Gourmet Shot: Boozy Gelato

Romans are traditionalists, and that philosophy extends even to dessert. All the gelato shops across the city offer pistachio, chocolate, hazelnut and strawberry, but just one boozy flavor—zabaione, an egg yolk and Marsala wine custard—makes the list of standards. Recently, though, at a small but growing number of artisanal gelaterie, the selection has gotten a spirited makeover.

At Vice, which has several locations, conventional zabaione is enhanced with some super-premium Florio Targa Riserva 1840 Marsala. (Most of its competitors use cheaper wines.) The white chocolate gelati are another delicious choice, with one variety incorporating rum and the other Grand Marnier.

The popular flavors at Il Gelato Bistrò near the Vatican include a ricotta, Cointreau and candied orange zest combo, as well as dark chocolate and rum. There’s even a weekly happy hour held on Fridays, where drinks are served with savory gelati. Port is paired with gorgonzola gelato, Champagne with oyster sorbet and a spiced Spritz with sushi and a side of wasabi gelato.

Alcoholic ice creams are also among the featured varieties sold at Gelateria Fatamorgana’s six outposts around Rome. Owner Maria Agnese Spagnuolo is known for her whimsical combinations and her flair for wine- and spirit-spiked gelato. The chain is constantly changing its menu based on the season and her whims, but you might find a rum-and-walnut, a popcorn-and-Campari or a raspberry Mojito on the list.

Not only are these fanciful creations a refreshing summer snack, but they are also fairly easy to make at home. Try the Apple, Almond and Cinnamon, Pear and Port, and Punch Paradise gelato recipes from Spagnuolo’s just-released book, Gelati e Salute. Cin cin!

Apple, Almond and Cinnamon Gelato

Contributed by Maria Agnese Spagnuolo
INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 oz Apples, peeled, cored and chopped coarsely
  • 8 oz Water
  • 3.5 oz (about .5 cup) Sugar
  • 1 oz Calvados
  • 3.5 oz Peeled toasted almonds
  • 3 Cinnamon sticks, grated

PREPARATION:
Combine the apple, water, sugar and calvados in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the apple becomes translucent, about 20 minutes. Add the almonds and cinnamon, and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Cool in an ice bath and then refrigerate until the mixture reaches 40°F. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze until the mixture begins to obtain the consistency of sorbet. Transfer to a closed container, seal and store in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Serve garnished with ground toasted almonds.

Pear and Port Gelato

Contributed by Maria Agnese Spagnuolo
INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 oz Whole pears (2 to 3 large fruits), peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1.75 oz Port
  • .2 oz (about 1 tsp) Elderflowers (fresh or dried)
  • 7 oz Water
  • 3.5 oz (a bit less than .5 cup) Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Honey

PREPARATION:
Combine all the ingredients in a deep pot over low heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree until smooth with an immersion blender. Place the pot into an ice bath and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze until the desired consistency. Transfer to a closed container, seal and store in the freezer for at least 2 hours.

Punch Paradise Gelato

Contributed by Maria Agnese Spagnuolo
INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 oz Fresh strawberries, stemmed
  • 2 oz Lemon juice (approximately 1.5 lemons)
  • 3.5 oz Water
  • 4 oz (about .5 cup) Sugar
  • 2 oz White wine (gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau or other aromatic varietal)

PREPARATION:
In a bowl, combine strawberries and lemon juice, and set aside. Stir together the water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove the syrup from the heat, let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it until it reaches 40°F. Blend the syrup and strawberry mixture in a blender until smooth. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze until the mixture begins to obtain the consistency of sorbet. Add the wine and freeze for another 8 minutes. Transfer to a closed container, seal and store in the freezer for at least 2 hours. Serve garnished with fresh strawberries or ground pistachios.

Katie Parla is a Rome-based writer and tour guide, and is the author of the blog Parla Food, the mobile apps Katie Parla’s Rome and Katie Parla’s Istanbul, and the book National Geographic’s Walking Rome.

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