In Centocelle, the cuisine that enhances Gelato D’Essai: its menu is with thermal shock on the plate. But don’t call it gastronomic ice cream.
Like all stories, even ice cream is lost in the mists of time. A passage from the Bible mentions it as goat’s milk mixed with snow; at the time of the Romans, the nivatae potiones were a sort of cold desserts. The evolution of ice cream, in a “modern” way, comes with the first coffee-ice cream shop at the court of Louis XIV by the Palermo-born Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli. The first ice cream shop opens, instead, in America, the continent where the first hand-cranked sorbet machine was patented. From April 13th 2019, a new name has entered the rankings of these records and historical stops: Geppy Sferra and his Gelato d’Essai, the first ice cream restaurant in the world, “at least, I think so”. In the workshop of the master ice cream maker and chef Marco Mezzaroma, however, the ice cream is not gastronomic and in the dish it acts as a dessert: “salty is outdated”.
How do you choose the combinations?
“We experiment. Tradition doesn’t always help. For example, in Rome we use the oxtail with chocolate, but pure cocoa covered the meat too much: so, we replaced it with pine nut ice cream “.
The most successful unexpected duets?
“Sesame mackerel with a coffee scoop; artichoke with liquorice flavour”.
What are the objective difficulties?
“We need to balance the ingredients, measure out the quantity of ice cream on the plate to avoid overwhelming the taste, and eat everything in just one bite. It is difficult to manage temperatures”.
Are there any recipes that you find difficult to imagine?
“We haven’t tried first courses yet: this is the next goal.”
And for dessert?
“No ice cream, paradoxically. We offer several desserts. In the end, however, almost all customers choose a cup or a cone”.