Ice cream is a food preparation obtained by a mixture of ingredients turned into sold or pasty state by freezing and contemporary agitation by means of air insufflations. This is Wikipedia’s definition.
It’s easier for us to think about it as milk, sugar, cream, fruit or other sweet ingredients all mixed together. Afore an ice cream we surely don’t think that lactose is needed to absorb water while proteins are used to make it creamy.
But gastronomy keeps on moving and ice cream has been studied from a chemical, physical and preparation point of view. Therefore, molecular cuisine has started using liquid nitrogen to prepare ice cream. It allows to freeze the ingredients very quickly. When water vapor haze starts getting thinner, the creamy dessert begins to appear. Molecular ice creams have very tiny crystals due to the instant cooling. This is what makes them so soft and creamy.
You will find a very interesting video down below.
Gastronomy instead, has taken this sweet preparation and, with an irrepressible imagination, has mixed it with unusual or salty ingredients. Salty? Yes, indeed! Starters, main, second and side courses have been put into ice cream.
|Beet taste Source: laboratorio del gelato|
If you think this is just a chefs’ obsession to exalt their menus, you’re wrong! Besides chefs, there are a lot of homemade ice cream shops, form USA to Japan. Here some examples.
Il laboratorio del gelato in New York offers, among unusual tastes, sugar beet ice cream and, among salty preparation, we can find cheddar cheese (the one used in hamburgers), red bean or sweet potato ice cream.
Probably you’re thinking that this phenomenon doesn’t involve Italians, but it isn’t so. More and more ice cream shops are introducing salty preparation besides the sweet ones. Like porcini mushroom ice cream from Fior di latte ice cream shop, orthe incredible ice cream from La Romana.
But the wider range of salty ice creams belongs to Il paradiso del gelato in Japan, I think. Reading
their list of tastes your mind gets full of thoughts and questions like: “really?”, “you don’t say!”, “oh no! Not that!”, “and what would this be?” “no, this is totally made up!”, exc.
Source: La Romana
ice cream with mascarpone cheese, coffee and chocolate
I have to thank my friend Alice, who runs the blog A merenda con Alice, for translating me the names of the ice creams and for adding some explanations . I give you some examples: asparagus, ox tongue, fireflies, sasanishiki rice (a peculiar rice that as the characteristic of maintaining the taste unchanged even when it gets colder, which makes it ideal for sushi), shijimi (small mollusks like clams), silk, green yakisoba (it’s a sautéed pasta with meat and vegetables), natto (extra smelly fermented soy beans), but the most incredible taste is tiramisu collagen! As you can see there’s really no limits to imagination.
Now, what can stop you from flying to Japan is just your “gastronomic cultural resistance”.
Articolo in italiano Gelateria gastronomica: dall'occidente al Sol Levante
Translation by Valeria Lussiana
Thanks to: Il laboratorio del gelato in New York for accepting my idea and providing me photos, to Alice Massa for the carthusian translation work from Japanese and to Luis Devin’s book Ai confini del gusto, Sonzogno Ed., for giving me the idea for this article.