I Scream for Gelato

Today, ice cream and gelato have become lifestyle products rather than seasonal ones,” says Paramjeet Singh, director of Gianis Ice Cream. Singh’s father started the popular home-made ice cream store in the ’50s, which now has 35 branches all over North India — a testament to the cult following frozen desserts enjoy. Adds Michael Schauss, Executive Chef of the Pullman Gurgaon Hotel, “Gelati have become widely popular owing to their all-natural ingredients and low fat content, as people are becoming more conscious of healthy eating. The wide range of flavours that can be incorporated into them add to the popularity.” Gelato is a healthier option than the conventional ice cream as it has less fat, since it is made with a greater proportion of whole milk to cream. This difference (gelato’s 5-7 per cent fat as compared to ice cream’s 10 per cent), as well as the fact that gelati are a lot softer and creamier, have boosted the Italian dessert’s glory. Restaurants, especially different contemporary cuisine eateries, now regularly feature ice creams, gelati, sorbets and parfaits to accompany their main dishes or act as “palate- cleansers” between courses. Says celebrity chef and restaurateur Ritu Dalmia, “We use gelatis extensively in our restaurants and cafes. In Diva for example, we have a tomato and basil sorbet, which accompanies a tomato salad. Plus, of course, desserts are enhanced with flavours such as beetroot and balsamic vinegar or a candied orange and ricotta. It is no longer about just regular flavours, it is about an experience. When I eat a wild berry gelato, I should be able to smell and taste the forest.” Given the weather, “cold plates” are also in vogue. Akshay Batra, COO of Gelato Vinto, deconstructs the concept, “Built on the principle of a hot plate, a cold plate emanates cold waves instead of heat. So, we can set it up at caterings, with a variety of flavours of gelato and different toppings and fillings. And then, we can mix them on the counter and customise gelato sundaes,” he says. For instance, in Sen5es at the Pullman, the concept is being marketed as an ice cream teppanyaki station. Schauss says, “Incorporating the teppanyaki style to customise ice creams appeals to the child in all of us. The indulgence of adding one’s own choice of treats — marshmallows, jujubes, M&Ms, chocolate bars or sweet sauces — to one’s favourite ice cream flavour is a pleasant trip down memory lane, to a childhood when one tried to enhance the “special treat” to make it last that bit longer.” Batra agrees. “There is a rising demand for more unusual flavours from big hotels and top restaurants across the NCR. They want gelati incorporated with alcohol, wines and savoury flavours. One of our clients gave us a recipe of their soup, which they wanted converted into a sorbet format,” he says. Gelato Vinto supplies to hotels such as the Taj, Claridges, Leela’s and Hyatt, all of whom have their own esoteric favoured flavours. On the other side of the coin though, there is also an upswing in incorporating Indian flavours into the Italian dessert. “This season, in order to provide a wider choice to consumers, we launched a range of Super Coolers range — Cola, Kala Khatta, Pineapple, Orange, Kokam, Kacchi Keri and Black Grapes. Being introduced for the first time under the gelato umbrella, these flavours did extremely well and got a great consumer response,” says KS Narayanan, CEO, Pan India Food Solutions Pvt Ltd and spokesperson for Gelato Italiano. Source: Indian ExpressImage: flickr.com/

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