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GRAND GOURMET
 
A crowning moment
 
A Sicilian father, Austrian mother: a cocktail that often produces interesting results.
This can certainly be said of the Alongi brothers, Pasquale and Peppino, names from the south of the country but born and raised in Merano, in northeast Italy: middle-European rigour and method, combined with the passion and impetuosity of the south.
The former was to have been a lawyer, the latter a doctor. Fate saw to it that they were ice-cream makers.
Gluttony perhaps has played a greater role than destiny: they did not find ice-creams that were as good as those made by them at home under their mother's watchful gaze. It may seem unbelievable, but what is now considered the best ice-cream in Italy, and perhaps the world, came about quite by chance, without any specific studies, but thanks to the gluttony and scientific curiosity of the two brothers, in particular Pasquale, alert to chemical and physical aspects and to balancing, emulsifying and dosing techniques for the various ice-cream flavours. They had been to Rome in their youth, and they liked the city.
It seemed the ideal starting point for their new adventure.
Their aim is indeed that of multiplying outlets while continuing to manage the original shop directly.
In 1993 they opened in via Acaia. They had grown tired of trying poor ice-creams.
Despite being in the suburbs, success was meteoric, with articles in the American Gourmet, New York Times, Gambero Rosso, Corriere della Sera, Japanese magazines, the European Magazine, Time out, interviews with Rai television, etc.
What is their secret? Only one. Quality, based on a number of elements, including excellent raw materials: pistachios are Sicilian, from Bronte; hazelnuts are round and mild from the Langhe region; coffee is Illy; the zabaione is made from Marsala De Bartoli special reserve or Terre Arse della Florio Riserva (and you can really taste the reserve part!), the lemon sorbet can be served with Calvados Chateâu du Breuil Bizouard Hors d’Age millesime 1973; fruit is extremely fresh and first-choice (pineapple from Ivory Coast), and no frozen fruit is used; the imported plain chocolate has a very high percentage of cocoa (over 70%).
Unnatural chemical emulsifiers are not used (only fresh eggs are used, containing natural lecithin), preservatives or thickeners are not used (except for carob), and no aromas are added. No common bases are used (such as a white base for "crema" ice-creams and chocolate base): each flavour is prepared individually so as to optimise mixes and bring out the peculiar properties and flavours. The ice-cream is moreover harder than normal (as there are no preservatives it must be kept at a lower temperature) and it is thus not possible to fill a cone.
The best flavour? “Il San Crispino” of course, a honey-based crema (the arbutus-berry honey comes from a WWF reserve). Flavours change according to the season, and the novelty for this year (at least for them) is liquorice ice-cream.

- July-August 1997 no. 62 -
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