The Artisan Gelato

The real artisans

In Italy there are only very few gelato producers that produce everything inside their laboratory. The choice of not using fast thickeners, emulsifiers and food flavouring, and the choice of preparing the ingredients like professionals used to do back in the days are fascinating but they require deep technical knowledge and raw ingredients knowledge. They require an authentic Maitre Glacier to produce real artisan gelato.

The "new" artisans with the industrial base

The gelato can be done also in another way. There are ready compounds named “base” that contain fast thickeners, emulsifiers, proteins, sugar, powdered milk and food flavouring. With these ready compounds the fiordilatte (plain milk gelato) is made. In order to get the final gelato flavours chocolate paste, nocciola paste, pistachio paste or blended fruit is added.

There are three categories of semifinished products: low, medium or high dosage. Depending on the dosage level, they allow to reduce the production time.

The "Fake" Artisans

Who uses semifinished products with high dosage reduces to the minimum the work needed because, in order to get a gelato ready for the display, only two steps are needed: pouring water and/or milk in the compound; putting the compound in the mantecatore machine. The outcome is guaranteed, perhaps the colours are vivid but the cone does not pass the palate test. For the real artisans, the industrial products in their simpler form (emulsifiers and thickeners), are just help that doesn’t alterate the product quality.
Different matter is when the almost-complete compounds are used to give the “artisan license” to people that have never done that job.


It is a sugar, it is extracted from topinambur tubers, from chicory, from agave and from other tubers. It is used, quite widely, in many gelato industrial compounds (that is the powders used in many artisan laboratories).

It is used to “thicken and inflate” rapidly the gelato (fast thickener), basically it makes the gelato “creamy” without the need of waiting for it to mature naturally (it is like kneading a fast pizza dough and cooking it after one hour instead of waiting for the 24 hours needed for the natural raising).

The inulin gives to the beginner artisan a semifinished industrial product ready to be used but.. only few grams are enough for it to have laxative effects, this is why many need to run to the loo after having had a gelato.

Food flavouring

These are ingredients that have a fundamental role in the recent gelato production. They are always present in the ready-compounds for gelato “base”, they are present also in the pastes to give gelato flavour and in the surrounding products like topping and pralines.

They are used to highlight some flavours that would be otherwise absent.

In detail: If I want to produce a “cream flavour” gelato but I do not use cream because it’s too expensive, I can use a “cream flavour food flavouring” and I get a flavour that is “similar” to the original, or at least it tricks most of the people.

Food flavouring is used to give a characteristic flavour to the product but they come with a defect. They stimulate improperly the taste buds and the oesophagus so that, when the gelato has been eaten, the “throat feels itchy” and you are “very thirsty”.

After some hours, small regurgitation flavoured gelato are present and the “bloated stomach effect”, sometimes, lasts few days.

Many “artisan” gelato laboratories produce an “heavy” gelato, it’s not easy to eat a big amount of this gelato because it is “nauseating”, the cause of this are the compounds full of food flavouring.