowing how to recognize good artisan ice cream is not obvious.
Artisanal ice cream is a sector that is not only greedy but also growing rapidly, both in Europe and in the rest of the world.
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This is what Il Gelato Artigianale says , which summarized the 2020 data of research carried out by Acomag, AIIPA, Coldiretti, Confartigianato, Sigep Observatory and Unione of Italian ice cream makers in Germany: the openings of ice cream parlors and the sales of artisanal ice cream are constantly increasing. In Europe there are more than 65,000 ice cream parlors, but the scepter belongs to Italy – the undisputed homeland of ice cream: in our country about 39,000 ice cream parlors are open which employ some 150,000 people and have a turnover of 2.8 billion euros , 30% of the European market !
An unsurprising result: in Italy we love ice cream! Yet, not all people who love to delight in this delicacy know how to recognize a quality artisan ice cream.
Do you think you are one of them? No fear! In this article we give you 7 infallible tips to recognize an artisan ice cream and live the true experience of quality ice cream.
7 tips to recognize real artisan ice cream
Color, consistency, conservation could be the basic 3 C to recognize quality artisan ice cream.
In reality, the elements that contribute to the excellent success of ice cream are many more, and here we present the seven main ones.
Which ones do you know and which ones have you never thought about?
1. Ice cream must be the protagonist
Good ice cream shops prefer to focus on what they do best: great ice cream. Be wary of ice cream shops that also serve breakfast, sandwiches, drinks or other snacks. The ice creams sold in multi-product premises are almost always industrial products and already packaged. Preparing homemade ice cream is an art that requires resources, research and a lot of patience, factors that are not very compatible with the sale and service of other over-the-counter products.
2. It must not overflow from the trays
It happens to pass in front of ice cream shop windows that display ice creams as if they were trophies. Trumpy, fluffy, exuberant, the creamy masses rise upwards, abundantly passing the trays that contain them.
Here, avoid the places where the ice creams seem to want to escape from the trays: in all probability they are prepared in industrial plants that lend little quality to the ingredients and genuine flavors.
3. Better if kept in the wells
The ice cream shops very attentive to the quality of their ice creams do not display the product behind the refrigerated counter, but keep it well preserved in refrigerated metal wells, separated by taste, which are opened only when the customer orders it. The refrigerated wells not only improve the conservation of the ice cream but also avoid sudden changes in temperature, fatal for its creaminess.
However, this does not mean that the ice cream parlors that display ice cream in external trays do not focus on quality! Storage in refrigerated wells is simply one more sign to recognize a good ice cream parlor.
4. It must not be cold or have ice crystals
It sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s it: good artisan ice cream doesn’t have to be so cold that it’s frozen on the tongue. In order for our palate to fully appreciate the nuances of taste and creaminess, the perfect ice cream must be served at around -12 ° C. To understand this, you don’t need to carry a thermometer, but just look at the ice cream: if you see ice crystals or hear them crunch under your teeth, something has gone wrong.
5. Seasonal flavors
There is no question about the flavors of ice cream, each person has their own and usually there are two fans: creamy flavors and fruit flavors. While seasonality is not always relevant for creams, respect for seasonality is an indicator of quality for fruit ice creams.
The ice cream parlors that prepare ice creams with seasonal fruit demonstrate care for customers and attention to the quality of the ingredients.
6. Colors and scents must not be artificial
It’s not just a matter of taste; sight and smell can also help you recognize a good homemade ice cream. Pay attention to color: usually, the brighter the colors, the more likely it will be the presence of artificial dyes. Usually, artisanal ice creams without artificial coloring have duller colors than the original ingredient. Think of strawberries, for example: if in nature a strawberry is vermilion red, strawberry ice cream is a milder red, which turns pink.
A similar consideration applies to perfume. A good homemade ice cream can also be recognized by the light aroma that it emanates despite the low temperature, so smell it without shame!
7. Pass the cone test
Finally, the cone also wants its share. Good ice cream shops not only pay attention to the quality of their ice cream but also to that of the decorative cones and waffles. A real waffle cone can be recognized: it is crumbly, does not stick to the teeth and does not turn into a plasticky mush once ingested. In short, the quality of the cone can also say a lot about the ice cream you are about to taste.
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