Florence is very well-known all over the world also thanks to its tasty, creamy, soft, sweet, fresh, genuine GELATO..!
What does "gelato" actually mean? And what is the difference between an Italian gelato and a common ice-cream?
"Gelato", which in Italian is a synonym for “ghiacciato”, literally means “frozen”. “Gelato” though, represents a softer, more fluid ice, than "ghiacciato", which is "icy" and makes one think more of hard ice.
“Gelato” is, after all, just the Italian for “ice-cream”; but when you English-speaking friends tasted it and realised it was quite different from the ice-cream you knew, you decided to use the Italian language to identify it..!
Real gelato needs to be SOFT, CREAMY and FRESH.
It must also look wavy, when in its bowl...if you see mountains of icy, flashy-coloured ice-cream in some gelato-parlours, well, it simply means you are in front of a common sort of ice-cream, which is not home-made every day and is probably stuffed with preservatives.
You'd never guess that Bernardo Buontalenti, one of the most brilliant Renaissance – Mannerism architects, sculptors, engineers, stage designers ever, once (precisely in 1600) invented a machine to prepare a delicious kind of sorbet/gelato, named «Buontalenti» after its inventor. The architect who designed the Tribune in the Uffizi Gallery and the Grotto of the same name in the Boboli Gardens was a food designer as well.!
It happened when Maria de'Medici, the second Medici girl to become Queen of France, married the French King Henry IV. The marriage feast was held in Florence, in the Hall of the Five Hundreds (Salone dei Cinquecento) in Palazzo Vecchio. Bernardo Buontalenti had decorated the hall: the Grand Duke butler Giovanni del Maestro had organized
a menu of twenty-four courses of cold dishes and thirty courses of hot ones..!
The desserts were little angel cakes (a sort of ring doughnut), pastries, strawberries and cream with honey; liquors gushed from little fountains while guests were having the sweet.
Bernardo Buontalenti, for that occasion, had built a special box-like machine, with an outer cavity for insulation and an inner cylinder containing fresh ingredients like eggs, milk, cream, sugar and ice, continuously mixed by spatulas worked by a control knob.
Tour Florence with me..! I will take you to proper gelato-parlours, and let you taste the authentic delicatessen that the locals offer..!