Gelatomania: Ice Cream as Italians Do

Look what  all that I ate today!

Look what all that I ate today!

I will tell you a secret. Italians could easily spot a good Gelato even without tasting it. But for Filipinos especially Davaoeños like us, we need a second, or even a third serving to confirm whether what we are eating is really good. But worry no more because you’ll learn how to in a few minutes.

Gelato is the Italian equivalent of our Sorbetes, or Ice Cream. By the term alone, you already get the idea that it is made up of milk, sugar and comes in different flavors. Ironic enough, the first Gelato did not originally come from mainland Italy, but from Egypt and  ancient Roman Empire where ice and snow had to be brought down from mountaintops and preserved below ground to prevent it from melting. It was only in the 1920’s that Italy developed handcrafted Gelato which is the one we have today.

How do we tell a good Gelato from a bad one? Here are some authentic Italian tips:

  1. Gelato’s color is DULL. It does not come in neon colors. This is so because the primary sensory organ that should be enticed is the sense of taste. When Gelato is brightly colored, it signals the brain that the gelato tastes good, when in fact the tongue says average.
  2. Fresh or less than a week old Cow’s milk is definitely the best milk for Gelato, according to Cesare Bresca (owner and Gelato maker for Gelatomania)
  3. Ask whether it is Produzione Propria or that the Gelato is made from scratch. This is so that you can have the promise that all ingredients are fresh, natural, and are combined either to complement, contrast or harmonize one another.

I tested these parameters on Davao’s newest Gelato shop called Gelatomania. Checklist number one happened when I saw a white colored, Lemon flavored Gelato. Since it was white, I had no idea that it was bursting with citrus flavor until I actually tasted it. It was a perfect desert to eat after a full meal. My eyes did not expect to see a very pale Pineapple Mint when commercially it should have been orange in color with green speckles for the mint. Or a pale yellow Oreo flavored Gelato, when it should have been black or white like the cookie.

Item number two came about when I asked Cesare about what milk he uses. He insisted on cow’s milk, not a week old more to contribute to the creamy and soft texture of the Gelato. Cow’s milk also helps in the Gelato’s structure so that it won’t melt easily on a hot day, especially in tropical countries like the Philippines.  The best Gelato is one that is creamy, cool and rich as compared to the ones from the market that are often heavy, ice cold, and excessively sweet.

The best part of it all, Gelatomania is Produzione Propia! Owners Francesco Pentaxiani and Cesare Bresca learned how to make Gelato from Carpigiani Gelato University-Italy. Which is considered as  the best school in the world for Gelato. For the 18 various flavors that they serve in the shop, both Gelato makers have to start production at 3AM. The shop is being run by Cesare’s Mother-In-Law Jenevina, a Filipina born and raised in Butuan City. Their Gelato scooper is also family in the person of  Grace who is Casare’s sister-in-law.

And that’s how to pick a Gelato, Italian style. CIAO!

Thank you very much Gelatomania for hosting a Gelato-All-You-Can today, and for Ms. Sarah Jean Gavile of for the generous invite. I highly recommend Gelatomania not just to ice cream lovers, but also to people who simply want to have a refreshing, and cool desert. Please do visit them at Door 3A, Gahol Building, Pardo de Tavera corner Florentino Torres Street, Davao City (adjacent to Phoenix Gas Station / Infront of Iglesia Filipina Independiente)


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