A Stracciatella by Any Other Name
At Cremalosa, I spend a lot of time developing new flavors. Most of my inspiration comes from cakes, cookies, pies, and especially candies from an abundant American repertoire. Cremalosa’s Banana Pudding, for example. Or Malted Milk Ball. And frankly, no matter how much I like a flavor (looking at you, Snickerdoodle), it won’t last in the case if it doesn’t sell.
It’s a little different in Italy, where flavors are based on tradition and trends. Believe me, Italian gelato can get as crazy as Italian fashion and design trends: Everything from black gelato (made with activated charcoal) to how the gelato is displayed (waves, shelves, inlaid?) is on display each year at Sigep, the largest gelato expo in the world.
As whacky as some of the stuff at Sigep is, Italian gelato shops will place in their cases what people like, just like we do at Cremalosa. And anyone who’s ever been to Italy will tell you that stracciatella is a crowd favorite, as well as a tradition.
The name stracciatella is derived from the Italian verb “strattore” – “to stretch,” and means “rag.” It also describes more than just gelato: It’s the word used for Italian egg drop soup and a type of bufala cheese from Apulgia. In gelato terms, stracciatella is fior di latte gelato with dark chocolate “stretched” through it. The result is a creamy sort of “chocolate chip.”
When I was studying gelato making, I learned from my teacher at Carpigiani that many a gelataio (or in my case, gelataia) add a special “touch” to their stracciatella – a little secret something that sets theirs apart from the others – a spice, or maybe the use of sweetened condensed cream.
A Cremalosa, I’m happy to share my secret sauce – we infuse our fior di latte with just a hint of star anise, vanilla bean and cinnamon. Then we use a rich dark chocolate to stretch through the gelato, creating chunks of chips. We think the result is pretty yummy.