Food & Cooking
Ice cream makers are using extra virgin olive oil as a substitute for fats traditionally used in gelato, and the results are excellent.
Today we talk about extra virgin olive oil from the heart of a densely populated district in Rome: Centocelle. In recent years, this area went through a process of urban renewal, starting with the building of the new metro line C, which now connects suburban areas to the city center.
This was followed by the opening of new trendy places, restaurants, bistros, cafes and ice cream shops, the most recent of which is Gelato Giulivo, whose name plays with the Italian words giulivo and ulivo, respectively meaning happy, or cheerful and olive tree.
“Our ice cream flavors are fresh and full, and thanks to the exclusive use of olive oil, they do not make you thirsty while they give you a neat and delightful mouth-feel,” said Andrea Castiglione, who manages the ice cream laboratory and shop with four business partners. “Starting from the olive oil, we conceived a product with the highest quality standards, whose essential composition includes a few ingredients.”
The base of Castiglione’s ice cream is a blend of high-quality extra virgin olive oil and olive oil produced by a farm in Sabina, in Lazio.
Castiglione explained that carob bean gum is utilized as a thickening agent and fructose takes the place of the more common sucrose, thanks to its 30 percent fewer calories. Top-quality ingredients such as PGI Piedmont hazelnuts, organic almonds, pistachios and sour cherries are added.
This composition allowed them to obtain “a ‘wellness’ product with a real, intense taste and a light texture, which is indicated also for those with high blood sugar,” Castiglione said.
This adventure was born by chance after a professional change. “I went to a fair where I tasted an EVOO-based ice cream and I fell in love with it,” said Castiglione. “Nowadays, extra virgin olive oil has become a passion and we are deepening everything about production, tasting and nutritional properties.”
This weekend, September 8 – 10, thirty-six ice cream makers from around the world with as many flavors will be competing for the final of Gelato World Tour in Rimini. Alessandro Leo from Puglia will be one of the Italian finalists with his Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cream made with monovarietal Coratina.
“My ice cream represents a territory,” remarked Leo. “Through my ‘gelato art’ I want to talk about Puglia. The original recipe was born in 2011 for a local competition whose theme included the raw material of the place of provenance. I produce extra virgin olive oil in Corato and it was natural to choose my Coratina to create a new ice cream,” he said.
The recipe is secret but Leo revealed to us that the cream has an 8‑percent fat content consisting of the extra virgin olive oil, which is combined with skimmed milk, sugar and the defining ingredients. The result is a delicious cream from which a delicate aftertaste of extra virgin olive oil is finally released.