Friday, January 03, 2014

By Janae Morris

“This year things are going to be different.” At some point we’ve all voiced this encouraging phrase, especially come January 1st. We’re all excited about the New Year and having a clean slate to start changing our lives for the better. Sure, we’ve all been there. Remember when you said something like, “This year I’m going to:

a) Lose weight
b) Stop smoking
c) Save money
d) Spend more time with family and friends
e) Try new ways to eat gelato

Pick any option or fill in the blank with whatever mission you were/are determined to achieve. In any case, most of these selections tend to be “RRO’s” or Repeat Resolution Offenders (no, that’s not a real term) since in many instances, they are unfulfilled and tend to become a repeat resolution for the following year. But what if we thought outside the box and resolved to embellish instead of restrict? And yes, supportive readers, in this case that would require more people to choose option (e) from the multiple choice answers above and try new ways to eat gelato.

Of course you knew where I was headed, seeing as the name of this web resource is whygelato.com and you’re on it. Oh, and yes, I called it a web resource because whygelato.com is not simply a mere website, but an informative, educational resource dedicated to promoting the gelato industry. It’s not just because we’re fancy.

With that being said, embellishment in the form of expanding your gelato-consuming horizons is one resolve that can be fun, tasty and mysteriously intriguing. And when I say mysteriously, I don’t mean the oh my goodness, what’s in that kind of mysterious, I just mean mysterious in the way that you won’t be able to explain your overwhelmingly compelling desire to follow this calendar of GelaTO-DO’s in 2014.

Below is a suggested monthly guideline that categorizes several kinds of gelato-based desserts one can enjoyably experience throughout the year. And for gelato makers out there, or those interested in possibly becoming a dessertpreneur, this list can serve as an inspiration for new menu items. Shall we begin?

January – Gelato
Why not start your year off with Italy’s crown frozen dessert known for its creamy texture, intense flavor profile and artisan presentation? Gelato, which means frozen in Italian, is similar to American ice cream except it has fewer calories, is warmer to the palate and therefore will not freeze your taste buds (hence the intense flavor), and differs in ingredients, production, flavoring, presentation, nutrition and texture. Gelato is available in countless flavors. Check with your local gelateria for traditional or custom menu selections.

February –Affogato (what the heck is an affogato?)
If you’re a coffee or espresso lover who’s ever wondered what to do with left over gelato then the answer is AFFOGATO (pronounced ah-fo-gah-toe). It has an interesting name and an equally delicious flavor. The best way to describe an affogato is “coffee float”, since a few scoops of gelato in your favorite mug drenched in a sea of coffee or espresso makes for a wonderful, sweet blend on a cold winter’s night.

March - Smoothie
It’s no secret, frozen yogurt is a hit among Americans. And the good news is there is yogurt flavored gelato for those who would like to experience the best of both worlds. Combine your favorite fruits (or fruit sauce) with frozen yogurt and both your mouth and straw will thank you.

April – Milkshake
We’ve all enjoyed a milkshake created with ice cream. Now that you know gelato boasts a more intense flavor than traditional ice cream, imagine how much more enjoyable your blended treat would taste? Get creative and use a flavored or nut based milk for a twist on flavor profile!

May – Panini
Yes, I’m suggesting a Panini gelato for the month celebrating mothers across America. Imagine it; a soft, sweet bun with scoops of your favorite gelato in the center. The bread is warmed and sealed around the gelato (garnished with your favorite topping), yet the frozen treat stays cold in the center. Sound delicious? Well, guess what. You don’t have to imagine a Panini gelato…it’s real! And real delicious, if I may add!

June – Pop
I get it, June is the month celebrating Father’s Day, but I’m not talking about all the “Pops” across America, as fathers are sometimes affectionately called. I’m speaking of gelato pops that are all the rage. They can be made in any flavor or customized flavor combination. Alcohol infused gelato pops served in a glass of champagne or cocktail is one of the latest trends that put a new spin on this nostalgic treat. Keep in mind the alcohol infused pops are FOR THOSE 21 AND UP, of course.

July - Gelato and Pastries
Cookies and milk are a standard go-to for an anytime snack, but gelato makes everything tastes so much better. Sandwich your gelato with your favorite cookies or halved brownie for the ultimate gelato sandwich. If you want to really get fancy, gelato makes a great filling for profiteroles. Hungry yet?

August – Soft Serve Gelato (yes, there is such a thing!)
Many people are unaware that gelato, Italy’s artisanal frozen treat, is not only available in its traditional pan display, but just like the soft serve frozen yogurt that saturated the dessert industry, gelato and sorbetto (dairy-free gelato typically available in fruit flavors) can be enjoyed via swirls of goodness as well as in a cone or cup. Would you agree that this indulgent resolution of trying something new is getting better every month?

September - Frozen cupcake
Okay, I don’t mean putting a regular cupcake in your freezer. I mean going to your favorite gelateria and requesting a frozen cupcake. These mouthwatering treats consist of a cupcake (of course) that is filled with gelato and mousse. Never had one? This New Year’s resolve is the perfect reason to try it!

October – Gelato Mold
There’s something about eating gelato molded into a shape that just makes it more fun. Similar to a gelato pop (which is molded gelato), the frozen treat molded into the form of a daisy, rose leaf or even baby dinosaur adds to the diversity your sweet resolve has to offer.

November – Cake
Cake and ice cream; you’ve been there and done that. Now it’s time to have your favorite gelato in cake form with all the trimmings you desire. Gelato cakes can be customized to fit the flavor profile you wish and shared among friends, or bring as a contribution to upcoming holiday gatherings.

December – Bon Bons
As the filling in a delectable bonbon, whether milk chocolate, dark chocolate or white chocolate, the addition of a gelato filling makes the experience even richer, and in my opinion, is a great way to end a year of gelato exploration.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to follow this calendar in the order it was compiled. Feel free to switch the order or pick twelve days a month to try one of each. Just don’t consume twelve different styles of gelato in one day. Just because gelato is healthier than traditional ice cream, please remember that moderation is key.

Here’s to you! And may all of your resolves, whether disciplinary or indulgent, be successful!