The return of nitrogen ice cream

The main ingredient and philosophy of the entire project is free thought, the desire to break the mould and to produce natural sustainable ice-cream. “The ice-cream at al d. mangiami is a unique product because it is the first nitrogen ice-cream that can be preserved, so it is ideal for both cones and as a take away product”, explains the owner of the business, Marios Gerakis. “Years of studying and experimentation have allowed me to get pure, really healthy ice-cream, strawberry itself not strawberry flavoured, without the addition of animal or vegetable proteins or fibres and free from any synthetic or natural additive. If others give a sense of authenticity, we are authenticity itself.”
You can learn about Marios’ project during his cooking show at the store in Via Zambonate 51, in Bergamo, during which Davide Cassi, Professor of Physics of Matter, Director of the Food Physics Laboratory at the University of Parma and lecturer of Molecular Gastronomy at the ALMA Laboratory in Colorno, speaks to the press about the scientific aspect of the product and the chemical use of nitrogen. “Nitrogen is an inert substance – says Cassi – so harmless and it evaporates completely and makes up 78% of the air we breathe.” Cassi stresses that the big news is the opening of the first ice cream shop in Italy that dares to produce using only liquid nitrogen ice cream and no longer just as a choice to surprise for a few flavours, but as a new way of producing as a whole. “In 2009, the TV show,” Striscia la Notizia aired media coverage with the sole purpose of making noise, that blocked trials on the use of liquid nitrogen. Few have since had the courage to continue down this road and to insist on getting the production of pure ice-cream, without additives, without the use of emulsifiers, underway. Today the importance is put on the equipment, at the expense of the ingredients. The use of nitrogen allows outstanding results, guaranteeing creamy ice-cream. Liquid nitrogen allows rapid cooling, which has a positively impact on the structure of the product. The aroma is “extracted” and enhanced. The ability of the producer is important. Nitrogen enhances the excellence of the ingredient and the ability of the craftsman but also brings out the mistakes and defects. “It is a production process that focuses on the ice-cream maker, you must know how to study the balance between the speed of the mixer and the timing of the nitrogen.”
To choose nitrogen it is choose ice-cream itself not an ice-cream flavour …
Marios chooses nitrogen for the preparation of his ice-cream because “it is the means which allows a truly handmade product with the use of ingredients with a low energy content, fat and artificial flavours or additives. The only ingredients are fruit, sugar and water for the fruit ice-cream, and milk, cream, sugar and ingredient that characterizes the taste for the creamy ice-creams. Three ingredients for the fruit flavours, five for the creams and nothing else, apart from the art of making it.” The ice-cream maker is convinced that “craftsmanship means to produce ice-cream with the use of just a few pieces of equipment and that, these should not be invasive, and should not condition the preparation of the product. Technology should help us, but should not dominate the process. What is the risk? That you move too close to an industrial product.”
Marios does not hide anything, and also gives the proportions for his product: for 1 litre of ice-cream, one liter of nitrogen. He proudly points out that “al d. mangiami” has been recognized by the Chamber of Commerce of Bergamo as an innovative company, which sets it aside from other Italian companies, and is the only company engaged in the production of sustainable chocolate ice-cream. “We are truly sustainable, we consume little water, produce little waste and use less energy as we produce cold without producing heat.”

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