The evolution of ice cream: from a walking cone to a work of art

In its long history, ice cream has evolved in shapes and flavours. From a simple cone with two flavors to a starred dessert as a small gourmet art sculpture.

Consumers have remained faithful to ice cream beyond eras, fashions and tastes. And it was precisely this sweet passion that pushed the master ice cream makers and pastry chefs with their talent to experiment new combinations of flavours.

Homemade ice cream from a simple dessert to be consumed in
trusted ice cream parlor in moments of conviviality has become a gastronomic specialty in all respects, earning a leading role in the Italian food scene among
trade fairs and specialized guides.

How we got from the cone or cup with chocolate and fiordilatte to masterpieces such as Gelato con Meringa of the master Iginio Massari?
Let’s retrace the main stages of this delicious evolution together.

In the beginning there was the cone

We are at the end of the 19th century. On the streets of towns and cities, men dressed in white push strange carts to the sound of a bell, while shouting: “Ice cream! Who wants some ice cream?”. It is the beginning of ice cream as food for walking.

With a selection of flavors to choose from from the pozzetti present on the cart, young and old alike enjoy this dessert which comes with one or two scoops of ice cream placed on a cone or cup of waffle.

Over the years the first ice cream parlors begin to appear in Italy and the techniques for serving ice cream are increasingly refined. A spatula is used for cones and baskets while the scoops of ice cream become the protagonists of delicious cups with decorations such as banana split or exotic compositions with fruit.

From dessert to main course

In its evolution, ice cream begins to meet other flavours. Initially, it approaches its own kind, giving new nuances of taste to sweets. They range from the classic croissants and brioches filled with ice cream to the famous ice cream cakes up to the revisited cupcake with the addition of creamy ice cream that surmounts or fills it.

Later the ice cream also joins the salty flavors making its appeared on restaurant plates. The watchwords are contamination and innovation: different textures intertwine to create unusual combinations of flavors designed to amaze the palate. And here we have, for example, fried pasta with Parmesan ice cream, donkey burger with cheese, anchovy mayonnaise and mustard sorbet, cous cous fish and tomato and basil sorbet.

In Italy ice cream has seen its triumph over other courses, going from co-protagonist to absolute protagonist on the table. In fact, the restaurant in Rome is located where all the dishes on the menu are based on ice cream, from appetizers to desserts. Among vegetable dishes, meat dishes and fish dishes, ice cream goes from decorative element to main ingredient< span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, dictating the rules for combinations and compositions.

Ice cream as a work of art: the work of pastry chefs

Ice cream lives its highest expression thanks to the precious work of master pastry chefs and ice cream makers. Sweets that look like paintings, compositions that recall sculptures. The creations of the pastry chefs give life to real sweet works of art.

Over time, ice cream has become an increasingly pre-eminent element in confectionery both to take advantage of its versatility and to seasonally adjust a product that many still consume only in the summer. Pastry masters have jumped at this opportunity to express their talent in a creative way, focusing not only on flavors but also on design< /b> and structure of the cake.

There are numerous examples, for the joy of sight and palate. First of all, the master Iginio Massari. Many of his creations such as the pistachio millefeuille or the meringue ice cream are a perfect </ span> balance </ b> between shapes and textures for a true and own taste experience. For Alberto Marchetti the winning key was the combination of raw material quality and innovation. Starbucks, the famous international chain of coffee shops has chosen him to create the nitrogen ice cream to be served in the Milan store. Nitrogen makes it possible to serve freshly prepared ice cream, which Marchetti has declined in three flavours: a fiordilatte, a coffee sorbet prepared with a cold brew and a coffee ice cream obtained from a classic cream with eggs and milk in which infused coffee.

Paolo Brunelli he is an ice cream maker, a chocolatier, but most of all an artist of the dessert. His creations represent the avant-garde of ice cream and the creative contamination between cooking, pastry, enology and ice cream. In addition to in-depth research on flavors and raw materials, the creations of master Brunelli are small masterpieces of sweetness. An example? The “Panino Dolce”, a naturally leavened barley sandwich that can be filled with flavors of your choice.</span >

What will be the next evolution of ice cream?

In its history, ice cream has undergone continuous evolution. From walking food it has come to conquer even high-level cuisines and dishes.

What will be its next evolutions?

The challenge for pastry chefs and master ice cream makers is to continue to innovate by proposing new combinations or revisiting traditional recipes to amaze customers more and more.

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