Did you know...
That other countries may have ice cream but Italy has gelato, a thick, creamy concoction that is custard based, and very different from ice cream made anywhere else. You can find them in all the Italian cities with the sign "Produzione Propia" (made by the proprietor) hanging in the window. The father of Italian gelato is Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli; a Sicilian aristocrat who established a chain of coffee houses throughout Europe in the late seventeenth century. In 1675 he opened a cafe in Paris where he sold Viennese style ices; a frozen dessert much richer than ices because it was made with eggs and cream. The new gelato was a big success and he began producing in his coffee houses throughout Italy and Europe, so the gelateria was born!
Another version of gelato was originated in Naples - the spumone - a wedge of three flavors; vanilla, strawberry, and pistachio. The white, red, and green; are the colors of the Italian flag. Another popular Italian ice cream is tortoni made with vanilla mousse, macaroons, almonds, and rum usually served in a paper cup. It originated in the Parisian confectionary stores owned by the Italian Tortoni family.
Gelato is more and more available in the United States, a true upscale Italian gelateria is a wonder to behold and if you go in one of these establishments on a warm summer night, order a coppa con panna and you are transported to a world of pure indulgence!