Saturday, August 20, 2011

Italian Ice Cream


Today is National Spumoni Day.  Spumoni is a molded Italian ice cream made with layers of different colors and flavors, usually containing candied fruits and nuts. Typically it is of three flavors, with a fruit/nut layer between them. The ice cream layers are often mixed with whipped cream. Chocolate and pistachio are the typical flavors of the ice cream layers, and the fruit/nut layer often contains cherry bits—causing the traditional red/pink, brown, and green color combination. It is popular in places with large Italian immigrant populations such as the United States and Argentina.

Each layer of spumoni ice cream includes much more than flavored ice cream. The chocolate layer, for example, may include chocolate shavings or chunks. In fact, sometimes to chocolate layer has crushed hazelnuts inside. Not only does the hazelnut add a lovely flavor to the chocolate, but it also compliments the pistachio layer. The pistachio layer, of course, almost always includes crushed pistachio nuts. Finally, the fruit layer of spumoni is usually made with candied fruit. Sometimes spumoni is made with strawberry or even raspberry flavored ice cream. However, cherry is the most traditional fruit component to the dessert.

A close relative to Spumoni is Neapolitan ice cream, and some believe the banana split is also related...possibly a cousin.  They both contain chocolate and strawberry, while the split also contains the whipped cream and nuts.
I have to admit that I personally have never had Spumoni.  You know how thorough I like to be in my reporting to you, however in the area I live, I have never seen it.  After researching this treat however, I’m going to make a point of looking for it the next time I go out of town.  It sounds delicious!  If you are fortunate to live in an area where you have access to this wonderful treat, today is the perfect occasion to to enjoy some.

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