Are you a strawberry person or a pistachio one? Do you consider worth of your time just a gelato with cream, eggs and possibly chocolate in it, or are you a lemon sorbet kind of a guy? I know a little two-year-old girl, Emiko’s daughter, which would choose every time the same flavour combination: fiordilatte, daddy’s favourite one, and strawberry, as it is pink, and I am a girl. Chocolate is for boys. It makes sense.
Tommaso is known as Mr Lemon Sorbetto. After a lucullian meal or even in the midst of a hot summer afternoon he would opt nine times out of ten for the most astringent and refreshing flavour of every gelateria counter.
I used to be a chocolate-stracciatella child, a reliable combination, something which perfectly depicts my essence of a good girl. I grew up into a chocolate and coconut teenager and a pistachio young woman. Now, thanks to my nasty dairy intolerance – which sometimes I pretend to forget – I am a fruit sorbet person, often melon, watermelon or peach. Then I had a scoop of coconut and walnut gelato.
In July we visited Emiko and her strawberry-fiordilatte daughter for a long weekend in Argentario, a Tuscan peninsula connected to the coast of Maremma by three strips of land, which form two lagoons. Maremma is probably the wildest part of Tuscany along with Lunigiana, and it shares with Lunigiana the same border feeling, as here we are very close to Lazio and Rome. If I’ve spent a good part of my childhood and teenage summers in Maremma, as most Tuscan people do, it was my very first time in Argentario.
We had the good chance to have a unique guide, Emiko, which has been living in Porto Ercole, one of the main port towns of Argentario, for 5 months now. As you can see from this post on her blog, she quickly became an expert, history and food-wise, so we had the best experience there. We had dinner at I pescatori in Orbetello, an inexpensive cooperative of fisherman right on the lagoon, we climbed up to La Sorgente, an outdoor restaurant under the pine trees, for a wild boar fix, and we strolled in Orbetello for a gelato.
This is when I came into Le Logge, in Orbetello’s main street, Corso Italia. Emiko claims that Le Logge makes the best gelato she has ever tasted, anywhere. This is something which any Italian would take seriously, as we usually argue over out favourite gelaterias. When I finally had my two (enormous) scoops of gelato on my cone, I understood what Emiko meant. The flavours are pure and intense, strictly seasonal and you could easily make your dinner out of a generous serving of ice cream.
But the mind-opening flavour, coconut and walnut, came from another gelateria, Creola, in Porto Ercole, another place she listed on her foodie guide, something not to be missed as it uses organic eggs and milk in their gelato.
Coconut- walnut gelato
The coconut-walnut flavour lingered in my mind for weeks, until I tried to replicate at home: it is an unexpected combination of two distinct ingredients which work magnificently together. Instead of making it dairy free I used fresh cream and coconut milk, following my friend Barbara’s recipe for coconut gelato in her new book, Gelato chez moi. I guess you can still make it dairy free by substituting cream with the same amount of coconut milk.
Coconut and walnut gelato
- 300 g of fresh cream
- 200 g of coconut milk
- 50 g of dehydrated coconut
- 100 g of sugar
- 60 g of shelled walnuts
- Bring cream to a simmer and remove from the heat. Pour cream over sugar and dehydrated coconut, then let it soak until completely cold. Stir once in a while to melt the sugar.
- When the cream is cold add the coconut milk and stir to mix.
- Blend the walnuts until finely chopped, then add them into the cream.
- Pour the cream an coconut milk into the ice-cream machine and follow the instructor's directions.
- When the gelato is ready scoop it into a container and keep it in the freezer for one hour before enjoying it. Serve with chopped walnuts.
And now, which gelato flavour are you? I bet you can tell a lot about a person just from their favourite gelato!