I’ve been ridiculously excited about today’s tour ever since I heard about it in early April, but have been too scared to blog about it just in case something awful occurred to stop it from happening. What if the visit fell through/I fell through a hole in the street/all the gelato fell on the floor? But, thank goodness, none of those eventualities occurred, and today, I had the time of my life visiting the G7 Gelato Factory in Bentivoglio, Italy.
Before I get to the gelato part, though (I know, I know, hang on), I want to thank everyone involved in the process of getting me there today. One of the incredible Goliard board members (name not mentioned to protect him from an onslaught of gelato factory requests) contacted a friend at HEB (my absolute favorite grocery store…all the samples!), who then talked to Francesco, the wonderful export manager at G7 Gelato, who set up the tour. All of the staff were incredibly kind to me, and I also want to thank them, and the Visani family, for the tour today.
Now, onto the gelato! We arrived at G7 Gelato in the morning, and quickly suited up for the factory tour.
Me and Francesco – don’t we look dashing?
Once in, we first saw all of the raw ingredients undergoing the pasteurization process.
Soon to be some incredible gelato
Then, we walked through to look at the “ripples” – the gorgeous sauces that are combined with specific gelato flavors.
Next, we saw the container where the gelato sits in order to reach the perfect texture.
Then, deemed the “sexiest” part by Angela (my amazing tour guide today)…
Each carton is hand filled…
and then hand decorated! Seriously sexy, right?
Afterward, we also saw the ingredient storage area.
Some good-looking cherries for the Affogato all’amarena:
And that was it. The End.
…just kidding! Do you think I’d see all that and leave without a sample?
When I entered the conference room, a sampling of today’s production was set up. Now that is sexy.
From left to right: Limone di Sicilia, Vaniglia del Madagascar, Stracciatella, Panna Cotta, Tiramisù.
My jaw DROPPED…in shock and amazement, and to facilitate better eating of the gelato. No, but seriously.
Francesco recommended going from right to left, from the heavier flavors to the light, palate-cleansing limone. How were they? Eh…only, like, incredibly delicious!
Quick Notes: Gelato is renowned for being an extremely creamy product, even though it actually contains less fat than ice cream (I know, how is that even possible?). Additionally, in factories, more air can be added to the product, making it very light as well.
I think my two favorites here were Panna Cotta and the Limone. The panna cotta had this amazing rich, smooth caramel sauce, along with the fun caramel curls (I’m a sucker for toppings, seriously). The Limone was the other surprising standout for me. Surprising because, well, it’s fruit! I am generally a death by chocolate kind of girl, but the lemon flavor in this was so direct and pure that I became an instant fan.
…but wait! After Francesco, Angela, and I had our first sampling party, Francesco handed me the list of flavors and asked which ones I’d like to try. I almost pinched myself…is this real life? I decided on Pistacchio, but he decided that I should also try Bacio (hazelnut mmm) and Affogato all’amarena (vanilla with cherries).
So, thus began Round 2:
Unlike the first round, this round of gelato had actually been in the freezer for 3+ days, thus achieving the normal gelato texture.
In this round, I loved the Pistacchio and, again somewhat surprisingly, Affogato all’amarena. The Pistacchio had a wonderful flavor that was strong, but clearly very natural. The cherries in the Affogato were absolutely sublime, and there was the perfect ratio of cherry flavor to vanilla ice cream.
G7 Gelato factory…you have my heart. For all my Texas friends, this is available at your local HEB! I will most certainly be stocking up when I return to the States.
And that, my friends, is actually The End…for now. I’m leaving the gorgeous city of Florence for the canals of Venice. Stay tuned to see how I fare!
P.S. I’m not entirely sure about the wi-fi connection in Venice, so if you don’t hear from me soon, I promise I’m still writing and will upload when I can!