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Home-made Vanilla Gelato

Gelato, one of the world's most beloved desserts, captivates with its myriad flavors and textures, transcending the mere label of "sweet." Have you ever explored its savory incarnations, daringly crafted to accompany appetizers or mains? While not all may venture into experimenting with flavors like roast meat and bitter cocoa (yes, it exists!), nothing beats the satisfaction of savoring homemade gelato, even if it's just the classic strawberry and chocolate.

The recipe for Vanilla Gelato

And so, here is the simple recipe from our Cesarina Cristina to prepare a great homemade vanilla ice cream... and you don't even need an ice cream machine!

Vanilla Gelato

A timeless classic that can satisfy everyone

Preparation time4h


  • 400 ml fresh liquid cream
  • 200 ml fresh milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100 gr granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 ungrated lemon zest
  • A pinch of salt


  • Place a container, preferably steel, in the freezer to cool.
  • In a saucepan, pour the milk and cream with the split vanilla bean (scored in the center so the fragrant seeds spread in the liquid), then heat over moderate heat until almost boiling; then turn off the heat.
  • Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and frothy, then pour in the hot liquid and mix well. Return to low heat for 5/6 minutes: continue stirring, making sure the mixture doesn't boil.
  • Let it cool completely.
  • Now pour the mixture into the chilled steel container and place it in the freezer for at least 3/4 hours, remembering to stir the ice cream every 30 minutes or so.

The "ancestors" of gelato

Have you tried our recipe? Excellent! As you enjoy your freshly made gelato, let's embark on a journey through time to uncover the history of this ubiquitous yet enigmatic treat.

Tracing the origins of gelato proves challenging, with historical accounts of various milk preservation techniques and controversies over its invention.

The story begins millennia ago, with early renditions appearing even in biblical times. In ancient China around 2000 BC, a concoction of milk and cooked rice solidified in snow, foreshadowing gelato's evolution.

Fast forward to medieval Sicily, where Arab domination introduced frozen fruit juices, precursor to modern sherbet.

The gelato as we know it today

However, gelato as we know it emerged during the Renaissance.

In Florence, architect Bernardo Buontalenti concocted the first gelato using snow, salt, lemons, sugar, egg whites, and milk.

Coppe di gelato viste dall'alto su un vassoio

From Florence, gelato traversed the Alps via Caterina de' Medici's marriage to King Henry II of France, gaining momentum with social changes and 19th-century technological innovations.

By the 1800s, Italian immigrant vendors, known as "hokey-pokey," introduced gelato to the streets of London and New York. American inventor Nancy Johnson revolutionized gelato production with her ice cream machine prototype, propelling it into the industrial age.

Foto in bianco e nero di carretto di gelataio per strada

The new frontiers of gelato

Since then, gelato has become a global phenomenon, with renowned gelaterias offering an infinite array of flavors and creative combinations.

Take, for instance, the "Frozen Haute Chocolate," the world's most expensive gelato. For a modest $25,000 at New York's Serendipity 3, indulge in this exotic treat adorned with edible gold leaves.

And here's a fun fact: the world's largest gelato cone was crafted at the Rimini Fiera during the International Exhibition of Artisan Gelato, Pastry, and Bakery in 2011.

Seven artisans spent thirty hours creating a towering cone, nearly 3 meters tall, earning a coveted spot in the Guinness World Records.

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