An Evening with the Leicester Riders

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On the 25th March we'll be hosting the Leicester Riders for an informal conversation about diet, great food, Slow Food and eating as an athlete. Tickets are free, but places are limited, so book now!

Order Tickets Now!

We'll be hosting an informal conversation at Gelato Village between our Maestri Gelatieri (Master Gelato Makers) and members of the award-winning Leicester Riders team and staff.

Come along to find out more about what makes our gelato special - including our use of use seasonal ingredients and the influence of Slow Food principles on our craft.

Of course, you'll get to enjoy the taste of a number of these products as the evening goes on! This will be followed by the players telling us a little more about their own experiences with food as professional athletes.

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Tickets are free, but places are strictly limited so please book your place so you can show a ticket on arrival. Seating will be available on a first come, first serve basis so please arrive early.

Find out more on Eventbrite.

What Makes Our Gelato?

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No, we don’t mean the machines, the process, or even the technique. We want to

tell you about the passion that goes into every batch of gelato we make, and how

it truly is artisan produced.

An artisan is a skilled worker who produces a product in a unique manner by

hand. This can cover a range of products from chocolate to furniture, and from

bread, to gelato.

Gelato Village is a culmination of a twenty year partnership between Daniele and

Antonio. They both hail from Torino, and have always had a colossal passion for

gelato. Both Daniele and Antonio left their jobs to pursue this passion of theirs,

and share it with all of us. Tireless effort, education and a thirst for all things

gelato has led them down the path to where they are today.

For Antonio, gelato is just like food to him. More nutritious than ice cream, he

often used it as a meal replacement in Italy:

“For me, it is a part of my culture. During my lunch break we would all go to have

gelato to fill ourselves up. If gelato is done correctly, it can provide you with energy

and an opportunity to socialize. I wanted to bring this part of my culture to

England.”

And that is precisely what Daniele and Antonio have done. But to get to where

they are now, took painstaking time and effort. We are all familiar with Italian

restaurants and in particular, pizza. We chase that ‘authentic’ Italian dining

experience, seeking out traditional restaurants. But what about Italian desserts?

Gelatarias are found nationwide in Italy, and independent gelatarias are more

popular than mass produced products. It was this authentic experience that

Antonio and Daniele wanted to bring to Leicester, a city where they both settled

many years ago.

The traditional aspect lies in the churning process known as ‘Mantecazione’. As

Antonio would put it:

“Artisan, by its very definition is slow. It’s not about how much you can produce,

with as little effort and time as possible. That is the focus of industry, to produce as

much as possible through continuous production. Ours is a different approach. It is

about perfecting each batch.”

It is this artisan approach that embodies Gelato Village’s approach. This

traditional slow-churning process of Mantecazione is what gives the gelato its

soft and creamy texture.

Gelato Village is meticulous in its ingredients. The flavours are always seasonal,

and being located less than 500 yards away from a fresh fruit market, they are

often in position to offer a variety of flavours – All fresh, and accustomed to local

tastes.

“Nobody is going to tell me what I put into my gelato. I decide.”

Daniele and Antonio both believe that the best gelato requires the best

ingredients. That is how you build upon the foundations of anything. The better

it begins, then the better the final product can be. If you’re making pistachio

gelato, then use the best pistachios. If it’s even something as simple as vanilla,

then use the best vanilla pods. This ‘no compromising’ attitude is what defines

Gelato Village in it’s quest to bring forth the best artisan produced gelato, and

best possible social experience to Leicester. The flavours are always region and

season specific. If it’s strawberry picking season in Leicestershire, than lets make

the best possible strawberry gelato by picking the all the best strawberries first.

If mango is a cultural staple for many of our customers? Then we better learn

which mangoes are the best, where we can get them from, and how we propose

to use them to make the best possible mango sorbet. Make no mistake, this is no

ordinary gelataria, and to call it just a dessert parlour is no less than an insult.

Starting from the beginning, Antonio enrolled at the Carpigiani University of

Gelato.

“I took this course, and I learnt what to buy, how to make the best flavours, and

most importantly, how to put it all together. I learnt from the best – People who

have been making gelato for generations. I have learnt so much from them, and I

am still learning. It is something that will never stop.”

The passion and commitment here is clear to see. For Gelato Village, the pleasure

is in the reaction of us. We who try the gelato. That is the ultimate aim. It’s not

enough to just convey the message by words, or even pictures. But in that

moment where patrons actually try the gelato – They then know the gelato. It

transcends words, and all other forms of communication. And that is the

reaction that Daniele, Antonio and the team at Gelato Village want to evoke. Go

ahead, try something different, and be prepared to be amazed.

Gianduia – Learn More

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A rich and sensual combination of hazelnut and chocolate. There’s more to gianduia than you think.

There is so much to say about gianduia, even though the idea is simple. When you think of Italy, what do you think about? Perhaps the rich history stretching from the Roman Empire and the Etruscans? Maybe the great period of the Renaissance? This is when art, science and political theory began to shape modern day Europe. Did you know that a flavour could be shaped by history?

 

What is gianduia?

Gianduia, or gianduja is a type of confectionery. The Northern Italian town of Turin was its place of invention. You make it using high quality cocoa and hazelnuts. To give extra flavour, you toast these hazelnuts. Chocolatiers use the mixture as a filling for pralines or chocolate bars.
 
Gianduia is also found as a spread. Yes, it was the inspiration for a worldwide brand of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Of course, this also has its origins in Turin. Visitors to Gelato Village will know that it makes a delicious gelato too! All the regions of Italy have adopted the flavour of gianduia in their gelato. It is a very common flavour across the country.

gianduia gelato, hazelnut chocolate

Where was gianduia invented?

During the Napoleonic Wars, Napoleon banned trade with Britain and its colonies. This had big implications for Italy’s love of chocolate! Several of the British colonies in West Africa grew cocoa. Napoleon’s ban made chocolate more scarce. With so little raw material available, how could chocolatiers stretch it out? The question remained, with such a demand for chocolate, but only so much available, how could chocolatiers make it stretch further? They looked to the produce of their own region for the answer.

The answer was all around them. Hazelnuts. Combining chocolate with crushed hazelnuts helped the chocolate available to go further, and made a delicious flavour! Hazelnuts in the Piedmont region, where the founders of Gelato Village are from, have a delicate flavour. They have Protected Geographic Indication status. They are grown in the regions of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria. This area was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2014 because of the nuts and of course, the wine. The confectionery industry uses almost all of the hazelnut crop. They have a sweet tooth in Turin!

Gianduia became even more popular during WWII. Rationing meant that chocolate was scarce and so again the gianduia recipe was a way of stretching it out with local ingredients that were abundant.

 

What is special about chocolate in Turin?

Turin is the spiritual home of chocolate in Europe. Gianduia’s invention is just the tip of the iceberg! Turin boasted the first hot chocolate being served at the first chocolate house in 1678. In the late 18th century, the Torinese developed the first filled chocolates, the ones that are most familiar to us today in boxes. This is the form the first gianduia took.

One of the most common forms of gianduia you find is the giandiuotto. These little golden wrapped chocolates are filled with cocoa and chopped, roasted hazelnuts. Delicious! They were first created by Michele Prochet in 1852. In, you guessed it, Turin. This city still produces over 40% of Italian chocolate.

 

How did gianduia get its name?

Gianduia is the name of a colourful carnival character. It is accepted to be a contraction of the Piemontese name ‘Gioan d’la Duja’. This means John of the Jug and referred to the tankard carried by the character. This character was used in 19th century political satire as a character representing Turin. The character’s long affiliation with the city made it a natural choice for a Torinese-invented chocolate.

Gianduia, Gianduja, Walther Jervolino
Gianduja e Giandujotto by Walther Jervolino

 

Gianduia was a character in the Commedia dell’arte. This is an old form of Italian theatre. The audience watches familiar ‘types’ of characters that are shown by actors in masks. Gianduia was an honest and faithful Piemontese man of the countryside. His key characteristics are his admiration for wine, food and good company. He is full of fun and laughter. The character began life as a puppet and then developed into a character played by an actor in the theatre.

Gianduia became the King of Carnival in Turin. In 1861 Turin was the seat of government for the new Kingdom of Italy. A group of citizens formed the ‘Society of Gianduia’. Their aim was to improve and expand the city’s celebration of Carnival. Unfortunately, this group faced disruption from political upheaval. There was four years of civil unrest and government left the city, But the Society was waiting. In 1865, Turin was finally able to celebrate its revamped carnival. The image of Gianduia’s popped up everywhere in the promotion of these events, and even songs developed celebrating him. The people of Piedmont see themselves as the Giandujot. They are the children of Gianduia. Full of fun and celebration – just like we want our gianduia gelato to be!

Hazelnut – Learn More

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Gentle, consistent and suave.

This gelato uses the perfect hazelnut to make gelato with. Sourced from

Piemonte, in North West Italy, these hazelnuts are grown in the ideal climate for

a gentle taste. It’s easy for this nut to get too strong, and too bitter. But the 100%

pure paste produced from this slowly ground nut has a subtle taste that

complements gelato better than any other. It is this nut that is considered the

best for baking cakes, pastries, and most importantly, gelato.

Due to the differences in climate, many other areas produce a nut that is far too

strong for anybody with a sweet tooth. This can result in an overbearing taste of

hazelnut. Our aim was to produce a hazelnut gelato that would be gentle,

consistent, and aromatic. Thanks to Antonio, this has been made possible.

There’s enough hazelnut to get that perfect flavour; consistent enough through

every bite, but not strong enough to take the indulgence away.

This particular hazelnut has been granted a ‘Protected Designation of Origin’

status by the EU due to its unique flavour. One thing worth noting, is that is has a

very slight hint of chocolate in both the scent, and flavour. This is because of how

closely hazelnut and chocolate are to the palate. As much as you may think you

can taste a touch of chocolate, there’s nothing but hazelnut goodness in this

gelato!

Pistachio – Learn More

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Unique, Fragrant and Bespoke. Antonio’s favourite.

Don’t like Pistachio you say? Well you will after trying our bespoke pistachio

gelato. There is just something truly special about this flavour, and we’re going to

share that special something with you.

Pistachio is very much a love/hate flavour, where people either run towards it,

or as far away from it as possible. But barring any nut allergies, we know for

certain that once you try ours, you’ll always be coming back for more!

Half a million years ago, Mount Etna first erupted. The largest active volcano in

Italy, Mount Etna is also responsible for the arguably the best pistachios on the

planet. The effect of millennia worth of lava overflowing has led to the soil in

Bronte, Sicily being perfect for pistachios. On the footsteps of Mount Etna, the

produce from this region are known as ‘The Green Gold’. Ever notice how

pistachios are always green in pictures, but in real life they’re actually more of a

brownish off-colour? Well these particular pistachios are actually green, and

have both a unique flavour and fragrance that is not like any other pistachio out

there.

This is the pistachio Antonio has hand selected for our gelato. A pistachio so

unique, that the European Union went as far as granting this pistachio a

‘Protected Designation of Origin’ status. A pistachio so green, that the colour

shines through our gelato. It needs no artificial colouring to give it that perfect

dull green pistachio tone.

The pistachio is harvested only once every two years, and even has a festival

dedicated to it in Sicily. And when there’s a yearly festival towards a nut? That’s

when you can begin to comprehend the passion exuded in this gelato. The

pistachio is slowly ground using a pestle and mortar. Slow, being the key word.

This is to ensure that during the crushing of the nut, the pistachio isn’t heated

too much. The risk here is that the pistachio will begin to burn, which will change

the flavour. By ever so slowly grinding the pistachio down, you end up with a

100% pure and unadulterated pistachio paste, which keeps 100% of the natural

pistachio flavour… Minus the shells of course!

Milk Chocolate – Learn More

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Does what it says on the tin. Only there’s no tin in our milk chocolate gelato.

There is one word that sums up all chocolate. Whether it is a hot chocolate, a

chocolate cake, or even a plain milk chocolate bar. And this includes milk

chocolate gelato too. That one word is balance.

Balance is everything to all things chocolate. Too much chocolate, and you feel

sick after a few bites. Not enough? Then there’s really no point to the chocolate!

But it really isn’t as simple as ‘how much’ chocolate you use rather; it’s about the

type of chocolate too.

Many chocolatiers have stated that the beauty in chocolate is in its art, not

science. That’s why artisan chocolate is so unique. And it’s the same with gelato.

If the chocolate is too dark, you can’t just use less to provide the necessary

balance. The balance involves not only the amount of chocolate, but the how, the

when, and the why.

And that ‘why’ is key to our milk chocolate gelato. We choose a very specific

grade of chocolate that is milky in nature, but with a slight touch of darkness. Try

and think somewhere between Swiss (milk) chocolate, and Belgian (dark)

chocolate. The genius behind this balance is Antonio. Responsible for all our

recipes, he is meticulous with each and every ingredient used.

Gelato, by its very definition, naturally contains milk. Remember when we spoke

of balance earlier? Well it’s necessary to bare in mind that there is milk in the

chocolate, and milk in the gelato. I’m fairly confident you know precisely where

we’re going with this! Now the next thing you may be thinking is, why not use

dark chocolate?

And the answer is because this isn’t a dark chocolate gelato! It’s a milk chocolate

gelato, and our focus is ensuring that the inherent chocolaty goodness comes

through in the flavour, in a manner that pay careful homage to the fine balancing

act that goes into all artisan produced chocolate products.

Through painstaking thought, Antonio discovered not only the perfect grade of

chocolate to use, but how much of it to use as well to ensure the perfect milk

chocolate flavoured gelato. You can always taste both the milk and the chocolate

in this gelato working in perfect balance and harmony. It’s just something that

we know your children would love too!

Coffee – Learn More

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Rich smooth and soothing. Simply piquant.

Everyone loves coffee. It really is as simple as that. All across the world, from The

Americas through Europe, and from Africa to Asia. There is not a single place on

Earth that coffee has not touched, and Gelato Village is no different. Casual

drinkers and connoisseurs alike have enjoyed coffee for centuries. From the 15th

Century when the first coffee shop was opened, coffee spread from Ethiopia to

the entire world. With such a rich history, wide cultivation, coffee plays a huge

part of our culture today. Naturally, it is only fitting that we not only hand make

coffee gelato, but that we perfect how we do it too.

Antonio (Our resident expert on all things gelato, and graduate of the University

of Gelato) uses freshly ground Italian coffee beans. The grain is carefully selected

to balance the natural acidity of coffee, with the inherent sweetness of gelato.

Many coffee flavoured ‘ice creams’ and even gelatos may utilise powdered or

instant forms of coffee. Some may even opt to use what is known as an

‘Americano’ as the base. However at Gelato Village, we feel strongly about using

Espresso Coffee in our gelato.

There are many benefits to why we use an espresso base to build our gelato.

Espressos by their very definition are stronger and less concentrated. They also

contain a high level of acidity, which offsets the alkaline nature of gelato. This

allows Antonio to create a coffee gelato that is strong in flavour, but not at all

bitter. The lack or artificial or ‘processed’ coffee bases ensure a smooth and

piquant flavour that does not suffer from the watery nature of Americano’s, or

the unnatural taste of using instant or artificial flavourings.

The result is simply divine. It is something at Gelato Village that we are all proud

of. We mean when we say our coffee gelato is rich, smooth and soothing. It is this

contrasting combination of sensations that make our coffee gelato truly unique

and piquant. Try it, and you’ll know exactly what we mean.

Stracciatella – Learn More

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Stracciatella is one of the most popular types of gelato in Italy. It has been well loved since its invention in 1962 because of its unique combination of taste and texture.

 

What is stracciatella?

The word stracciatella means ‘torn apart’ in Italian. In Italian cuisine, stracciatella was originally a kind of soup that comes from Rome. Whisked egg with parmesan is poured slowly into hot chicken broth that is continuously stirred. This creates shreds of egg that run through the soup. This concept inspired Enrico Panattoni of Bergamo, which is north-east of Milan. He used the same technique in 1962, but using Fior di Latte gelato and pure melted dark chocolate. This created a bright white gelato, cut through with tiny shards of chocolate.

 

stracciatella, gelato

What makes stracciatella gelato special?

Stracciatella is one of the most technically difficult gelati to execute correctly. When the melted chocolate is slowly poured into a vertical batch freezer, the contact with the cold gelato immediately sets the chocolate. The sudden change in temperature tempers the chocolate, giving it the unique ‘crispy’ temperature. The continual churning breaks down the tempered chocolate so that you enjoy hundreds of small crispy shards in every bite! If the process is not done correctly, the chocolate will melt slightly into the gelato, giving a slightly brown colour and ruining the texture.

True stracciatella is never made with chocolate chips! That would be ‘chocolate chip gelato’ 😄

 

How we make stracciatella at Gelato Village

Sadly we do not have a traditional vertical batch freezer here at Gelato Village. This is a source of much heartache for our Maestro Gelatiere, Antonio De Vecchi. The tempering of the chocolate is much more accurate using a vertical machine and less prone to unexpected errors. One day we will be able to afford one for him! Antonio had a lot of fun making stracciatella in a vertical machine at the Cheese festival in Bra, Italy in 2017.

 

 

This means that we have to cheat to make stracciatella in our horizontal batch freezer. We pour the melted chocolate on to the Fior di Latte gelato mix which immediately goes into the freezer to temper the chocolate. We then crack the chocolate and churn the gelato to ensure the tempered chocolate is thoroughly incorporated. Our Fior di Latte gelato is the showcase for our local milk from Vine Farm Dairy in Leicestershire, while the chocolate we use is high quality Domori Vidamà chocolate from the Ivory Coast.