“Gelato”… I think there are few other words that bring on an instant wide-eyed look. In fact, I can still personally remember my first encounter with the Italian treat at La Sem, on St.Clair Ave. in Toronto. I was in my teens, taking in summer skies, the breezy heat of August, and the European flare of the outdoor cafe. I recall the stainless steel cup and the nutty green color of the scoop. A spoonful and I was in some momentary transcendental state… cool (but not too cold); intense (as in tasting a mouthful of pistachios all at once); rich!… unlike any ice cream I had tried before. I was hooked.
Some say that gelato is simply the Italian couterpart and ‘translation’ of ice cream. They may be similar, but there are a few key differences that make them decidedly different.
Both gelato and North American ice cream are made with dairy – gelato using more milk rather than cream. Gelato is also churned at a much slower speed than ice cream, and for a considerably longer duration. This results in much less air, more concentration of ingredients in space, and thus a much creamier and more dense tasting experience.
I like to think of gelato as a cousin to cheese by virtue of its dairy source. As with cheese, the artisan hands are the key to it all. The quality of ingredients, the passion that works it all together, and the dedication to achieving the best outcome, are all fundamental. And the best news ever… we are so, so lucky here in Aurora to now have an incredible source of hand made gelato!! Clayton puts all of the above (and more) together at Chocolate & Company on Yonge St. Believe me, it is from here that I have revisited my gelato nirvana experience from so many years ago!!
P.S. (Not to mention the chocolates… I’ll save that for another other blog)