Tonight is the first church softball game of the season. David plays, usually as the catcher. He enjoys it and amber and I usually go and watch the games. Sometimes we go out for ice cream afterward. I kinda wish we could go out for gelato, but while they sell it at the grocery store, we don’t really have a gelato shop locally.
Gelato is a delicacy that has been a part of human history for more than a millennium. As far back as 3,000 BC, cultures in Asia began the custom of consuming ice that was crushed and topped with different flavorings. Flash forward five centuries into the future and Egyptian pharaohs were offering their guests crushed ice that was mixed with fruit juices. Later the Romans adopted this culture. They would collect ice from the volcano Vesuvius, and they would mix it with honey and serve it as a dessert.
Gelato, as it is currently known, had start during the Italian Renaissance. There was a contest that was performed in Florence. The purpose of the contest was to find the best frozen dessert. A chicken farmer from the area named Ruggeri created a dish that was a mixture of ice and sweet frozen fruits. This dessert is comparable to what people today referred to as sherbet. His dessert won the contest and his fame immediately spread throughout Italy.
The Medici family, the sponsors of the contest, fell in love with Ruggeri and his dessert. In fact, the matriarch of the family invited Ruggeri to accompany her on a trip to France. She believed this dessert, a predecessor to gelato, could rival anything that French cooks could create. She demanded that Ruggeri prepare the dessert at her wedding to the future king of France.
A few years later, in the late 1500’s the Medici family were once again entertaining royalty. This time they were entertaining the king of Spain. In order to impress the king of Spain the Medici family commissioned Bernardo Buontalenti to make a visually stunning and delicious feast for the king. Included in his feast, Bernardo Buontalenti presented the king of Spain with a frozen dessert that had a creamy texture to it. This dessert is what is now called gelato.
Gelato has a very illustrious history. There was a period of time when it was considered food that was prepared specifically for royalty. Now, around the world there are thousands of gelato shops. Each one has gelato pan liners full of the delicious creamy frozen dessert for sale. Many of these gelato restaurants purchase spoons, cups, and other utensils to be used at their shops from online stores like Gelato Products for example. The small colorful plastic spoons that are used to eat gelato are easily recognizable around the world and are part of what makes the gelato eating experience so enjoyable.
Gelato just seems so much fancier than ice cream. But I wonder if you can get sprinkles on it.