Fior di Latte Gelato

Fior di latte gelato Collage Fior di Latte Gelato

As you can imagine, I achieved a new personal best when it came to gelato eating last week in Italy. Five kinds in one day. For research purposes, of course – and because it was a thousand degrees outside… even my knees were sweating. You can’t just pop in and grab some pasta whilst walking the cobblestone streets (I mean you could, but spaghetti might be tricky to walk with) and believe it or not, the pizza was iffy. But the gelato warranted extensive research.

The one phrase I learned to say fluently on my trip was “uno media cuppa fior di latte per favore. Grazie!” – “one medium cup of fior di latte (or pistachio, limone, stracciatella) please. Thank you!”

(Or so I thought – occasionally I’d walk in and confidently place my order in Italian, and they’d answer in English… apparently I wasn’t fooling anyone.) Then I learned that no matter where you went, if you asked for your gelato in a cone they’d scoop and scrape the two flavours of your choice into a rose using the small paddle. So I had to learn the word for cone. Priorities.

Gelato Collage Fior di Latte Gelato

Just as you’d expect anywhere else, there was fantastic gelato and so-so gelato. The first two places we tried, on the first two days, were OK – but we were told about a spot across the fountain roundabout from the Academia Barilla, where the pasta world championships were happening last week, that apparently had the best gelato in Parma. And so I snuck out during the semifinals to investigate further. Later that night I found myself in front of a nice-looking gelato shop, a well-known chain called Grom, by the restaurant where we were eating dinner, and it was proclaimed the best in Italy. Who was I to miss out on the best in the whole country? So I went – before and after dinner. I still think the place by the fountain was better. (I went back for a second opinion, just to be sure.)

Fior di latte is the test of a good gelato shop – Italian for flower of milk (or milk flower?), it often refers to fresh mozzarella when it’s made with cows’ milk rather than the traditional buffalo milk, but in this case it refers to gelato in its purest form – just sweetened cream, no flavourings, no egg yolks.

Fior di latte gelato 9 Fior di Latte Gelato

It’s not vanilla – it’s just cream – this is the thing to use the very best cream you can find for, like 52% from Vital Green Farms that’s as thick as molasses.

Fior di latte gelato 7 Fior di Latte Gelato

All it needs is to be sweetened – no custard required. You do this by simmering some of your milk or cream with some sugar, and a pinch of salt just to keep it from tasting flat. Then stir in the rest of the cold milk and cream, and you’re halfway to cooling it down enough to freeze in an ice cream machine.

Fior di latte gelato 5 Fior di Latte Gelato

This may seem boring, but trust me – it’s not. It can also be used as a blank gelato canvas – steep sprigs of fresh rosemary or lavender (or ginger, or mint) in the milk or cream, then strain it before you stir in the sugar, or make stracciatella gelato by stirring in chopped dark chocolate at the very end, once the gelato is frozen but still soft.

Fior di latte gelato 3 Fior di Latte Gelato

As-is, I do believe I’ve found a soulmate for my summer pies.

Fior di Latte Gelato

2 cups whole milk or half & half
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
pinch salt

In a medium saucepan, bring about a cup of the milk almost to a simmer with the sugar – heat it, whisking, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and pour in the rest of the milk, the cream and a pinch of salt. (Doing it this way will kickstart the cooling process – it won’t take as long as if you heated it all up to begin with.)

Cover and refrigerate the mixture until it’s well chilled, then freeze in the bowl of an ice cream machine. Makes about 1 L.

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June 16 2014 09:46 pm | dessert and freezable

11 Responses to “Fior di Latte Gelato”

  1. buddiegirl on 16 Jun 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    Oh yum. So easy, to make, so easy to devour. I will definitely be trying this sometime over the summer.

    Can’t wait to hear more about your trip to Italy.

  2. Korena on 16 Jun 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    OMG, I am almost licking my computer screen right now. I love the flavour of pure milk – I know I would love this! Also – gelato rose?!

  3. Jules @ WolfItDown on 17 Jun 2014 at 2:25 am #

    There is little that tops a good proper vanilla icecream, especially soft serves!

    On my first trip to Italy, I was only seven, and went for a “poffi” gelato (Crazy blue smurf icecream), later I have learnt to appreciate the icecreams that are more humble in appearance, but bold in flavours (pistachio being my favourite, perhaps with some chopped nuts? Yes!).

    In Norway where I am from, they serve up great vanilla soft serves, usually just dipped in sprinkles for a bit of extra flavour, but not disguising the lovely creamy texture of the vanilla ice cream!

    This recipe looks wonderful, and it sounds like you had an amazing time in Italy :D It’s so beautiful there *sigh* x

  4. stacey snacks on 17 Jun 2014 at 7:32 am #

    I just ordered an ice cream maker so I can make this recipe (with rosemary!).

    Wish me luck!

  5. Laurie from Richmond on 17 Jun 2014 at 11:18 am #

    Oh, yum! Perfect for summer :)

  6. Jen Denington on 17 Jun 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    My kids are the one’s who discovered Fior di Latte gelato. Famoso features Fiasco Gelato (made in Calgary) in their restaurants. All their flavours are fantastic, but when they have Fior di Latte on their menu it is always our number one pick!

  7. Emily @ Life on Food on 17 Jun 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    I love that it is so plain jane. So simple and pure. My uncle lives in Milan and he has been complaining nonstop about the hot weather.

  8. lovetocook on 17 Jun 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Julie! You had heat AND gelato! We’re so jealous. Did you figure out the recipe for gelato lemone? Nobody here does it like the Italians, but then we can do better pizza…

  9. Meta on 17 Jun 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    Could you post the recipe for the ice cream that you talked about on CBC, the lemon ice cream that you poured into a Ziplock bag, froze it and massaged it now and then.
    Thanks…

  10. Karen on 19 Jun 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    When I was working in Paris, the ice cream maker at the hotel made milk ice cream, by reducing the milk gently then making custard, it was an amazing intense milk flavour I have never replicated but still dream about. I may have to make this in my camping ball ice cream maker thingy.

  11. Stacey Snacks on 25 Jun 2014 at 6:25 am #

    If anyone is interested, I made this gelato last night w/ my new Cuisinart Ice Cream maker….it took 15 minutes and it was THE BEST GELATO WE HAVE EVER HAD!

    I steeped 2 rosemary springs in the milk/cream for about 2 hours and removed before churning in the machine.

    LOVED! Thank you Julie for helping me have a new addiction this summer! (like I need it!). :)

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