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AN ICE CREAM MAKER WITH A SOUL

vetrina

From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine

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 ).

ARTISAU IZOZKIAK



¡ 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: , ,

EL HELADERO COMO EMPRENDEDOR DE SI MISMO

Los heladeros somos una categoria de orgullosos: tanto si somos dueños de nuestra heladeria, como si solo trabajamos en un obrador ajeno, siempre nos consideramos artesanos del helado y queremos seguir siendolo a toda costa.

Nunca verás a un heladero artesano de verdad trabajar en una franquicia o para cualquier tipo de  industria heladera; el heladero, como todo héroe, hace su batalla a solo, así como tambien a solo produce con sus mismas manos un helado unico, irripetible, artesanalmente bueno : el suyo.

Él, y solo él, es el artesano del helado  y al mismo tiempo el exitoso emprendedor de sí mismo.

VUOI DIVENTARE GELATAIO ?

18 febrero 2010 4 comentarios

E cosí vuoi diventare un gelataio artigianale o, come si dice ultimamente , un gelatiere , cioé un artigiano che vive facendo e vendendo il proprio gelato.

Innnanzitutto  rispondi a questa domanda, peró  con un pizzico  di sinceritá:

perché vuoi fare il gelataio ?

Per passione ! rispondono ( quasi ) tutti …e giá só che non sono sinceri .

Per fare il gelato per passione non serve diventare gelatieri professionali, basta solo comprare una macchina per gelati da fare in casa e produrre gelato con le stesse ricette –  direi buonine – presenti nel libretto che accompagna la macchina stessa : tutto qui !

Quando gestivo la mia gelateria di Barcellona, ricevevo costantemente richieste per imparare a fare il gelato da  me , ma quello che in realtá  piaceva a quelle  persone era solo e soltanto la musica inebriante, questo lo riconosco, del mio registratore di cassa !

Altro che passione: se la mia gelateria, invece di essere quotidianamente invasa dai clienti , fosse stata una gelateria qualunque, senza particolare successo commerciale, nessuno avrebbe voluto imparare da me  niente di niente.

Una delle cose che piú mi amareggiano del mio mestiere é giustappunto il fatto che  troppo spesso venga visto, sbagliando e di grosso,  esclusivamente come un facile mezzo per incassare miliardi.

Al contrario, la nostra é una professione piú che  seria, che richiede conoscenze approfondite e al piú alto livello e dopo, solo dopo, dará i suoi frutti ed effettivamente puó offrire soddisfazioni economiche notevoli.

Tra l’altro, nessuno di questi sedicenti ” passionari ” sá e saprá mai che il mestiere si impara innanzitutto ” a bottega ” e che la partecipazione alla maggior parte dei corsetti che si fanno attualmente non ti dará mai quel livello di preparazione richiesta per un gelato di successo, ma sará solo la scusa che utilizza l’industria che li organizza  per venderti di tutto e di piú…

e buona fortuna !

Dico questo perché c’é chi pretende di imparare a fare il gelato come professione in un corsetto di gelateria di 1 o 2 giorni , per qualcosa come 200 euro  o poco piú, quando invece l’esposizione della sola teoria di base della gelateria artigianale nei corsi che faccio io adesso richiede come minimo 20 ore effettive ; e quando dico effettive , intendo dire 20 ore vere e  proprie  e non quelle di certi corsetti dove la chiacchieratina, la fumatina, il caffé, la barzelletta, il pettegolezzo , la pausa – pranzo etc occupano piú spazio temporale delle ore di insegnamento stesse.

Invece, dopo 4 ore al giorno ininterrotte di assistenza ad una delle mie lezioni, il cervello degli studenti fuma e se ne vanno barcollando…

altro che  gli ” intensivi ” di ”  8 ” ore  al giorno !

Naturalmente , é evidente che un corso siffatto non puó costare 200 € e quello delle spese da affrontare per imparare veramente  il mestiere é un altro piccolo capitolo che la dice lunga sulla  passione  di certi aspiranti gelatieri.

Questa tipologia di  avventurieri –  mi dispiace , ma non posso definirli diversamente –  avida della sola idea di fare soldi a palate col gelato, dovrebbe sapere che , ad esempio, mettere sú una gelateria VERA comporta spese notevoli e, specialmente se si parte da livello  ZERO  di preparazione professionale, l’investimento non é esente da rischi, per cui a fronte dei notevoli costi di allestimento, destinare  diciamo  un  5% del preventivo di spesa all’acquisizione di un insegnamento teorico seguito poi da un affiancamento pratico di qualitá …  sembra troppo ?

A me , sinceramente, sembra perfino poco.. e incredibilmente l’avere a disposizione  una gelataia di lunghissima tradizione familiare  e con un carnet di grande  successo professionale come  me , che ti  insegna prima di tutto l’intera  teoria , e che poi ti affianca dall’inauguarazione fino a quando sei pronto a spiegare le ali per volare da solo, finisce per risultarti addirittura piú economico che rivolgerti ad uno dei tanti  franchising di gelato industriale – che naturalmente non si vergognano affatto a spacciarsi impunemente per ” artigianali ”

Questi personaggi  non si limiteranno  a non  insegnarti  affatto il mestiere  , la qual cosa  ti  obbligherá a comprare il gelato per poter poi sperare di venderlo,  ma addirittura ti imporranno  di comprarlo da loro.

Incredibile, ma vero :  pretendono molto di piú  , dando molto di meno, di quello che avresti  affidandoti a me :

ma che differenza !

non credi ?


APRENDER EL ARTE

¿ como se aprende el karate ?

¿ empezando ya a tirar puñetazos y patadas  como sea ?

¿ o , al contrario , aprendiendo primero las tecnicas, el metodo, la filosofía, la disciplina, en fin.. el soplo del arte que el karate esconde ?

Y eso vale para cualquier cosa uno quiera aprender en la vida : hay que acercarse a cada actividad humana y a cada oficio  con humildad , con pasión , con cariño, con mucho estudio , etc y  por supuesto todo eso lleva su tiempo.

Esta pelicula – THE KARATE KID –   lo explica muy bien  y propongo  su vision a todos los que ignoran cuanta dedicacion y esfuerzo se requiere para aprender el arte heladero , a todos los que , sin haber nunca praticato el oficio, con mucha lamentable superficialidad se auto – definen maestros heladeros y sobre todo  dedico este film a todos los ingenuos aspirantes heladeros que se lo creen que se pueda aprender en hacer el helado en dos dias de cursillo.


Categorías:heladeros Etiquetas: , ,

LA SAGRADA FAMILIA DEL HELADO

…que hacer el mejor helado posible sea un oficio inevitablemente condicionado a un compromiso de calidad que solo los artesanos de verdad pueden cumplir , es un hecho que cualquier persona de sentido comun entiende muy bien y… más los unicos jueces verdaderamente imparciales que hay en este mundo :

los clientes

Pero aquella noche de verano, yo estaba una vez más agotada por la jornada de trabajo interminable y a punto de cerrar la tienda …cuando tuve un honor y una gratificacion dificiles de explicar…

…cuando un grupo de chicos sentados en un banco de la Plaza de la Revolucion , se dirigieron a mi madre y a mí con las palabras :


” la sagrada familia del helado “
Categorías:heladeros Etiquetas:

EL FUTURO ESTÁ EN EL PASADO

Si abrimos un cualquier libro ” moderno ” de pasteleria – heladeria , veremos una larguisima lista de productos que se utilizan en los obradores actuales.

Personalmente, observo con horror que la lista de los adensantes, emulsionantes , conservantes , colorantes, antioxidantes etc…

…es mucho mas largas de las materias primas naturales que se van a utilizar….

Eso me resulta , a parte que inmoral, muy dañino para el singulo pequeño obrador y por estension para toda la categoria…..

Tenemos el deber de trabajar lo más naturales posibles , por varias razones – de etica – de salud – de conveniencia economica etc….

Evidentemente , esos productos asquerosos quimicos y de sabor artificial son indispensables a la industria alimentaria porqué esa sí que está obligada a adensar, emulsionar, conservar , colorar , no hacer oxidar…etc…

pero nosotros ¿ que ?

Aqui está nuestra fuerza y nuestra unica posibilidad se sobrevivir a la todopoderosa industria de la alimentacion …y cuanto antes lo entendamos todos…mejor…

….nosotros nacimos unicamente en el marco de la tradicion artesanal y tenemos que seguir siendo artesanos. hoy en dia más que nunca ..tenemos que pruducir diariamente y a partir de materias primas …por eso – y solo por eso – nuestro producto inmejorable seguirá existiendo y triunfando….

Categorías:heladeros Etiquetas: