What’s the difference between ice cream and gelato?
The average person most likely will tell you there’s none. “Honestly, they think gelato is Italian for
ice cream,” says Zarah Zaragoza-Manikan, chief R&D of Bono Gelato.
Key ingredients and the process set these oft-interchangeable sweet treats apart. Made of cream, hence its name, ice cream packs as much as 18-percent fat, versus gelato, which uses whole milk and contains 4 to 8 percent fat.
Ice cream is aerated, or churned faster to incorporate air in its mixture, increasing its volume and giving it a fluffy consistency. Churned slower, gelato yields more flavor and a dense consistency.
And while ice cream appears to be the more accessible dessert, readily available in the freezers of most homes and on ice cream carts and counters set up in parties and major events, gelato is just as easy to prepare and serve anywhere there’s a reason to celebrate.
Bono Gelato, the Philippines’ first authentic artisanal gelato shop, now meets the cravings of gelato aficionados in its stores at SM Aura, SM Fashion Hall, The Podium, SM Southmall and the reopened SM Makati.
“Bono Events brings the experience that people love in our branches to their parties,” explains Treena Tecson, Bono Gelato marketing and media relations director.
“We want to be there for our customers during the most important occasions of their lives, like birthdays, wedding receptions and corporate affairs. We can be wherever you are, and what you get from our stores is exactly what we bring to your event.”
For a minimum of 100 scoops, people can have a gelato scooping station set up on site, and choose to serve anywhere from one to six flavors. (Parties with 100 guests, for instance, can have four flavors available, so each flavor can be equally divided among guests.)
Whether you select from the brand’s menu of flavors or have yours custom-made, all gelato is prepared from scratch and churned on the spot through the Effe machine by Cattabriga.
Deemed by artisanal gelato makers as the gold standard of mixers, Effe accommodates a wide variety of ingredients, which explains how Bono Gelato can create such unusual flavors as Cereal and Milk (milk-soaked cornflakes converted into gelato); Taho (slow-churned soy milk topped with sago and coco syrup); and Tamarind Chili, an exotic variant made especially for a client. Eight to nine scoops can be ready in as little as two minutes.
The mixer also allows guests to watch how gelato is made, a process many consider a visual treat, says Tecson.
After returning from Singapore’s Gelato World Tour last March, where it received the People’s Choice Award for its delectable Mango Ube Symphony, Bono Gelato drew an impressed audience at Madrid Fusion Manila last April by churning out fresh batches of the award-winning flavor for guests to try.
Because artisanal gelato uses no extenders or stabilizers (only the finest, freshest, in-season ingredients sourced here and around the world), it tends to melt quickly; Bono Gelato addresses this issue by storing its flavors individually in Pozzetto cabinets.
“People don’t see our gelatos exposed in mounds. Our flavors are kept in their own Pozzetto cabinets, so when you’re pulling out one flavor to get a scoop, you’re not affecting the temperature or texture of the rest of the flavors,” says Tecson.
Packages for events ranging from 100 to 1,000 guests include the use of the mixer and gelato station, ingredients, cups and spoons, two Bono Gelato crew members, and four hours of catering services. Clients are charged in excess of four hours.
A home cook and baker who sold her specialties to neighbors and friends, Manikan admits to having “zero knowledge” about gelato. Studying at Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy, in 2012 changed all that.
“It’s very scientific,” she recalls of the course. “You need to know the components and what their uses are in the formula, and you need to balance everything. And then there’s the taste. You can have everything balanced, your fats and sugar, but in the end, what does it taste like? But it was fun!”
Since Bono Gelato’s launch on Dec. 12, 2012, Manikan has churned out a host of flavors, from traditional Italian treats to more offbeat variants like Summer Lavender, which one customer compared to “tasting like a grandmother.”
Experience and observing what flies off the shelves fast have led her to believe that when it comes to taste, Pinoys are very American. “They like Speculoos, Brownie Fudge, S’Mores. Heavily variegated flavors,” she says of the clientele.
She also wants to expose consumers to a dessert other than the classic coffee-and-cake combination.
“That’s why we came up with Red Velvet, our cake-flavored gelato!” exclaims Manikan with a laugh. E-mail [email protected] com; visit www.gelatobono.com.