A Gelato Week: Fun with DeLonghi

by Laura on June 4, 2013

in A Year in Our Kitchen 2013, Food, Test Kitchen

CherryGelato450

Years ago while attending a food trade show in Parma, Italy, a colleague and I went in search to find the best gelato in the city. Italy is known for its gelato, with these small shops speckled throughout each city, town and village, all deliciously rich and creamy but we knew that there had to be a local favorite. And we were determined to find it.

As we strolled through the streets of Parma, we took to tasting the gelato in nearly every gelateria we happened upon. From gianduja and pistachio to zabaione and limone, we were satisfied and happy – who wouldn’t be with a belly full of gelato. Then, we turned the corner towards the Parma Duomo to take in a little sightseeing at the Romanesque cathedral. As we stood in front of the Duomo of Parma, we couldn’t take our eyes off the beautiful architecture of the cathedral, and its enchanting bell tower. Until, we spotted what we had come for. Just to the right of the Duomo, at the edge of a street was a small gelateria with a line out the door.

We had found what we had been looking for. With the town filled with places to buy gelato, this one was the business. We jammed our bodies into the crowd and threw our arm up to get the attention of the gelato-tender.

After a first paying for our gelato, were spotted by the girl behind the counter (how could we not be? We were the two older American’s among all the Italian kids). Happy my colleague could fluently speak Italian, he ordered us cones with two flavors each and we were soon on our way.

Every time I have gelato, I remember that search. I remember how refreshing it was, and how with each gelato I enjoy, it returns me to that plaza in Parma.

I buy it, but have never made it. Until recently. My friends at DeLonghi sent over the gelato maker for me to test. We make ice cream frequently, occasionally sorbet, but never gelato. I was anxious to give it a try (and, so were the kids).

I grabbed some sweet cherries at the farmer’s market and headed on home to crank up the machine. I truly was surprised at how easy it was to make.

Just a few key ingredients –cherries, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla – and I was on my way to creating an unforgettable treat for the family. A quick reading ot he instructions, and I had the machine going in no time. The directions were easy to follow and there wasn’t much of a set-up time to get me going.

Albeit a bit soft once finished, I found that we could enjoy the gelato immediately – if we were to eat it immediately. But, I wanted to savor the flavor a bit – so I placed the prepared gelato in the freezer for a short while to harden it up.

During that time, I re-read the instruction booklet and realized that if I wanted it to prepare the gelato faster, I could cool the cylinder before adding the ingredients. So, for the next batch – chocolate – I gave that a try.

BLueberries300X300Soon after, we made coffee gelato, followed by another chocolate per the kids request, and then the kids got into the act. Nicole spotted fresh blueberries on the counter and pleaded with me, “Can I please help you make blueberry gelato!!!”

Before we knew it, we were taste testing flavorful and fresh gelato – and she was thinking of the next flavor she was to conquer.

I love the ease of which to prepare the gelato, the engagement of the children, and the fact that I can enjoy Italian ice cream with the ingredients I want to put into it. And, forget about the ‘I don’t have time” From start to finish its about 45 minutes, but active time is, at the most, 15 minutes.

Once I got into the mode,  I could have the machine up and running in not time at all.

The  DeLonghi Automatic Gelato Maker GM600 is extremely simple to use. There are not a lot of pieces to worry about, and the dial is straightforward and intuitive to use. The footprint of the unit is no bigger than my stand mixer, and it is just as heavy (but that’s because of the compressor).

DelonghiGelato250

It has a 1.2 liter capacity cylinder, which makes enough for 6-8 portions – but that’s what the recipe book says . . . our portions are obviously bigger than the Italians. The capacity gives us a nice sized dessert for six – but, clearly no room for seconds. However, what is good about the DeLonghi gelato maker is that the compressor immediately brings ingredients to temperatures below freezing. It also allows me to make multiple batches of gelato simultaneously without having to refreeze the container.

Easy to use dial

Easy to use dial

That makes it helpful for parties, when my kids want different flavors, and for stocking up the freezer with delicious homemade gelato (Something I am in the process of doing, as this was machine was loaned to me, so that I could give it a test drive.). Oh, for the next week or so, I’ll be kept happy with gelato. After the freezer is empty, I think I’ll have to

The DeLonghi Gelato Maker retails for a suggested price of $299.95. You can learn more about it at the company website, or purchase it here.

 

 

 

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