On our first date, we walked across the street from the wine bar to the gelateria, which sold (by his account) some of the finest gelato in the county. It did not disappoint. The house specialty was a combination of creamy mascarpone, pistachio and assortment of “secret” ingredients. Mmmmm.
Over the next year and a half, we made our way to the gelateria a half-dozen times – once, even, for breakfast. I marveled at the sheer, unforced happiness the owner exuded. How, I thought, could one NOT be happy, leaving some stressful job for one that brings delight to each customer who steps over the threshold? Alas, the gelateria closed this year, moving to lucrative pastures in another part of the state. An era has ended – both gelato and boyfriend are gone.
With single-girl time on my hands and a longing for good-quality, Italian-style gelato comforting my belly, I began experimenting with my home ice cream maker and my new gelato manual, “Making Artisan Gelato” by Torrance Kopfer. You can find the first results in this blog – nectarine gingersnap, pistachio mascarpone, and strawberry balsamic with almond biscotti. None of these recipes are in the book, but I used Kopfer’s recipes as a base for my own. I’ve started a list of flavor combinations I want to try – spicy Mexican hot chocolate, peanut butter cream cheese brownie, apricot honey walnut with rosewater, dark chocolate and Moroccan preserved lemon, cashew caramel with Chinese 5-spice. I may not reach the absolute bliss of the gelateria owner, but there is something about this gelato-making that delights me.
The past few days, I’ve been daydreaming of owning my own gelateria in one of the small, regentrified, storefronts downtown, focusing on a career I love, that’s closer to home, working just as hard, but with better hours, making my customers happy and with sufficient profits to contentedly live.
There’s a gelato university in Italy. I’m thinking about attending in 2013. Just like culinary school, I may decide the career isn’t for me (but I wouldn’t exchange the experience for anything). I know a career like this is more about business plans, P&L, health department guidelines, equipment buying, location rental and build outs, but it’s also nice to dream sometimes about scooping conefuls of happiness to my adoring gelato fans.