Italians reinvent ice cream

Rome, August 15:

In Italy, ice cream is sacred. But this summer old favourites such as chocolate, hazelnut and pistachio are being challenged by savoury newcomers. How about a scoop of balsamic vinegar, celery or tomato ice cream? According to Giancarlo Timballo, president of the Italian ice cream manufacturing society, flavours based on vegetables, spices, herbs and flowers are rising in popularity. Even ice lollies are getting in on the act. In the seaside resort of Rimini, batons of celery and carrot are replacing traditional wooden sticks. “Italians want gelato naturale — a product that is freshly made and seasonal. We are seeing a drop in demand for ice cream made with artificial flavo-urings and colourings, the kind of luridly coloured ice cream we had when we were children.” More gelaterie are experimenting with regional produce.