calabria's favourite pastime
If there is one phrase you will hear a lot in Calabria and should definitely learn it's "andiamo a prendere un gelato!" which translates to "let's go for an ice cream!" For those with a sweet tooth, there is nothing more enjoyable on a sun filled day than heading to the nearest gelateria, aka ice cream parlour, to choose your perfect flavour.
Gelato and sunshine go hand in hand not only because Calabria has more sunshine days than the rest of Italy, but also because "andiamo a prendere un gelato" is deeply rooted in the social traditions of the region, bringing people together to enjoy one of life's simple pleasures.
Although the literal translation of gelato is ice cream, gelato should not be confused with ice cream because they are actually very different. Ice cream is a frozen dairy dessert made with cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks and artificial flavouring. Who hasn't eaten an entire pint of ice cream all by themselves and afterward felt full and unsatisfied? During the processing of ice cream, the ingredients are churned at a high speed in order to whip air into the mixture. This is a sneaky way to increase the ice cream volume making it up to eighty percent air. So the next time you finish a pint all by yourself, it's not because of your uncontrollable sweet tooth it's because of the quality of the ice cream you are eating.
Gelato on the other hand is made in small batches every morning by artisan gelato makers using only natural ingredients like fresh milk, sugar, fruit, nuts and pure chocolate to create delicious flavours like pistachio, bacio, amarena and limone. Gelato is churned at a delicate slow speed, in order to prevent a lot of air incorporating into the mixture and generally the volume is made up of only twenty percent air that is drawn in naturally by the churning process. This is why gelato is much more satisfying than ice cream and one scoop is all you need. But if you do want to eat more remember that you don't have to feel guilty since gelato contains about half the fat of ice cream, is made with natural ingredients and contains no preservatives. Not to mention gelato contains high levels of protein, vitamin B, calcium and phosphorus. But who are we kidding, we don't eat gelato because it's good for us, we love it because it tastes amazing.
So next time you're in Calabria or anywhere in Italy indulge in the national pastime and "andiamo a prendere un gelato!"
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By: Michelle Pedulla