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Have you ever had gelato? As in the real kind that is full of inspiring flavor and freshness? Gelato is Italian and translates literally to "frozen." So nothing could be more perfect to share on a hot day.

If you are familiar with this amazing frozen dessert you know that calling it "heaven on a spoon" barely covers it!

This summer, you can host a memorable and (so very) sweet gelato tasting party for your friends!

Why Gelato?

Gelato is very different than ice cream, custard, or frozen yogurt. It is made with mostly milk instead of cream so it contains less fat than traditional ice creams and carries a more concentrated flavor.

Paired with fresh fruit and a sweet wine this party theme can provide a sophisticated indulgence you and your guests won't soon forget.

Brighten Up Your Gelato Tasting Party

Put together a fun and functional tablescape for your party. Bright colors will make your party pop! So pick your favorite hues for a tablecloth, plates, napkins, etc. We suggest some small dessert dishes and tiny spoons that make it easy to taste each flavor. Sugar cones are great for serving up smiles too.

 

This updated version of an ice cream social delights and refreshes everyone on your guest list.

Have a plan for keeping your frozen dessert cold before serving. If your freezer is nearby – great! But if you are outside, grab a cooler and fill it with ice. Or line your cooler with reusable freezer packs to insulate the containers from all sides. This will insure your gelato makes it to dish and mouth intact!

Pick Perfect Flavors

There are so many different flavors of gelato, you might have trouble deciding. Fresh fruit and nut purees are traditions in Italy. Look carefully in the specialty ice cream section for ideas. Even Haagen-Dazs has released a line of Italian delights that are all very tempting to try.

If you happen to have an ice cream maker, creating your very own fresh gelato is definitely the way to go. We created 3 batches in one night and had wonderful results: chocolate-hazelnut, watermelon, and lemon. Here is a simplified version of our chocolate-hazelnut gelato if you are ready to whip up some heavenly spoonfuls in your kitchen.

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread like Nutella
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted for garnish

- Heat milk, cream, and ½ cup sugar in saucepan. Stir and cook until sugar dissolves

- Whip the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar with electric mixer until thick and pale yellow (4 minutes)

- Slowly combine 1/2 of milk mixture into egg mixture and stir, careful not to heat eggs too quickly.

- Pour back into saucepan and cook at very low heat stirring constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon and leave a path when you run your finger over it. (10 minutes)

- Strain into a medium bowl. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves completely.

- Chill thoroughly before pouring into ice cream maker. Follow machine instructions.

- Top with hazelnuts and enjoy!

Top Off Your Summer Treats

Use a cookie cutter in any shape you like to create cute fruit cut-outs. Select summery watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, or pineapple to make irresistible garnishes. We also offered dark chocolate chips, toasted hazelnut and waffle cookies for toppings to add in even more variety.

For a relaxing afternoon, consider serving a nice wine with your gelato. For chocolates and nut flavored gelato, we recommend pairing a Vin Santo, a traditional Italian dessert wine often featuring light caramel notes. For various fruit flavors of gelato, the sweet slight fizz of a Moscato goes great.

Serve It Up!

In the hot summer time, you can be sure that whatever you dish out won't last long. Gather all your guests together when you come from freezer to table with your frozen delights. You'll want to hand out each scoop immediately to minimize melting.

Present a variety of scoops for your guests and see which flavor has them coming back for more.

 

 

 

This party theme definitely appeals to the young of heart but if you want to include the actual youth of your household, that's no problem! Set up a kids table with a few favorite candy toppings.

Have an adult scoop out some kid-friendly vanilla and let the little hands put on their own garnish.

Turning your backyard or porch into an Italian gelateria for an afternoon is a great way to beat the heat and chill with good friends this summer. Relax with your guests and enjoy sampling all your sweet treats!

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