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Julie Van Rosendaal visits Italy

Julie Van Rosendaal has just returned from a food tour in Italy - she drops by to tell us all about it. Check out her recipes for tasty gelato!

Fior di Latte Gelato

Use this basic gelato as a blank canvas - you can steep sprigs of fresh rosemary or lavender (or ginger, or mint) in the milk or cream, then strain it before you stir in the sugar. Or make stracciatella gelato by stirring in chopped dark chocolate at the very end, once the gelato is frozen but still soft.

2 cups whole milk or half & half
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
pinch salt

In a medium saucepan, bring about a cup of the milk almost to a simmer with the sugar - heat it, whisking, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and pour in the rest of the milk, the cream and a pinch of salt. (Doing it this way will kickstart the cooling process - it won't take as long as if you heated it all up to begin with.)

Cover and refrigerate the mixture until it's well chilled, then freeze in the bowl of an ice cream machine. Makes about 1 L.

Chocolate Mint Gelato

Omit the mint for a plain chocolate gelato.

a few sprigs of fresh mint
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2-4 oz. dark (70% cocoa) chocolate, chopped

On a chopping board, bruise the fresh mint with the back of a knife, or squish it with your fingers. (This will allow the fresh herb to release more flavour.) Put it into a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water, bring to a simmer, then set aside to steep for half an hour or so. Strain it through a sieve.

In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup cocoa and set it over medium-high heat. Whisk in the water, bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two, then stir until smooth. Cool completely then refrigerate until well chilled.

Pour the cold mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Makes about 1 L.

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