4B - Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
A TASTE OF ITAY
Digging into gelato's creation and past
How local joints
By EMILY BOUDREAU
Daily Arts Writer
There's a scene in "Willy
Wonka and the Chocolate Fac-
tory" when Willy Wonka walks
into the Inventing Room in his fac-
tory. Walking into the backroom at
Zingerman's Creamery is kind of
like that, with coiled hoses, metal
machines that gurgle and hiss and
large freezers that exude steam
and frost. But it's a small, unas-
suming, box-shaped machine in
a corner that is the source of con-
fectionery delight at the creamery
As an Italian dessert, gelato has
a long history, dating back to the
days of the Roman Empire when it
was a luxury item for the wealthy.
In those days, the well-to-do Ital-
ians would send their slaves upthe
mountains to get ice for the frozen
treat. But now, the process moves
quickly and is much easier thanks
to modern technology.
According to Josh Miner, a
gelato maker at Zingerman's
Creamery, there are two main
steps in creating gelato. The first is
to make the base by mixing milk,
cream and sugar together, heating
the batch up and then freezing itas
fast as possible. The most impor-
tant and most demanding step is
making sure the mix has the cor-
rect percentages of fat, sugar and
air - the proportion of fat in the
base helps differentiate it from ice
"The way the base mix is done
will have alarge effectontasteand
texture," Miner said.
Once the base isset, Miner said,
the remaining bit is easy. The mix
is poured into the batch freezer
(that small machine in the corner),
flavoring is added and the result-
ing gelato is churned and frozen
"There are only four buttons
on the machine. (At this point) it's
really hard to screw up," Miner
Still, a lot of work goes into the
process, and it can't be done care-
lessly. It's the opposite - making
gelato requires a certain skill set.
"You have to approach gelato
with some curiosity ... if it's not
creative, it's not worth doing,
Additionally, painstaking mea-
surements are necessary to create
even the most basic flavors. The
base mix changes in relation to
each flavor's fat and sugar content
- strawberry has a lot of sugar and
no fat, but hazelnut is all fat and no
"You need to make the right
adjustments in order to keep the
texture and the flavor right,"
Balancingthe taste to create the
ideal flavor is another challenging
part of the process. For example, Zingerman's gelato maker Josh Miner isp
Zingerman's vanilla gelato is not to your tongue is a large part of
simply a traditional vanilla - it's enjoying gelato. Iorio's Gelateria,
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. located on East William Street, is
According to Miner, that flavor dedicated to promoting that idea.
was not selected randomly, but "When you walk into the store,
rather through a long process of you're supposed to think Italy,"
trial and error. Some vanillas were said Engineering junior Nick Lem-
too floral, others too dark, but mer, one of the owners of Iorio's.
Bourbon Vanilla had just the right "(Gelato) is a way for (Italians) to
amount of earthiness in it. celebrate their culture, like the
Miner credits the Zingerman's fresh fruits that they grow and
work environment with the suc- really all the flavors ofthatregion."
cess of its flavors. Because gelato is so dense -
"We talk and bring (our experi- much more so than ice cream -
ences) together," he said. "If some- the flavor is incredibly powerful.
thing sounds interesting, we'll try It's traditionally served in smaller
it. But a lot of what we do is per- cups and with tiny spoons, a con-
fecting a flavor. ... There's usually cept that may seem a little out of
an end goal in mind." place in the land of super-sized
Miner is particularly proud of portions. However, a heaping
his Burnt Sugar, a caramel-colored serving of gelato is not necessarily
gelato with bits of burnt sugar the bestwayto go.
folded in. He was inspired by atrip "You really want to pay atten-
to Spain where he tried some gela- tion to what you're eating,"
to. The taste stuck with him. Lemmer said. "We definitely rec-
"I had no idea what that flavor ommend that you try flavors first
was, but the closest I got to captur- before you decide on one. ... You
ing that memory was by burning have to be able to feel the flavor."
sugar," Miner said. He added that when sampling
Translating an experience coconut almond fudge, each ele-
ment of the flavor - the coconuts,
particularly proud of his Burnt Sugar flavor.
almonds and chocolate - should
"You don't have to be an expert,
you're not swilling wine around
or cleansing the palate, but having
the right mindset and concentrat-
ing is important," Lemmer said.
Without really thinking about
what you're putting into your
mouth, it would be easy to over-
look the delicacies in gelato, like
the fizz in Champagne Rose or the
difference between a light milk
chocolate and a sinfully rich Bel-
gian chocolate. The subtle varia-
tions in flavor make tasting more
"Our flavors are changing con-
stantly," Lemmer said. "You can
really make anything with gelato.
Ice cream is much more limited in
that way - you have your choco-
lates, your vanillas and you can
really only do so much with it....
(With gelato) you have to be will-
ing to try different things and
understand that it's special."
Furthermore, the flavor of gela-
to varies with each batch since it is
produced on a much smaller scale.
Some flavors can never he renli-
Yogobliss on South University
Avenue also carries gelato, pur-
chased from Palazzolo's, a gelato
company in Fennville, Mich. that
makes over 600 flavors. Though
the flavors Yogobliss carries are
more traditional, the makers
certainly understand versatility.
Taste is relative and not everyone
is daring enough to taste a salmon
or garlic flavored dessert.
"Lots of people haven't actually
tried gelato unless they're from
a huge city," said Catharine Rob-
inson, an LSA sophomore and a
manager of Yogobliss.
Since gelato is fairly new to the
area, Yogobliss wants to introduce
people to it slowly.
"I was a new student here last
year and for me, Ann Arbor is all
about new experiences and gelato
is kind of one of them," Robinson
of course, there are endless
culinary possibilities with the des-
"It's all about what you can
dream up," Lemmer said. "The
freezer is vour canvas."
Gelato is served in a small cup with a tiny spoon because the taste is so rich,
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From Page 3B
shibumi was a dominant feature
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'60s. The bichromatic or trichro-
matic paintings of Mark Rothko
- one of which adorns the wall 4
of Bert Cooper's office in "Mad
Men" - and the steel-and-glass
skyscrapers of Ludwig Mies
van der Rohe capture the unas-
suming appeal of the shibumi
aesthetic. In fact, Mies van der
Rohe was famous for embracing
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approach to architecture.
This philosophy has been
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today and explains the resurg-
ing popularity of trim suits,
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something to do with the shibu-
Getz/Gilberto, then, is the 4
perfect musical expression of
this style. The album is the
antithesis of the loud and crazy
rock of The Beatles, with a
thousand screaming girls run-
ning after them. The synthesis
of American jazz and Brazil-
ian bossa nova created softer,
quieter and more stylish music
- something you could sip a