June 22, 2024

Ice cream making in Bologna with Giacomo Schiavon #BolognaWelcome

Pasta, pizza and gelato are the three foods I always have to eat when I visit Italy. They are all so different to the versions we get back home in the UK. The ice cream served in England bears little resemblance to the gelati of Italy, so when we jumped at the chance to help make ice cream at the Sorbetteria Castiglione in Bologna.

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Our teacher was Giacomo Schiavon who opened the Sorbetteria in 1994 and is an expert in all facets of gelato. One of the important things about his shop is that the ice cream is made directly behind the counter where it is sold, and customers can see it being made. Ice cream is only made when it is needed, so there is no stock ready to be used. Instead whenever a flavour is running low more is made immediately. This keeps the quality of the ice cream as high as is possible. Giacomo showed us the way to make caramel and walnut gelato and then let us have a try!

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The sorbetteria mixes traditional methods and modern equipment to make its gelato. The freezing is important as the texture needs to be soft and creamy. Three different sugars are used as they all react differently and create an ice cream that is cold but doesn’t freeze. Then we tried adding the chocolate coating to some ice cream lollipops. A delicate process that seals the edges of the ice cream with thick chocolate and makes a very tempting lolly. Great control is needed to get the chocolate to cover the ice cream exactly right.

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The Sorbetteria also makes a high-tech hot chocolate that is steamed to prevent oxidation and creates one of the thickest cioccolata calda you can image. In pursuit of the best flavour three different types of cocoa powder are used. Even nicer than drinking pure chocolate, it is a stunning drink. Especially when served with a blob of vanilla ice cream floating in the middle! In the four days of the Bologna Chocolate Festival they sell 800 litres of hot chocolate! Which is a recommendation all of its own.

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Of course we couldn’t leave with out trying the gelato. I had Crema alla Scorza di Limone which was stunning, a perfect gelato texture with a hint of lemon in the aftertaste. Rebecca tried pistachio which she reported was delicious. With Giacomo now creating ice cream with a lower Glycemic Index he is following the motto “Listen and learn every day, strive to do better than the day before”. Which is a good sign for Bolognese ice cream in the future!

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La Sorbetteria Castiglione

Via Castiglione 44


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