Nov 12, 2009

Ice Cream Books For Christmas

Out and about Christmas shopping yet? Already suffering from shopping mall blues?

Well, if the idea of sitting comfortably in your slippers and doing a little shopping on the Net appeals, here are some great ideas for Christmas gifts - ice cream books.

These are highly rated books from Amazon now available through the Ice Cream Recipes Online Store ....

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Apr 28, 2009

Ice Cream - To Freeze Or Not To Freeze - ?

Think of ice cream and most people imagine a frozen food ... but you would be wrong, well partly wrong. Why?

  • Homemade ice cream is at its best when freshly made. Having made lots of ice cream at home, tested and tasted it freshly batched and having also eaten it after it's been stored for a few days in the freezer, I can tell you there is simply no comparison - both in taste and texture.

  • Gelato, the popular 'artisan' ice cream originating in Italy, is acknowledged to be enjoyed at its best on the day it is made, not after it's been frozen. Although gelato means frozen, it's a little ironic that gelato ice cream is known more for being a 'soft' ice cream. In most gelateria (ice cream parlors specializing in gelato), making gelato is done that day actually on the premises and although it's usually served from an ice cream freezer, it is a different kind of freezer to what you normally see for American style ice cream. It's a "forced air freezer" which prevents the gelato from becoming too frozen.

    There are lots of ice cream display freezers on the market today for commercial ice cream sales. Some are large with numerous ice cream pans and others can be split-level ice cream display units. There are also some small countertop ice cream display freezers as well as upright display freezers.

    Whether you enjoy making your own ice cream recipes or going out to an ice cream parlor, it's worth remembering that freshly made ice cream will always be the best. Ice cream freezers are great for minimal storage of ice cream such as in gelataria but if you make your own ice cream you should be aware of the do's and don'ts of storing ice cream properly.

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Apr 9, 2009

Ice Cream School

In the last year I have got to know 2 master ice cream makers, both Italian, who are making a name for themselves in the world of gelato. Interestingly enough, neither of them lives and works in Italy for they have found a demand for their specialist skills outside their home country.

One is Gino Soldan, the master gelatiere in charge of the very special Harrod's ice cream parlour in London (Morelli's Gelato). Gino hit the headlines in the summer of 2008 because of the unusual ice cream he was making for a special, sponsored and limited edition of ice creams. These included an incredible array including wensleydale cheese ice cream. Wallace & Gromit fans will recognise Wensleydale as being Wallace's favourite!

The other is Marina who lives and works in Barcelona. Having run her own, very popular ice cream parlor in the city she recently told me about her latest venture - her ice cream school. It was fascinating to learn what gave her the idea and who her students are. Although I haven't tasted her ice cream (not having been to Barcelona yet unfortunately!), the photographs of her stracciatella ice cream and her fig ice cream are sufficient to make you believe that she is a lady who knows her gelato! Here is a freshly made batch of her stracciatella gelato.

If, however, you cannot get to her ice cream school - and that will apply to many of you of course - then you can always have a go at making gelato yourself. Here is my gelato recipes page. Enjoy!

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Jan 6, 2009

Celebrate A Centenary In 2009 - With Ice Cream!

So 2009 is here. What is going to make this year special or notable of course remains to be seen but here are four interesting sets of facts that make 2009 a centenary celebration year.

16 January 1909
This was the date when Ernest Shackleton's expedition found the magnetic South Pole. He was only 35 at the time. British by birth, Shackleton went on to become one of the greatest explorers of his age.

23 February 1909
This was when the first powered flight in Canada (and what was at that time the British Empire) took place. Achieved by the Silver Dart.

15 March 1909
In London, England, Selfridges department store first opened its doors.

25 July 1909
This was the day that Louis Bleriot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine.

All achievements to be admired. Well .... you might have your doubts about number 3 on my list but in fact I think Selfridges merits being there because in a world of seemingly constant change, knowing that there's a department store that has been trading for 100 years is somehow very comforting.

I was once a frequent shopper at Selfridges (in my London days) and would not hesitate to put it on my itinerary when in London again, even on just a day trip. The food hall there is fabulous; they even have a Morellis Gelato within the store where you can indulge in one of their wonderful ice cream specials. The mastery in the 'behind the scenes' ice cream making at places like this is exemplified in my interview with Gino Soldan master gelatiere for Morellis Gelato in Harrods. This photograph is just a snippet of the magnificient ice cream sundae he made especially for my friend Mary. Now that's a good way to celebrate anything - even a centenary!

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Dec 18, 2008

Gelato Master In Barcelona

Now this is a post I've been meaning to write for some weeks! I think it will be one of the more exciting articles for regular readers of

Imagine if you can ....

  • a family with more than 100 years experience of ice cream making
  • authentic artisan italian gelato expertise
  • a master gelato maker for more than 30 years
  • gelato in barcelona
  • gelato making lessons
There's only one person whose life and work encompasses these criteria - Rheya, an Italian living in Barcelona who has two of the most interesting ice cream blogs in the world.

These are: (English) (Spanish)

Rheya is a woman with a passion and knowledge of gelato that is on a level most people can only dream! Visit her blogs and you will see what I mean.

Rheya's experiences in Chicago for example is a great block of posts she wrote about what and who she saw there, how she reacted to the city and - of course - what she thought of the ice cream there. She even writes about the culinary school branch of the Illinois Institute of Arts in Chicago. Fascinating reading!

So for all you gelato lovers out there who have a little time over the Christmas holidays to do some online reading, you should visit Rheya's gelato making blog. Early in 2009 I will be writing a dedicated page about Rheya on with lots more information - so revisit and enjoy even more. Happy reading!

Photographs in this post are by Rheya and reproduced with permission
Left photo: Rheya's strawberry gelato mix
Right photo: Chicago on one of Rheya's trips

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Sep 1, 2008

Master Gelatiere At Morelli's Gelato

My recent interview with Gino Soldan (master gelatiere for Morelli's Gelato in London) is now live on Anyone interested in ice cream making, ice cream parlors and ice cream sundaes will love this Special Feature.

It provides an insight into how this master of ice cream making views his work, the depth of passion he has for his craft and how adventurous he aspires to be in developing new and daring ice cream flavors. It's an exclusive interview so be amongst the first to read it before it gets picked up and rehashed by other sites and media.

See: Master Gelatiere Gino Soldan

There is also a gallery of photographs showing some of the wonderful ice cream sundaes made at Morelli's Gelato, including one Gino made especially for my friend Mary. Again the photographs are exclusive to

Read and enjoy!

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Jul 29, 2008

More Gelato Recipes

I've written about gelato ice cream before and introduced you to a nice vanilla gelato recipe which you can make at home. Now I have more gelato recipes and wanted to share them with you. I've chosen to cover chocolate and banana which I have read are 2 of the most popular flavors in gelato ice cream:

chocolate gelato (gelato cioccolato)
banana gelato (gelato banana)

The chocolate gelato recipe calls for dark chocolate as an ingredient and although I don't like to eat dark chocolate on its own, I find it super in ice cream or in this case gelato. I'm sure there are other people out there like me! There's something about blending rich chocolate into an ice cream mixture that becomes quite irresistable!

I read an interesting BBC article a couple of years ago about how chocolate can be beneficial to health and it led me to read up more on the subject. What I found was an amazing array of information, anecdotes and research in support of the idea and my chocolate and health web page was written as a result. There's so much to know and understand about chocolate and I'm sure there's still more to be learned.

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Jul 20, 2008

National Ice Cream Day 2008

It's here ... National Ice Cream Day for 2008! The third Sunday in July: this year it's 20 July.

It's a rather unusual 'Special Day' but one that more and more people are getting to know about and learning to celebrate. For some it will be a special trip to one of their favorite ice cream parlors whilst for others it will be to just stay home and make a batch of delicious homemade ice cream.

If you've never made your own ice cream before, now's the time to try. It's great fun and both children and adults alike can get involved and if you have an electric ice cream maker it doesn't take very long either. You can make a gelato (soft scoop) ice cream or choose from a whole range of sorbets; alternatively you can opt to make one of the more traditional custard/cream base ice creams such as vanilla ice cream or strawberry ice cream.

When you've made your ice cream it doesn't end there .... you can serve it in an ice cream cone or as an ice cream sundae or even go for the big one and try a Knickerbocker Glory (as in the photo).

Once you've made and eaten your ice cream you can then sit down and relax - and know that on this special day you have really played your part. So go to it and enjoy!

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Jul 7, 2008

National Ice Cream Month & National Ice Cream Day

Last year in July, I wrote about the 24th anniversary of 'National Ice Cream Month'. So this year of course it's going to be the 25th anniversary - a quarter of a century that Americans have officially recognised the importance of celebrating the magic of ice cream!

When you sit down and think about it, you begin to realise that ice cream is not just a treat; it was never going to be a passing fad either but it has become a part of modern culture. For many people ice cream is a symbol of fun, enjoyable summer days and brings back childhood memories chasing after the ice cream truck when it came down the street. I certainly remember that!

Today we have a marvellous rich variety of ice cream flavors to choose from - whether it's from the ice cream truck or whether you make your own homemade ice cream. You might choose a simple vanilla ice cream decorated with a delicious ice cream topping or sauce or you might prefer to try something a little more adventurous such as coconut ice cream. You can even go a step further and try making gelato for the first time. It's easy enough and there are some great, simple gelato recipes you can try out. Always sounds good too when you next meet up with friends and talk about how your gelato worked out - very impressive!

Oh and don't forget - 20 July is National Ice Cream Day this year.

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Jan 30, 2008

Gelato Ice Cream

Gelato is a word that seems to crop up more and more in everyday life and what we generally mean by it of course is Italian ice cream. The making of gelato, which is believed to have originated in Northern Italy, has a tradition that goes back a long way - to Roman times in fact. Then there's gelato made with water - sorbetto which originates from Southern Italy - another world of ice cream in itself!

I've visited Northern Italy, tasted real gelato there and also eaten gelato in Italian gelataria in other countries and I can vouch for how different it is to any other ice cream. The photo right is one I took of a wonderful gelataria in Zandvoort (Netherlands). Owned and operated by an Italian family, it is patronised not only by tourists but the local population too - which is always a good sign.

However, you don't have to travel to Italy or indeed even outside your home to enjoy good gelato as you can make it yourself. Here is a vanilla gelato (vaniglia gelato) recipe to try, one of the most popular gelato flavors; other popular ones include strawberry (fragola), chocolate (cioccolato) and banana. I've been busy preparing a few more gelato recipes and hopefully they will be live on the site very soon.

For anyone interested in more detailed information about what makes gelato ice cream different, I have a dedicated Gelato web page that might help give some insight.

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Nov 13, 2007

Ice Cream & Dentistry

I never cease to be amazed at the variety of opinions and taste people have about ice cream and, as my family will tell you, I relish the chance to talk to just about anyone on the subject. A trip to the dentist the other day offered a new and unusual opportunity for just such a conversation.

Apart from being a world class mountaineer having scaled the heights of K2 no less, Jim is a fantastic dental surgeon and a thoroughly nice person to boot. So, having fixed my tooth very quickly (and without any pain I might add!), I asked him if he liked ice cream. The answer .... an emphatic YES! When I asked his favorite flavor it turned out to be somewhat unusual - Caramel Shortbread (preferably from Cream O Galloway). I then asked his assistant if she liked ice cream and she told me how she adored the ice cream she had on holiday in Italy (aka Gelato). Before leaving the dental surgery I chatted with Gillian in reception who also confirmed a love of ice cream and when asked for a favorite flavor simply said 'All of them!'. Now that's what I call a true ice cream fan.

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