Here are a few suggestions of flavours specifically designed for customers who appreciate gelato all year round, even at home during winter.
A classic flavour that no gelato parlour can do without, chocolate comes from the cacao tree, cultivated by the Mayan civilisation as long ago as 1000 BC. Once they have been harvested from the cacao tree, the beans are fermented and roasted to extract the precious cocoa butter, from which chocolate or cocoa powder is made. Chocolate gelato can be made either with pure chocolate, for a softer, creamier gelato, or with cocoa for a more intense flavour and thicker consistency. Chocolate goes well with a wide variety of other hand-made gelatos, including liqueur or cream flavours, but it is also perfect with tropical fruit flavours.
A typical winter fruit, grapefruit is the perfect ingredient for making a thirst-quenching gelato that is full of vitamins. When choosing a grapefruit, a gelato craftsman needs to check that the texture is firm and intact, and that its scent is light and refreshing. As with all citrus fruits, making hand-made grapefruit gelato means cutting the fruit in half and squeezing out the juice, then stirring it in carefully with syrup and water until creamy. Hand-made grapefruit gelato goes perfectly with fruit flavours, but try it too in combination with chocolate. To add originality to your gelato parlour, use grapefruit for making sorbets, granitas or fruit-based cocktails.
In order to meet the needs of all consumers, even in winter you will still need to produce some hand-made soy gelato. Soy is the perfect alternative for all those gelato-lovers who are intolerant to gluten or lactose or who want to watch their figure while still enjoying the taste of a good hand-made gelato. With its delicate flavour and silky texture, hand-made soy gelato can be mixed with various essences to create a wide variety of flavours and thus meet the demands of those customers who refuse to let their eating disorder get in the way of enjoying a hand-made gelato.
Lemon is a simple, lightweight flavour for a hand-made gelato, a must in any quality gelato parlour. The best lemons are found in winter, between December and January and between March and April, whereas in summer the fruits are not quite as juicy. Make sure you know how to choose the best lemons from their appearance: the rind should be shiny and intact, and the fruit must be quite firm to the touch. When you squeeze the lemon to extract the juice, make sure none of the white pith just inside the rind gets into the juice, as this would make the juice bitter and affect the flavour of the gelato. Lemon gelato goes well with all fruit and cream flavours, but can also be used for making sorbets, semifreddos and drinks.
Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a perennial herbaceous plant from the Leguminosae family. Due to its main chemical constituent – glycyrrhizin – liquorice has been used in medicine since the Ancient Greeks. Recognised even in ancient Egypt, in China and in Assyria, in modern times liquorice was first reimported into Europe in the 15th century. There are various different uses for liquorice extract: it can be eaten on its own, or else for making drinks and hand-made gelato. One of the most popular products in the gelato parlour, hand-made liquorice gelato has an intense, creamy flavour, and is a perfect match for creams, for pistachio, but also for fruit flavours.