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I SCREAM , YOU SCREAM , june 26th 2008

Papa was an Italian ice-cream maker. Annalisa Barbieri on a sweet childhood and an even sweeter adulthood …

It wasn’t my first taste of ice cream, but it was the first ice cream I remember. My mother made it, and she set the bar high. It was white–very white–and in it she’d put all sorts of things: dried fruit, curls of crystallised, candied citrus peel, and half spheres of toasted hazelnuts from my aunt’s farm in Italy. It was the perfect “ice cream with bits”: each mouthful yielded some crunch, some chew. But I was horribly cheated. As I remember it, I ate some–my mother hadn’t made very much–and then it went back into the fridge. I opened and closed the icebox’s plasticky little door many times, shaving off bits of overgrown ice as I did so, wondering if I could justify stealing the last few mouthfuls without sharing. And then, with no such indecision, someone else ate it. I never got to taste that ice cream again; when I asked my mother if she could remake it, she said she couldn’t remember how she’d done it, which just made it more precious than ever. I’ve been searching for it ever since.

Ice cream has always featured large in my life. On Sunday, after church, my father, sister and I would go to Bobby’s newsagent for ice cream: the choice was limited. We always wanted raspberry ripple, but sometimes we had to have Neapolitan, a striped brick of red, white and brown meant to be strawberry, vanilla and chocolate flavour, but which didn’t taste like any of them. Sometimes, on hot summer afternoons, my mother would buy us small vanilla blocks and square wafer cones to fit them into, on the way home from school.

All of this changed the day after my seventh birthday. My parents opened a cafe on London’s Bayswater Road. It was 1973 and we sold cappuccino; in those days this was practically unheard of outside of Soho, so we had to explain endlessly that it was frothy coffee. We also sold Marine Ices: ice cream from a factory in Chalk Farm, which arrived in tall, thin, churn-like tins. These resided, about eight of them, in an orange, lean-into fridge, and featured pistachio, hazelnut, fior di latte and zabaglione (the last two, regarded as too foreign, were soon dropped)–flavours I’d previously only seen for sale in Italy, where even the most modest village has an ice-cream parlour with a choice running into double figures. It meant we never had to buy ice cream again–although none of the flavours my father sold had bits in. And I wanted bits.

When my father was 60 he retired. But he was restless. The year he turned 70, he bought the shop next door to his old cafe. He announced he was going to make and sell proper Italian ice cream–which has a softer texture than other recipes, although without descending to Mr Whippy’s levels of aeration. He learnt how to make ice cream, and bought lots of machinery, the principal piece of which looked like a large washing machine and was called il mantecatore–the churner. I later found out it had been a boyhood dream of his to open an ice-cream parlour but he’d never had the money for the equipment.

The ingredients were simple: cream, milk, sugar and the relevant extras (high cocoa-content chocolate, pistachio nuts, strawberries, mangoes). Water, sugar and fruit for sorbets. They went into the churner and glooped in creamy soft folds, just minutes later, into their containers. Italian ice cream should be made regularly: after as little as 48 hours it doesn’t taste the same any more. Three times a week, my father would start making ice cream at 5am. He always worked alone.

He opened on August Bank Holiday, 1999. I entered full of trepidation: my father had never made any sort of sweet thing before. What if it was rubbish? He stood behind his ice-cream display cabinet, all glass and stainless steel, with 24 flavours and tiny testing cones to help people navigate them. The little orange fridge seemed a long time ago. Some customers seemed confused by the vast choice and ended up going for safe flavours they knew: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry. My father didn’t want this; he wanted people to experiment. I tasted. It was excellent. I could scarcely believe someone I knew could make something this good. My father was an ice-cream maker!

Just-made, my father’s ice cream was truly perfect: dense but soft. There was no pointless licking involved, like with some ice creams in cones: each flick of the tongue made progress, a groove. If you were particularly fierce, you could actually move the whole scoop practically off the cone. I tried the tiramisu: coffee ice cream layered with a sponge steeped in liqueur and dusted with cocoa. I tried the apple crumble; not strictly speaking Italian, but soon one of my favourites. But the best flavour of all, despite no bits, was the chocolate-chestnut ice cream. It was wonderful: throat-fillingly thick and gooey.

My father had unorthodox methods of sourcing ingredients. The sweet chestnuts he harvested himself, in September. He’d tie a piece of wood to some rope, throw it up into the tree and down they’d fall. But then he had always been a forager. Lemons came direct from Sorrento, where the fruit are big, and sweet. He had a deal with the coach driver from a nearby hotel, who went to Italy once a week. On his return journey he’d find room for a crate of lemons for my father.

For five years the parlour was an enormous success. My father would occasionally tell me that some famous person had asked him to supply ice cream for their party, or that an expensive restaurant wanted to serve his gelato. He always said no, because he was a one-man band (although my mother and I were allowed to help serve behind the counter). Ultimately, this was his downfall. He worked seven days a week, sometimes 18-hour days. By 2004, we had pressed him into selling up–a decision I think we’ve all regretted ever since.

After my father closed his shop, all bought ice cream, even the real
ly good stuff, disappointed. So I started making my own. I bought a Panasonic ice-cream maker (a steal at £35). The recipe leaflet gives a recipe for an excellent chocolate ice cream; luckily my father can still get me tiny, tasting cones (a big hit with children) because a small scoop is all you need. The vanilla recipe, with some modification (it asks for way too much vanilla extract) is very, very good.

Ice cream, for all that it’s a happy clappy food with–surely–no negative associations for anyone, is ill served in the recipe-book department. I bought books from around the world, but there’s only one that is really any good (although it’s already out of print, despite having only been published three years ago), “The Ice Cream Handbook”, by Vicki Smallwood. In it I found a contender for best ice cream with bits in: almond praline. It doesn’t rival my mother’s but it tries hard. You have to make a caramel first, and boil it to 220°F. This takes courage, and time. Then you have to act fast, to pour it over the toasted almonds, before blitzing the lot, making the bits as big or small as you like. The ice cream itself is made with egg yolk, cream, milk and sugar. It’s a splendid dessert served in sugar-cones after even the most sophisticated dinner party: hardly anyone says no to ice cream.

For the last three years I’ve worked my ice-cream maker hard, experimenting in my kitchen with flavours, textures and how many bits I can cram in, while still allowing the cream bit to actually ice. I am the ice-cream maker now.

(Annalisa Barbieri is a former seamstress, fashion editor and fishing writer, who has columns in the Guardian and the New Statesman ).




He’s one of the planet’s biggest and richest rock stars – but it turns out money can’t buy Mick Jagger everything.

The Rolling Stone got no satisfaction after his offer to buy an ice cream van was turned down by its owner – who’s promised his daughter he will drive her to her wedding in it.

And that could be a way off – little Alessia is just 12 years old.

Devoted dad Giuseppe Della Camera, 34, spent ten years restoring the rusting van to perfection after he spotted it on a farm – being used as a chicken shed.

Devoted dad: Giuseppe turned down the multi-millionaire rocker’s bid because he had promised daughter Alessia, 12, that he would drive her to her wedding in it

He snapped up the rusting 1954 Morris J-type for just £2,000 and took it to restorers Cummins in Crewe, lavishing £35,000 on his labour of love.

The restoration was such a success that Rolling Stone Sir Mick Jagger recently offered to buy the vehicle for £100,000 when he clapped eyes on it at a show.

Giuseppe said: ‘I was working with Carter’s Steam Fair on Wandsworth Common when Sir Mick came up with his son and bought a couple of ice creams.

‘He told me he’d really fallen in love with my van and asked me if I would consider selling it. I was stunned when he offered me £100,000.

‘Sir Mick has got seven children and I think he probably wanted my van to entertain his grandchildren.’

But Rolling Stone Sir Mick, 65, whose wealth was estimated at £190 million in the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List, ended up disappointed.

Giuseppe said: ‘I must admit I was tempted when he offered me £100,000.

‘But I told him I couldn’t possibly sell it, because it’s always been my dream to drive my 12-year-old daughter Alessia to her wedding one day in my little ice cream van.”

English-born Giuseppe first got into the ice cream trade when his father Vic, from Naples, and Sicilian mother Grace won the catering concession for Battersea Park in London.

They were firm friends of John Carter, the founder of Carter’s Steam Fair – Britain’s largest vintage steam travelling funfair.

Giuseppe said: ‘They wouldn’t let me sell ice creams at the fair unless I had a proper vintage ice cream van.

‘I started off selling Italian ice cream from a barrow. Then one day I was driving through the countryside near Stonehenge when I saw this rusty old ice cream van in a farmer’s field.

‘It hadn’t been moved for 28 years and the farmer was using it for his chickens to lay eggs in.

‘When I asked the farmer if I could buy it, he told me I had to come up with £2,000 by the next day – because he was going on holiday.’

For the past nine years, Giuseppe has been serving up traditional Italian ice cream in cornets as Carter’s Steam Fair travels around the country. He will be behind the counter in the van this weekend when Carter’s Steam Fair visits Hayes End in Middlesex.

Father-of-three Giuseppe, from Streatham, South London, said: ‘All our ice cream is imported from Milan and I sell flavours like Ferrero Rocher, tutti-frutti, rum and raisin, tiramisu and wild cherry.

‘I sell Italian ice cream cones for £1.50p a time, but I couldn’t bear to sell my beloved ice cream van to Sir Mick – not even for £100,000.’


Call the roller of big cigars, The muscular one, and bid him whip In kitchen cups concupiscent curds. Let the wenches dawdle in such dress As they are used to wear, and let the boys Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers. Let be be the finale of seem. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.Take from the dresser of deal, Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet On which she embroidered fantails once And spread it so as to cover her face. If her horny feet protrude, they come To show how cold she is, and dumb. Let the lamp affix its beam. The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
Wallace Stevens

Los números de 2012

Los duendes de las estadísticas de prepararon un informe sobre el año 2012 de este blog.

Aquí hay un extracto:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 50.000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 12 Film Festivals

Haz click para ver el reporte completo.


Los números de 2010

Los duendes de estadísticas de han analizado el desempeño de este blog en 2010 y te presentan un resumen de alto nivel de la salud de tu blog:

Healthy blog!

El Blog-Health-o-Meter™ indica: Wow.

Números crujientes

Imagen destacada

Alrededor de 3 millones de personas visitan el Taj Mahal cada año. Este blog fue visto cerca de 41,000 veces en 2010. Si el blog fuera el Taj Mahal, se necesitarían alrededor de 5 días para visitarlo.

En 2010, publicaste 90 entradas nueva, haciendo crecer el arquivo para 317 entradas. Subiste 194 imágenes, ocupando un total de 30mb. Eso son alrededor de 4 imágenes por semana.

The busiest day of the year was 23 de diciembre with 422 views. The most popular post that day was EL TIRAMISU.

Algunos visitantes buscan tu blog, sobre todo por tiramisu, tropicos, gusto, alicante y limon.

Lugares de interés en 2010

Estas son las entradas y páginas con más visitas en 2010.

EL TIRAMISU febrero, 2010






¡ POR FIN ,  Ya tocaba !

San Sebastian bien se merecía una heladeria de calidad …y ahora sí la tiene.

En la plaza de Ayuntamiento de esta maravillosa ciudad,  acaba de abrir sus puertas una heladeria verdaderamente artesanal ,  llamada  OIARTZUN, al igual que la pasteleria a su lado.

El porqué del utilizo del nombre ya se entiende cuando afirmo que  los  propietarios de la pasteleria y de la recien estrenada heladeria artesanal son los mismos.

A pesar de ser 2 jovenes, ellos tienen mucha historia en el oficio dulce de la ciudad.

De hecho, David y su hermana Montse siguen llevando por delante  la tradicion  pastelera y heladera de su propia familia  y siempre han destacado por la calidad de todos sus productos de pasteleria y , en verano, siempre han seguido endulzando el paladar de sus clientes con un mostrador de helados artesanos al 100 % en el interior de su misma pasteleria, pero esta temporada han dado un paso más y han montado una heladeria artesanal , dejandole el merecido espacio al oficio heladero.

Sus helados son exquisitos, sorprendentes, artesanales y buenisimos.

Nadie se le resiste y cada sabor es un exito.

Os invito a probarlos todos , en particular los sorbetes de fruta: insuperables.

Categorías:heladeros Etiquetas: , ,


A pesar de ser nuestro maravilloso oficio heladero tan íntimamente dependiente de las modernas maquinarias para la producción del frio artificial, el helado , de una forma u otra, tiene orígenes muy pero muy antiguas.

Es mi opinión que cualquier heladero artesano debería conocer, por lo menos a grandes rasgos, la larga aventura del helado y los esfuerzos y la creatividad que nuestros ancestros tuvieron que desarrollar para conseguir y mantener ese producto de lo más  frágil y delicado.

Finalmente, yo diría que nosotros heladeros deberíamos dar las gracias en todo momento a los valientes que se dedicaron a esa arte en el pasado, llevándola hasta el día de hoy: la empresa, como veremos, no tiene que haber sido nada fácil, considerando la absoluta falta de las muchas  ayudas tecnológicas que hoy en día todos nosotros utilizamos inevitablemente.

Podemos distinguir genéricamente 3 grandes periodos de la historia del helado :

1 ) : el helado en la antigüedad;

2 ) : la edad media y el Renacimiento del helado;

3 ) el helado moderno.


¿ Quién fue el primer hombre que comió un helado ?

¿Quién sabe ? Pero me gusta creer que fuese el hombre primitivo el primero que debió de llevar a su boca por primera vez un alimento congelado: la nieve.

Efectivamente, si lo pensamos bien, el instinto de llevarse unos copos de nieve a la boca parece ser algo irresistible y primordial, sobre todo cuando se observa la cándida nieve por primera vez.

Comer algo “ helado “ entonces, tiene que haber sido un evento perdido en la noche de los tiempos.

Muy antiguo también resulta el primer documento escrito – la Biblia – a donde Isaac ofrece a Abramo una copa de leche de cabra mezclado con nieve.

Efectivamente, hasta las más antiguas civilizaciones, tuvieron que descubrir muy pronto  que el frio natural podía ser utilizado para conservar los alimentos , al mismo tiempo que para refrescarse de la calura.

Los Egipcios, por ejemplo, en el lejano año 2500 A.C. ya solían refrescar el vino puesto en ánforas a través del uso de grandes abanicos.

Evidentemente, el hombre ya conocía, aunque solo empíricamente, la importante ley de la termodinámica que declara lo siguiente:  el calor es una fuente de energía, que se desplaza desde un cuerpo más caliente a uno menos cálido, por lo cual , si se “ fuerza “ de alguna manera aire más fresco sobre un cuerpo cálido – el vino, el agua, etc.- ese cuerpo – vino, agua, etc – pierde calor…o sea: se enfría.

Una costumbre veraniega, también muy antigua,en las tierras del oriente mediterráneo, fue la de donar a los campesínos unos trozos de refrescante nieve.

El Rey Salomón, alrededor del año 900 A.C., resulta haber sido un gran consumidor de nieve.

Queda históricamente comprobado que el pacifico pueblo Fenicio desarrolló su ingenioso sistema de conservación de la nieve en frescos lugares subterráneos y no dudo que, siendo valientes comerciantes, contribuyeron a difundir la costumbre de comer “ helado “ , por lo menos en todas sus numerosas colonias del mediterráneo.

¿ Y cuando no había nieve ?

Pues, se conseguía hielo poniendo el agua en subterráneos frios a donde, por física, helaba.

Yo siempre lo digo : madre naturaleza lo tiene todo: solo le toca al hombre, con humildad, descubrir y aplicar sus leyes.

Naturalmente se empezó a añadir a esa nieve o hielo, zumos de fruta o vino y miel- que fué indudablemente el primer dulcificante de la historia – para disfrutar mejor del refresco saboreando ese “ helado “, que más bien se parecía a un granizado actual.

Pero hay que decir que, entre los pueblos antiguos, los Romanos  resultaron sin duda alguna los más fanáticos de esas mezclas de nieve “ aderezada “ al gusto.

Se cuenta que a Julio Cesar y a Antonio, de visita en Egipto, la mitica Cleopatra les brindó unas copas de plata separada en 2 partes: una parte estaba repleta de nieve, la otra de zumos de fruta: esa era por supuesto una costumbre reservada a los huéspedes de excelencia :

¿Quien se podía resistir a tanta fascinación y lujo ?

A Roma el uso de la nieve se difundió capilarmente : llegaba desde el monte Terminillo y hasta desde los volcanes Vesuvio y Etna por medios navales y durante muchos siglos esa fresca costumbre generó un rico negocio , sea para las populares Termas Romanas – Frigidarium – diseminadas en el territorio del Imperio, sea para el placer de los paladares selectos.

El Imperator Nero fue un autentico  glotón de nieve.

Inevitablemente , los Romanos acabaron enganchándose para siempre a las

“ granitas “ , hoy llamada en Roma col nombre de “ grattachecca “ -pronuncia = grattakekka – :  una mezcla de nieve  con zumos y endulzada con miel.

Al día de hoy, los Romanos ,  e yo primera,  por lo menos cuando aún vivía en mi ciudad, acudimos a los pocos vendedores de grattachecca que aún quedan en Roma  y este rito se repite desde más de 2000 años, con las únicas diferencias  que ahora  se usan en substitución del miel unos jarabes maravillosos y en substitución de la nieve el hielo rascado – grattato – a través de un cucharon de acero.

Los sabores clásicos son : amarena, menta, orzata, tamarindo , limón, cedrata.

Casi siempre se piden 2 sabores a la vez, que se vierten encima del hielo así picado –  que de hecho parece nieve  – puesto en un vaso y se comen con una cucharita, dejando que se  deshaga lentamente en la boca la dulce mezcla.

Estoy convencida de que la grattachecca seguirá existiendo  hasta que quede solo un Romano en el mundo.

Mis sabores favoritos de toda la vida : tamarindo y cedrata.

En el próximo artículo, nos dedicaremos a relatar la historia del helado durante la Edad Media y el Renacimiento.