During the Early 16th century, an Italian architect named Bernardo Buontalenti discovered a way of freezing a mixture of churned, sweetened milk and egg yolks and so the art of making gelato was born. A native of Florence, Buontalenti is said to have delighted the court of Caterina dei Medici with his creation.
And with typical Italian sprezzatura ice cream becomes an art form and as such takes on a personality that requires more than a mere labeling of chocolate or vanilla. Here are some of my favorite flavors from Riva Reno Gelateria with shops in Ferrara, Milan, Turin, Rome and Florence.
- Leonardo (mascarpone with chocolate and hazelnut topping)
- Alice (prounced ah-lee-ch-ay) (pine nut cream with toasted pine nuts)
- Otello made with chocolate, egg cream, Marsala wine, Barozzi chocolate and coffee cake
- Morena a white cream gelato topped with candied sour cherries and syrup
- Zafferano al sesamo with saffron cream and carmelized toasted sesame seeds