Gelato: Italian of the Week

Today happens to be Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. I remember the first time I had ice cream 18c1c17605f682e0b7b5fcb2a445276efor breakfast – I was a kid, and my parents were out of town. My aunt was babysitting me, and on the morning before my parents were to come home, I was allowed to eat whatever I wanted for breakfast. I decided ice cream was a good choice. As an adult, I’ll still indulge myself every once in awhile, but I usually reach for some gelato instead.

For this edition of #Italian of the Week, we are highlighting three Italians, each who had an impact on ice cream as we know it: Antonio Latini, Italo Marchiony,and Richard LaMotta.

While the origins of frozen desserts are debated, it’s generally agreed that an Italian invented 349167552_69e5337744_bsorbet and later gelato. In the later half of the 1600s, Antonio Latini created and documented a milk-based sorbet (the first “official” ice cream treat). There are three main differences between gelato and ice cream: fat, air and serving temperature. According to United States federal law, ice cream must consist of at least 10% cream for labeling purposes. Gelato, on the other hand, uses less cream (usually between 1% and 2%) and more milk. When churning ice cream, more air is added to the mix. With Gelato? Less air is churned into it in the freezing process, meaning that it is also more dense. While ice cream is best served at 10°F, gelato is usually served warmer to achieve that perfectly soft consistency.

italoWho doesn’t love to eat gelato (or ice cream) in a delicious edible dish? The inventor of that dish? Italo Marchiony. Italo emigrated from Italy to the United States in the late 1800s. In 1896, while living in New York City, he invented a version of the ice cream cone. In September 1903, he was awarded a patent on his ice cream cup making machine. According to Jane Marchiony Paretti, her father Italo was an exhibitor at the St. Louis Worlds Fair. One day, he ran out of his edible cups. Jane stated that her father turned to the waffle maker in the next booth and asked for the waffles to be rolled into the shape of a cone. The rest is (delicious) history.

Italian-American Richard LaMotta, cousin of famous boxer Jake LaMotta, had developed a love IMG_8255-1024x682for dipping cookies into milk at an early age. When he was in his late thirties, Richard had an idea to merge favorite snack into a tasty frozen treat. On May 1, 1982, he sent a fleet of street-cart vendors out into Manhattan to begin selling his creation: the Chipwich. The Chipwich, ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies, was an instant hit. By the end of the year, he was selling more than 40,000 Chipwiches a day, and his Chipwich plants were producing 1,400,000 frozen sandwiches a week. In 2002, Richard sold his company to Nestlé, who stopped making the product since the company had its own version of the snack.  Luckily, if you chipwishyou can make your own.

What are your favorite gelato flavors? Share with us below!

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Have an idea for a future #ItalianoftheWeek? Send us an e-mail!

Sources: Italian America™ (summer 2012 issue), PBS Food, International Dairy Foods Association, The New York Times
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