Gelato… one of the most popular Italian desserts in the world… what’s its origin?

Did you know that the concept we have today of ice cream was born more than 2000 years ago?

In China sorbets were produced by putting fruit juices or wine in barrels on which a mixture of snow and saltpetre was poured to lower the freezing point of the water. At the same time in the Middle East they consumed chorbets (or sharbet), frozen fruit drinks from which the word “sorbet” derives today. How? Transporting on camels the snow from the mountains, compressed in sacks, and then storing it in houses specially built for this purpose.

At the court of Alexander the Great, frozen drinks were prepared by mixing chopped fruit with honey and snow.
This technique was then perpetuated between the Greeks and also Romans who did not hesitate to transport tons of packed snow and blocks of ice from the Alps to the capital Rome. Upon arrival, snow and ice were buried in wells for conservation. The Roman emperor Nero also delighted his guests with fruit crushed with honey and snow.
A few centuries later, the merchant and explorer Marco Polo brought the principle of the Chinese ice cream maker to Italy in the 13th century.
The name of the Italian pastry chef who had the idea of ​​adding cream by transforming the sorbet into ice cream remains unknown today.
One thing is certain, thanks to him and to Caterina de Medici, Italy still maintains the primacy in terms of ice cream! Initially, sorbets found a place in the celebrations of the Italian nobility. But soon the frozen dessert spread to all the main celebrations in Europe. It was Caterina de ‘Medici who brought it to the French court after her marriage to Henry II.
In the nineteenth century, Italians continued to export the tradition of their “gelato” abroad reaching the United States.

The industrial production of Italian ice cream then spread over the world and arrives now on our tables. But the authentic taste of Italian ice cream still triumphs in its artisan production which makes it unquestionably unique!

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