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Dolcezza Gelato & The Difference Between Gelato & Ice Cream

A Scoop Of Dolcezza Hazelnut Crackle Ice Cream
[1] A scoop of Hazelnut Crackle gelato, a limited edition (all photos © Dolcezza Gelato).

Pecan Sundae With Dolzezza Gelato's Rye Whiskey Pecan Praline Ice Cream
[2] A sundae with another limited edition, Rye Whiskey Pecan Praline ice cream.

Dolcezza Gelato 4 Pints
[3] How many pints can you eat in a day? A week?

Ice Cream Cone 3 Scoops From Dolcezza Gelato
[4] Can you eat a three scoops on a cone? Here, Mascarpone & Berries, Espresso, and Roasted Strawberry).

Dishes Of Lemon Ricotta Cardamom Ice Cream From Dolcezza Gelato
[5] Lemon Ricotta Cardamom, another limited edition.

A Rocks Glass Of Coconut Dulce De Leche Ice Cream From Dolcezza Gelato
[6] Coconut Dulce de Leche “on the rocks”—in a rocks glass (yes, it’s a limited edition).

Open-Top Pints Of Dolcezza Gelato
[7] Open pints, clockwise from top: Roasted Strawberry, Swiss Chocolate, Mint Straciatella, Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel. Center: Mascarpone & Berries.

Mascarpone & Berries Dolcezza Gelato Pint
[8] Mascarpone and Berries. Mascarpone, the fresh cheese that adds such creaminess to tiramisu, makes this flavor stand out.

Dolcezza Straciatella Gelato Pint
[9] Straciatella, the Italian version of chocolate chip, with chocolate flakes instead of chips.

 

For National Ice Cream Month, July, it figures that at least of one of our Top Picks Of The Week should be an artisan ice cream brand. This year, the wonderful ice cream we’ve chosen is from Dolcezza Gelato (the name means sweetness).

Before we proceed with the glories of Dolcezza Gelato (which you can see in the photos), there’s an editorial note:

Dolcezza isn’t classic Italian gelato. It’s superpremium ice cream.

Why not call it ice cream? It was inspired by a gelato shop in Argentina (more about that later).

Call it whatever; just call it delicious.
 
 
A BRIEF COMMENTARY ON GELATO IN THE U.S.

Around the turn of the century (the 21st), the gelato craze hit America.

It was begun, as we recall, by entrepreneurs who encountered gelato on trips to Europe and South America, and wanted to recreate those luscious flavors back in the U.S.

As the companies got media exposure and word of mouth for their delectable products, larger ice cream producers wanted in on the action.

Some of the players made authentic gelato; the differences are in the next section.

Others used the name for products that were actually ice cream.

It was all delicious, so no one complained to the FDA. But for the sake of fact, we’re going to tell you the difference.

If you don’t care, just skip to the Dolcezza Gelato section below.
 
 
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ITALIAN GELATO AND ICE CREAM

Gelato is Italian-style ice cream. It was invented in the 1500s, two centuries before Thomas Jefferson returned from Europe with America’s first machine to make the frozen dessert (the history of ice cream).

Gelato comes from the Italian word for “frozen.” (congelare means “to freeze,” congelato is “frozen”).

There are two main differences between gelato and American ice cream.

  • One is the fat content. The less fat, making the flavors more intense the flavor.
  • The other is the overrun, the amount of air whipped in as the product is churning). Less overrun makes gelato more dense. (Overrun is why popularly-priced ice cream brands like Breyers have a lighter texture than superpremium brands like Häagen-Dazs).
  •  
    But mostly:
     
    It’s Mostly About The Fat

    Fat coats the tongue and its taste buds, and diminishes ability to taste the fruit, chocolate, or other flavor. Classic gelato, with much less fat, delivers more intense flavor.

  • “Classic” Italian gelato typically has 4% to 8% butterfat, although Ciao Bella Gelato, the first major U.S., brand, has 12% butterfat. Per the FDA’s Standards of Identity, ice cream must have a minimum of 10% butterfat, and superpremium ice creams have a butterfat content of 15% to 18%.
  • Gelato recipes tend to have a higher proportion of flavoring than ice cream. This also contributes to heightened flavor.
  • Gelato is made with whole milk and a much smaller amount of cream, the reason for the lower fat levels. In the U.S., it’s the opposite.
  • However, U.S. ice cream industry professionals dispute this differential because there is no U.S. Standard of Identity for gelato (here are the Standards of Identity for ice cream).
  • In addition, as there is no one style of ice cream in America, there is no longer one style of gelato in Italy. Over time, the style of gelato has evolved significantly by region.
  • In the south of Italy, particularly in Sicily, gelato is made with milk and no egg yolks, and sometimes includes a thickener such as cornstarch. This is the “classic” style, old school.
  • In central Italy, for example, in Tuscany, gelato is made from a milk and egg custard. In the north, it is very rich, as northern Italians use cream and eggs to make their gelato—a French custard-style.
  •  
    America, a culture with a fondness for “the more fat the better,” agrees with Tuscany. So the fat levels of most American gelato brands crept up and up, until they reached the richness levels of superpremium ice cream.
     
    The Overrun

  • Unlike ice cream, gelato machinery whips almost no air into the product (i.e., much less overrun), resulting in a dense and more intensely-flavored product. For example, the American brand Ciao Bella Gelato contains 20% air by volume (overrun) compared to 60% in most American brands.
  • No matter what the recipe, all gelato has little or no overrun. The air that is whipped into lower- and medium-end American ice cream brands gives them a lighter texture. As a result, gelato is denser than traditional American ice cream, and this density helps to produce the more heightened flavor.
  •  
    Are you bored? Confused? At the end of the day, while the differences between gelato and ice cream are not observed religiously in the U.S., they’re no longer observed in Italy, either.

    And whatever the fat content, all comers are delicious.

    > The history of ice cream.

    > The differenece between ice cream and other frozen desserts.
     
     
    DOLCEZZA GELATO, OUR TOP PICK OF THE WEEK

    Dolcezza Gelato was inspired by a trip to Buenos Aires in 2000, and a visit to the popular gelato shop, Freddo (if you’re interested, Freddo is nowfranchising).

    Dolcezza founders Robb & Violeta, captivated by the flavors at Freddo, returned to the U.S. with a desire to make gelato. They opened their door in the upscale Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. in July 2004 (National Ice Cream Month).

    They had never made gelato, but they knew that by using the best ingredients and artisan techniques, they would create something good.

    What became a gelato destination has expanded to seven locations in the D.C. area, and Dolcezza pints are now carried by Whole Foods Markets.

    Dolcezza Gelato is made with whole milk and heavy cream, like most superpremium ice creams. You’ll also see nonfat dry milk powder on the ingredients label of Dolzezza and other brands.

    The dry milk powder is used to increase the solids content of the ice cream and give it more body.

    (And it may give some justification to some ice cream enthusiasts that it is also an important source of protein that improves the ice cream’s nutrition.)
     
    Dolcezza Gelato Flavors

    We recently indulged in pints of Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Mascarpone & Berries, and Peanut Butter Straciatella.

    Except for the Peanut Butter Straciatella—which is delicious but more of what we’d call a “fun flavor” with crunchy flakes of chocolate—there is an elegance on the palate to the flavors.

    Richness and intensity of flavor combine into a sublime experience. You’ll want more than one pint from the current lineup:

  • Butter Pecan
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Mascarpone & Berries (our favorite!)
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter Stracciatella
  • Roasted Strawberry
  • Salted Caramel
  • Stracciatella
  • Vanilla Bean
  •  
    For the more fanciful flavors, you’ll need to head to a shop in the D.C. area.
     
     
    GET YOUR DOLCEZZA GELATO

    Head to Whole Foods nationwide, or track down another store near you with the store locator.

    Order online from Goldbelly.

    The website is DolcezzaGelato.com. But it’s a frustrating website: There isn’t even a menu of flavors.

     

     
     

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    A Pina Colada Cake Recipe For National Pina Colada Day

    Goslings Rum adapted this rom Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman (photo #6).

    It’s an iced brown sugar cake made with pineapple, coconut, and lots of rum, rum, rum (photo #1)!

    Goslings Black Seal (photo #2) is a full-flavored dark, barrel-aged rum blended in Bermuda from different triple pot-distilled rums.

    The raw rum distillates come from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad, Caribbean islands where the sugar cane grows.

    The blended rum is then aged for 3 to 6 years in re-charred American oak barrels previously used to age bourbon.

    The result is a rum with a rich, intricate flavor, well balanced with notes of sweet spices, stewed fruits, and vanilla.

    Gosling’s Black Seal rum is Bermuda’s largest export!

    If you don’t have Gosling’s but do have spiced rum, you can substitute it.

    However, a bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal will enable you to make the popular Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail.

    The recipe follows, but first:

    > The history of the Piña Colada and the original recipe.

    > The history of cake and the different types of cakes.
     
     
    RECIPE: PIÑA COLADA CAKE

     
    Ingredients For The Brown Sugar Cake

  • 3¾ cups (525g) cake flour*
  • 1¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ cups (393g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (226g/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¾ cups (420ml) buttermilk
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cups (160ml) Goslings Black Seal Rum, to assemble the cake
  •  
    Ingredients For The Pineapple Filling

  • 1 can (560g/20oz) crushed pineapple in juice (no sugar added)
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped with the back of a knife
  •  
    Ingredients For Coconut Buttercream

  • 3 eggs whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (200g) caster sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • 2½ sticks (280g/10oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
  •  
    Garnish

  • ½ cup (50g) sweetened shredded coconut (toasted if desired)
  • Pineapple slices or chunks
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter three 9-inch/22cm cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the parchment as well.

    2. SIFT together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the large bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk gently to combine. Add the brown sugar, butter, and 1½ cups of the buttermilk to the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low…

    3. BLEND the ingredients to incorporate. Then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

    4. WHISK the eggs with the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk and the vanilla, and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and beating only long enough to incorporate between additions. Divide the batter between the 3 pans.

    5. BAKE for 25-28 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks, carefully peel off the parchment, and allow to cool completely.

    6. MAKE the frosting. Place the egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to boil and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238°F on a candy thermometer.

    7. BEAT the egg whites briefly at medium speed. Slowly add the hot syrup into the egg whites in a thin stream, being careful to avoid the beaters. Continue to whip until the meringue has cooled. With the mixer on low speed…

    8. GRADUALLY add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, and continue to beat until a smooth, fluffy frosting forms.

    9. ADD the coconut milk approximately 4 tablespoons at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl well after each addition. Add the coconut extract and mix until smooth.

    10. MAKE the pineapple filling. Combine the crushed pineapple, sugar, and lime juice in a large nonreactive skillet (enamel, nonstick, or stainless steel, but not aluminum, copper or iron). Add the vanilla bean, including the pod. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, 2 to 3 minutes.

    11. RAISE the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until the juices have almost completely evaporated and the pineapple has a jamlike consistency. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla pod.

    12. LET the pineapple filling cool completely before proceding. (It can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Return it to room temperature before using.)

     

    Pina Colada Cake Recipe With Rum
    [1] Gosling’s variation on a Pina Colada cake (photos #1 and #2 Gosling’s Rum).

    Goslings Black Seal Dark Rum
    [2] Gosling’s Black Seal, a dark rum, is Bermuda’s largest export.

    Pina Colada Cake Recipe
    [3] Fresh pineapple wedges and toasted coconut garnish this cake, which uses a coconut cake as its base. Here’s the recipe (photo © Cakes By Courtney).

    Pina Colada & Mango Ice Cream Cake Recipe
    [4] How about a Pina Colada ice cream cake? This one adds some mango. Here’s the recipe (photo © Taste | Australia).

    Pina Colada Layer Cake Recipe
    [5] This Pina Colada cake covered the sides with toasted coconut and decorates the top with piped buttercream pineapples. Here’s the recipe (photo © Treats San Francisco).

    Sky High Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes Cookbook
    [6] Sky-High Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes, which inspired this recipe. You can get it from your local bookseller or from Amazon (photo © Chronicle Books).

     
    13. ASSEMBLE. Place one cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Sprinkle a generous 3 tablespoons of rum over the cake. Spread half of the pineapple filling over the layer, leaving a 1/4-inch margin around the edge.

    14. ADD the second layer, sprinkle with more rum, and cover with the remaining filling. Top with the third layer, flat side up, and sprinkle with the remaining rum.

    15. FROST the top and sides of the cake with the coconut buttercream. Decorate with coconut shreds and thin slices of pineapple.

     
     

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    Watermelon Ice Cream Bars Recipe For National Watermelon Month

    Watermelon Ice Cream Bars Recipe
    [1] These watermelon ice cream bars are made without an ice cream machine (photos #1, #2, #4 © The National Watermelon Promotion Board).

    Watermelon Juice Recipe
    [2] Homemade watermelon juice is simple: Just pulse watermelon cubes in a blender.

    Glass Of Watermelon Juice
    [3] A glass of watermelon juice is a refreshing snack (photo © Hyhoon 1210 | Dreamstime).

    Watermelon Ice Cream Soda Recipe
    [4] How about a watermelon ice cream float? Here’s the recipe.

    Sliced Seedless Watermelon
    [5] Seedless watermelons are much easier for making juice, and have just as much flavor as the seeded variety* (photo © Good Eggs).

     

    Not surprisingly, July is National Watermelon Month. We love watermelon in many ways, from beverages to relishes to simple slices for snacks and pickled watermelon rind for the leftover. But we’ve never come across a watermelon ice cream recipe.

    Now here it is, and you don’t need an ice cream machine.

    Find more sweet summer recipe ideas at Watermelon.org.

    > The history of watermelon.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: WATERMELON ICE CREAM BARS

    This recipe has a number of steps, but the result is a delightful dessert with nuanced flavors. Watermelon gelato is layered with a whipped cream watermelon fruit curd, and set over a graham cracker crust.

    The garnish for this recipe is fresh basil leaves. But if you have the inclination (we did!) and a bit more time, candied basil leaves.
     
    Ingredients For 8 Bars

    For The Watermelon Curd

  • 3/4 cup watermelon juice (buy or use the recipe below“>below)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into small cubes
  •  
    For The Crust

  • 8 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  •  
    For The Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the watermelon curd. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the watermelon juice, lime juice, honey, and salt. Stir to combine, then add the eggs.

    2. PLACE the pan over medium heat and cook, adding the cubed butter and stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

    3. IMMEDIATELY REMOVE remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Cool completely in the refrigerator.

    4. MAKE the crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until rough crumbs form. Add the honey, salt, and melted butter; pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.

    5. LINE an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper, then press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, or until it just beginning to brown. Allow the crust to cool completely.

    6. MAKE the whipped cream: When crust and curd are completely cooled, whip the cream in a large bowl, until stiff peaks form.

    7. GENTLY PUSH the cream to one side of the bowl and pour in the watermelon curd. Using a spatula, gently fold the cream and watermelon curd together until no streaks are visible.

    8. POUR the creamy watermelon mixture over graham cracker crust. Freeze the dessert completely, for 4-6 hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    9. LOOSEN the sides with a small spatula or butter knife. Turn out onto a cutting board and use a large spatula to flip so the graham cracker crust is on the bottom. Cut into eight bars and top each with a basil leaf.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: WATERMELON JUICE

    Watermelon juice is so delicious, and the lowest in calories among the fruit juices. It’s easier to make this recipe with seedless watermelon (photo #5), so you don’t have to pick out the seeds before blending the fruit.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 watermelon, washed and cut into chunks
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PROCESS 2-3 cups of watermelon at a time in a blender, until smooth.

    2. STRAIN into serving pitcher or other container. Note that if you decide not to strain it, the juice will need to be stirred until blended prior to serving.
     
     
    ________________

    *Some people claim that seeded watermelons have a better flavor than seedless varieties. This isn’t so. The flavor and sweetness of a watermelon is determined by many different factors, such as the variety, climate and soil where it was grown, and when it was harvested.

    Seeded watermelons are less expensive, and people who like to chew the seeds will get many nutrients from them.

    Seedless watermelons were bred some 50 years ago by altering the number of chromosomes (this was natural breeding, NOT genetic modification).

    Watermelon trivia: The seeds are called pips, the industry term for a small, hard fruit seed especially, one of a several-seeded fleshy fruit like watermelon. [source].

     

     
     

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    Chimichurri Sauce Recipe For Grilled Steak, Poultry & More

    July 9th is Argentina’s Independence Day, Día de la Independencia. The independence of Argentina from Spain was declared on July 9th, 1816. Celebrate with this blender chimichurri sauce recipe and your favorite grilled food.

    Chimichurri (chih-mee-CHOO-ree) is Argentina’s national condiment. In Spanish, it’s a salsa (each Latin American country has its own salsa recipes).

    In Argentina, chimichurri is the must-serve sauce with steak, but is equally delicious with anything grilled or roasted: chicken, fish, lamb, pork, vegetables, and potatoes.

    This yummy blender chimichurri sauce recipe is from Colavita Recipes.

    It couldn’t be simpler to make in your blender or food processor.

    The recipe follows, but first:

    > The history of chimichurri sauce.

    > A additional chimichurri recipe.

    > How to create your signature chimichurri sauce.

    > 21 ways to use chimichurri sauce.
     
     
    RECIPE: BLENDER CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

    You can prepare chimichurri a day in advance, and keep it tightly capped in a container in the fridge.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 small handful fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 large handfuls fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: a few dashes or more red chili flakes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PULSE the oregano, parsley, garlic, vinegar, and olive oil until the mixture resembles a chunky paste.

    2. TASTE. Adjust the salt and pepper as desired.

    3. ALLOW the flavors to meld for 2 hours. That’s it!
     
     
     
     
     

    CHECK OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING
    ON OUR HOME PAGE
    THENIBBLE.COM.

     

    Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
    [1] Easy blender chimichurri sauce (photo © Colavita Recipes).

    Beef With Chimichurri Sauce & A Glass Of Red Wine
    [2] Chimichurri is the go-to sauce for steak and other grilled meats (photo © Organic Beef Company | Facebook).

    Roasted Beets With Chimichurri Sauce
    [3] Chimichurri is delicious on roasted or grilled vegetables, like potatoes and these roasted beets (photo © Quinciple) | Farm To People).

     

      

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    It’s National Ice Cream Month. What Is Brain Freeze?

    Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream Cone In A Metal Stand
    [1] An elegant ice cream cone (photo © Claudio Hegedus | Wesual | Unsplash).

    Blueberry Ice Cream With Fresh Blueberries
    [2] July is National Blueberry Month, and July 8th is National Blueberry Day. Here’s the recipe for blueberry ice cream (photo © Driscoll’s).

    Caramel Sundae In A Glass Sundae Dish
    [3] A caramel ice cream sundae (photo © National Honey Board).

     

    July is National Ice Cream Month, and even if it weren’t, the hot weather in July and August gives us a good excuse to indulge in perhaps even more ice cream than in other months.

    As if we needed an excuse!

    But some people can experience the condition known as brain freeze.

    It’s an intense pain in the head that’s caused by eating or drinking something intensely cold.

    The scientific term for brain freeze is sphenopalatine ganglion neuralgia.

    But you can keep calling it brain freeze or ice cream headache.

    Anyone can get brain freeze. Those who eat something ice-cold very quickly may be more likely to get brain freeze.

    And those who are susceptible to migraine headaches are also more likely to experience one.

    Brain freeze isn’t serious and goes away quickly—in a few seconds or up to two minutes.
     
     
    WHAT HAPPENS?

    When your body senses sudden, extreme cold in the mouth or throat, it tries to react and warm up.

    Blood vessels throughout the head expand to let extra blood into the area for warmth. That quick change in blood vessel size causes sudden pain.

    If you experience it for more than a few seconds, try to bring the temperature in your mouth and throat back to normal.

    Here are two options to thaw that brain freeze, from Cleveland Clinic:

  • Drink a warm or room-temperature liquid (not cold and not hot).
  • Press your tongue or thumb against the roof of your mouth to transfer warmth.
  •  
    If this happens to you frequently, eat and drink very cold things slowly.

    On a personal note, we typically don’t get brain freeze, but we have experienced what we call “face freeze”: a situation where the lower part of the face and mouth becomes ice cold.

    One July afternoon, when eating four pints of Wine Cellars Sorbet for a review, our face froze and we were so cold that we had to put on a hat, scarf, and gloves to finish eating.

    Why didn’t we just stop eating for a while?

    Ah, a professional deadline!
     
     
    > The different types of ice cream and other frozen desserts.
     
     
    > The history of ice cream.

     

     
     

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