When it comes to cones and wafers, we are spoilt for choice, with so many different products out there, but all the other items which we need to help us get the packaging right for our gelato has to be planned a bit more carefully.
There are plenty of gelato shops and workshops where every item, from the uniforms to the teaspoons, is customized with the colours or the name of the store, but there are just as many who go for the cheapest products on the market, convinced that the packaging is the least of their problems. However, attention to detail is one of the hallmarks of a quality shop.
Plastic or ...?
Have you ever stopped to think how much waste is generated from the plastic spoons, containers and other forms of packaging we use every day? Not to mention the purchase cost and the garbage that builds up inside the bins in your store. Plastic bags in particular are one of the products most likely to become dispersed in the environment.
One solution might be to use products made out of Mater-Bi, a material that uses substances obtained from plants and takes just a few weeks to biodegrade. It can minimize the environmental impact and promote reuse through separate collections of organic waste, thus improving the quality of compost. What’s more, it makes shopping bags more useful and stimulates our awareness of the environment. As well as plastic bags, Mater-Bi is also used for making cup, spoons and milkshake containers. Alternatively, there are products made out of PLA, polylactic acid, a bioplastic produced from corn starch. It has the same characteristics as plastic but is 100% biodegradable and dissolves in about 47 days.
Gelato? I could eat the lot!
Did you know that cups can be eaten? Flattened and cup-shaped wafers can hold just the right amount of gelato without melting, just like cones, and have the added advantage of providing space for decorations and sprinkles.
By analogy, just imagine replacing normal spoons with edible cutlery! There are some on the market already, although they are not yet widespread. As the saying goes “It’s so delicious I could even eat the spoon!”
“Madam: your gelato.”
Cups, bowls, glasses, saucers and stands, made out of glass and ceramics, steel cutlery (or porcelain, when the gelato is served in a porcelain container), all dishwasher safe and reusable. This is the gelato-maker’s tradition, where composing masterpieces is a result of taking one’s time and honing one’s skills. And for many, a wonderful reminder of childhood afternoons is our grandparents ordering a sundae in a tall glass with a long steel spoon at the bar or gelato parlour.
"Want a napkin?"
Respect for nature does not stop with ingredients. It's a habit that we should always try to follow.
Obviously this involves a cost for those willing to put their foot down to achieve sustainability in the workplace, but otherwise the cost for the planet is much higher. The paper in all of the packaging, starting with the napkins, should come from forests managed in an appropriate manner, subject to strict environmental standards, and certified FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).