Created by the commitment and spirit of collaboration on the part of leading stakeholders in the system (UIF and SIGEP), the Il gelato artigianale website has been in close touch with gelato-makers, enterprises, trade fairs, bars, restaurants, pastry shops, etc. throughout this Covid-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown. As you wait to get back to business, do not lose heart! You have to resist and make the most of this precious time: a time to concentrate on research, to create new flavours, to learn the techniques of the master gelato-makers, to understand what other products to offer in your gelato shop or bar, to weigh up whether and how to include gelato in your product range.
The world of gelato artisans and patissiers never stops: indeed, last week saw the eighth edition of European Artisanal Gelato Day, with everyone taking part online.
An event that – despite the situation – attracted a large number of countries all around the world, acting as a vehicle for messages of encouragement and hope: an opportunity to share gestures of solidarity and unity with the whole Italian gelato sector.
Spain, Greece, Poland ... so many countries, as well as some outside Europe, used the #GelatoDay hashtag in a wide variety of social media posts and videos. You will remember that this year’s event was centred on the Netherlands, which had chosen yogurt gelato with a strawberry ripple as the “Flavour of the Year”, one which ably represents a country well-known for its dairy produce and strawberry crops.
So many Italian gelato shops and gelato-makers took part virtually, and not just on the designated day, either. As a matter of fact, in the days surrounding the event, many set about creating the conditions for operating safely and offering a delivery service, while others handed out advice on how to make gelato at home, even for people who do not own a gelato-maker or professional equipment. All of this helps people to enjoy a delicious gelato at home, a taste of normality that also supports the work of the many gelato artisans in Italy.
As well as proving, once again, that it is the driving force behind an economy which is eager to get going again, artisanal gelato has emerged as a true common denominator between a great many countries, especially European ones, which have each been able to showcase their own agricultural and food products.
It is also great chance to analyze future trends, which we will be able to enjoy once we get back to normal – for example, there would seem to be a growing interest in alcoholic gelato and gourmet versions.
When it comes to alcoholic flavours, there can be no denying the attraction of creating a gelato take on a cocktail – hence the Champelmo (Champagne & Grapefruit), dreamt up by master gelato artisan Sergio Dondoli, featuring a pink grapefruit sorbet with a Vernaccia sparkling white. Then there is Campari & Lampone, created in Chiavari by Matteo Spinola – a sorbet that combines raspberry with an aperitif; not forgetting the Aperol Spritz Gelato and Cioccolato & Grand Marnier.
By contrast Gourmet Gelato means not only intriguing combinations of flavours from the sweet end of the spectrum, but also savoury ones, with such delights as those dreamed up by the Sicilian master Antonio Cappadonia, who has created an artichoke gelato, while Stefano Guizzetti and the Ciacco gelato parlours have come up with a salted cod gelato, featuring ground coffee beans and a polenta crunch.
Lots of events and plenty of outreach, all demonstrating how gelato, even in these weeks of turmoil, has managed to be a symbol of solidarity and hope. The message is loud and clear: the world of gelato, pastry shops and bars will be starting up again soon and will be doing it even better than before!