Un gelato da Corradini

By Ilyse Rathet

March 20, 2019

Recently, there have been media accounts which have attempted to question the viability and economic sustainability of Italy’s iconic food ways. Though we know that the globalization of our food supply is ever-present, at Ritrovo and in Italy we work every day to keep these inspired and inspiring food ways viable.

In Italy, you find examples of this work being carried out on international, national and local levels.

On an international level; Salone del Gusto 2016 will highlight Italy’s and the world’s food artisans In Torino this fall. Salone del Gusto is an enormous international exhibition dedicated to food and gastronomy. There are exhibitors, conferences and forums – all focused on teaching more about how our food is made, how to preserve biodiversity and how to secure a better food future for everyone. Naturally, Italy is the perfect location for this event as it is the birthplace of the Slow Food movement.

Nationally, and of great interest to us at Ritrovo, Slow Food Italy has recently established a series of Presidii for Extra Virgin Olive Oils. These Presidii were created to preserve Italy’s most historically and regionally significant olive oil varieties. We are of course pleased that this list now includes our Colli Etruschi Organic Caninese extra virgin olive oil. We are hopeful that these Presidii will bring well-deserved cachet to quality olive oils; from the Blera hills of Colli Etruschi to the Crastu of Sicily.

The marvel of Italy and its regional, culturally-rich foods, is that they are not just tucked away in exceedingly remote backwaters. Nor are they relegated to museum-like nooks accessible only to true aficionados, or only found in the big touristic cities like Florence or Rome. They are everywhere in Italy. And they make up a rich, and yes, sustainable food culture. Every time we visit Italy we rediscover this, particularly on a local level.

Proof of the presence of regional specialties throughout Italy is a family-owned gelateria called Corradini. At their shops in Novara (northwestern Italy) and in Tuscany’s small town of Castiglione della Pescaia, regional food ways are combined in artisanal gelato to the delight of local consumers and visitors like ourselves.

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To our complete surprise, we stumbled upon Corradini’s Castiglione della Pescaia gelateria during an after lunch stroll in the town last May. Castiglione is a small hill town, with a classic medieval borgo and modern resort facilities. It’s still a bit off the usual beaten Italian track, so we were not at all expecting to find a gelateria of world class stature there. Especially one with a philosophy that is totally allied with Ritrovo and our support of preserving Italian regional foods.

For the Corradini family, it all began when they came to Castiglione from Novara, in northern Italy, for vacation. Besides the natural beauty and relaxing atmosphere they found on the Tuscan coast, as  gelataii (gelato makers), they were impressed by the quality of the milk that this area of Tuscany—Maremma—is famous for.  So in 1993 they settled upon opening a gelato stand just at the edge of the village of Castiglione.

As we approached their stand on this unseasonably hot Spring day, we were intrigued by the long line of locals waiting to have a cooling dessert. But, we were not prepared for the compendium of “Tuscan-inity” that awaited us.  At Corradini they have assembled, combined, and created recipes from the foremost regional Tuscan raw materials: figs from Carmignano, real Vin Santo, Tuscan-made Amadei chocolate, Garfagnana farro (toasted and stirred into a malty gelato), and Sangiovese wine.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnd we couldn’t have felt more in synchrony with Corradini’s support of Tuscan food ways and artisans as when two gelati captured our attention: one with Tuscan wild pine nuts from San Rossore (imported by Ritrovo for more than a decade now) and several others sweetened with Dr. Pescia’s honey of honeys: Macchia Mediterranea (Tuscan heather honey) – one of Ritrovo’s top products for years.

To fully express our mutual adoration of local, regional products and their dedicated farmers and producers, what could we do but sample Corradini’s Tuscan gelato flavors. The Corradini did not make it as 4th generation gelatiai without good business sense and (fortunately for us and other capricious gelato tasters) without offering tiny cups of four tastes set in a tasting tray. Thus a full panorama of Tuscan regional flavors can be savored in about 8 creamy tablespoons.

Grazie mille to the Corradini family for reminding us of the continued dedication of food producers throughout regional Italy to innovate; all the while preserving the amazing food ways of their regional products. Unlike creamy gelato in the hot Springtime sun, we are sure they can endure. And, we will do our best at Ritrovo to ensure that they do.

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Pescia Macchia Mediterranea Honey and Tuscan Pinenut Ice Cream – Corradini Style

We were given an easy-to-use ice cream maker as a gift and love that it enables us to prepare a very simple base within about 20 minutes—one that has no preservatives, additives, or gums. We can also employ our choice of sweetener and other Ritrovo goodies to add in.  Here we present a simple vanilla ice cream recipe that incorporates  Dr. Pescia’s flavorful Heather “Macchia Mediterranea” honey and Radici of Tuscany’s Organic Wild Pinenuts.

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk, well chilled

1/2 cup Dr. Pescia Wild Heather Honey

2 cups heavy cream

1 whole vanilla bean, seeds only or 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup Radici of Tuscany Wild Tuscan pinenuts, toasted and finely chopped

Preparation

In a chilled bowl, mix with a whisk or hand mixer the milk and honey until well-dissolved. Stir in the cream and vanilla extract or vanilla bean seeds. Now add in the toasted and chopped pinenuts. Immediately pour into the ice cream maker’s bowl and turn machine on. Let the machine run until the mixture is thickened. Freeze for at least a couple of hours or overnight, finish with your desired topping.

To Serve

Allow the ice cream to soften slightly in a metal container outside the freezer. Stir with a heavy spoon until creamy. Then serve in chilled, fancy flute glasses.

About Ilyse Rathet