Ice cream maker, where have you been all my life? I had no idea that making ice cream at home was so simple. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even think that homemade ice cream was in the realm of possibility for the home cook. I thought that turning milk and sugar into that creamy goodness required a little magic. Little did I know that with a few simple ingredients and an ice cream maker, deliciousness can be had at home in a few short hours (that is, if overnight refrigeration not required).
This past fall, I visited Rome and Venice with the mister for the first time. While I was there, the number one activity on my to-do list was to try the gelato. Historical sites, museums and cathedrals were a little further down on the list. Every time I hear people talk about Italy, everyone always talks about how great the gelato is there, so I wanted to see what all the craze was about. Was it really as good as everyone says it is? The guidebook we had said that the best gelato in Rome could be found at San Crispino, which is located a few meters from the Trevi Fountain. I had a scoop of lemon and a scoop of pistachio gelato-I know, not the best of flavor combinations, but that’s what sounded good at the time. I wasn’t too impressed with either flavor since they were both pretty bland. So, I continued my quest for this fabulous gelato everyone was talking about. I did try some that tasted better than that of San Crispino elsewhere in Rome, but it still wasn’t any better than gelato that I could get in the states.
Onto Venice we went. We opted to stay on one of the smaller islands, Lido, because it is less crowded and only a short 10 minute ride on the water bus to the main island, San Marco. Lido is where good gelato is to be had. While I was there, I had several scoops a day so I could try as many flavors as possible. I couldn’t get enough of the strawberry and hazelnut flavored gelato-soooo delish! Unfortunately, the name of my go-to spot in Lido escapes me at the moment-I only remember it being a few businesses down from the hotel we were staying at, which was next to the main grocery store on the island. I know, can I possibly be any more vague?
Well, after returning from the trip, I discovered a couple of gelato recipes on the Saveur website. After sifting through a few recipes, I decided to try a chocolate gelato recipe. The recipe only called for four ingredients and required very little effort. I couldn’t wait to try it once it started to harden after churning it for about 30 minutes or so. Man, this gelato was incredibly good, and it may even rival the best I had in Italy. The only thing I would probably do differently next time, though, is to add a little bit of alcohol to the mixture to prevent it from getting too hard. If you try this recipe yourself, opt for quality cocoa to ensure the best flavor.
The recipe can be found here.