Extra Virgin Gelato Is All the Rage

Ice cream makers are using extra virgin olive oil as a substitute for fats traditionally used in gelato, and the results are excellent.

Alessandro Leo by Michele Mancano Photography
Sep. 7, 2017
By Ylenia Granitto
Alessandro Leo by Michele Mancano Photography

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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.”

Andrea Castiglione at Gelato Giulivo

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.

Gelato Giulivo ice cream

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.

Alessandro Leo

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.

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