I don’t know about you, but I don’t need an excuse of any kind to eat ice cream. Back in 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month. So if you’re looking for a reason to indulge, there you go. We indulge, and often, in Italy in our version of the cool and creamy treat at Four Seasons Hotel Milano: gelato.
Gelato is Italian for ice cream. Though gelato is lighter (four to eight percent butter fat versus 14 percent for ice cream) and dates all the way back to ancient Rome and Egypt. It is typically prepared in small batches and flavored with fruit purees. You add in goodies such as shaved chocolate, cookies or nuts after it is frozen.
If you can’t visit us in Milano, the next best thing is to make your own batch of gelato with the kids. Here’s our recipe. And remember to let your creative urges run wild. Make up your own family signature flavor.
Read more on Milan in Four Seasons Magazine.
See our Four Seasons National Ice Cream Month photos on Pinterest, including Spaghetti Gelato from Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.
See our Four Seasons milkshake pics on Pinterest, including a Miso Butterscotch milkshake from Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.
For the ice-cream:
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup whipping cream
½ cup sugar
5 tsp honey
¼ tsp vanilla whole bean, scraped
Cut the strawberries into halves and place them on the bottom of a dessert plate or cup; keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Prepare the gelato: Pour the milk into a bowl with the cream, sugar, honey and vanilla pod. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave the vanilla to infuse for 20 minutes. Filter the mixture through a cheesecloth or fine sieve and leave it to cool. When cool, pour it into an ice cream making machine following manufacturer’s instructions until the ice cream is ready: soft and creamy.
Scoop the ice cream over the strawberries, cover with whipped cream and decorate with two half strawberries, vanilla bean and fresh mint leaves. Makes one serving.
Sergio Mei Tomasi is Executive Chef at Italy’s Four Seasons Hotel Milano. After a humble start as a baker’s apprentice on Sardinia, where he was born and raised, who could’ve predicted Chef Sergio would become a shining star in the small firmament of world-famous chefs? After working in kitchens around the world, five years ago he landed at Four Seasons Milano, where he supervises a team of 30 “white hats” who literally adore him. Despite his busy schedule, chef is a member of the Italian National Team, representing Italy at the Culinary World Cup, and teaches at Paris’s Ecole Lenôtre. He is the author of Neither Fish Nor Meat, Fish Out of Water, With Wood and Charcoal and La Cucina Italiana all’Italiana. A sincere and approachable guy, he remains self-effacing. When he accepting the “Italian Cook of the Year” in 1998, Chef Sergio said: “Thank you very much, I did not expect this. I am not very good with words and I don’t feel very comfortable here on stage. If you excuse me, I have to go back to my kitchen.” In his rare free moments, the chef can be found wandering in the forest foraging for herbs.
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