Chef Costanzo Malatta of Amore Gourmet Gelato tells us why his Italian Gelato is not just any other ‘ice cream’

What’s creamier than ice cream but with less fat content? What’s a great way to enjoy the fruits of the season? What’s as Italian as Tiramisu but with less than half as many calories? If you have Gelato on your mind, you will agree that Gelato has now begun to replace ice cream as a favourite dessert for children and adults alike.

Chef Costanzo Malatta is quick to agree; it wasn’t for nothing that he brought his award winning Italian gelateria, Amore Gourmet Gelato to India four years ago. How does one know a good gelato? “You’ll know instantly because it feels different in your mouth. Unlike ice cream which leaves behind an after taste, gelato is lighter and it leaves you with a clean.” To him, the most important thing to keep in mind is the freshness of the gelato and the quality of the ingredients used. “Unlike ice cream, which can be made a month in advance and kept frozen with the help of preservatives, gelato has a shelf life of only a week so you can be ensured of its freshness,” he says, “Another difference between ice cream and gelato is that the former is factory made while gelato production is artisinal and in micro-batches. We don’t use any preservatives or artificial flavouring in our gelato so it can be safely eaten even by children.”

With a high regard for fresh ingredients in his product, Chef Costanzo says, “We don’t use any canned or pureed fruits, so while we have over 150 flavours we have a rotating menu.” The seasonal flavours on the shelf now are Sitaphal, Chickoo and Black grape. “Using the right method, you can make a Gelato out of anything, even Basil,” he adds.

Chef Costanzo, who follows a hands-on approach to his job as technical director of Amore Gourmet Gelato, spends most of his time in the kitchen. He comes to India at least once a year to train his staff and makes a yearly or half-yearly trip to India to train his staff here and do quality tests. “We try our best to use local products and encourage our chefs here to innovate around what’s available in the market here. “The Guava-mint gelato, in fact, is a signature flavour from Hyderabad. Another Indian made flavour, like the Masala Latte went on to win the ‘Most innovative gelato flavour’ award at the International exhibition for the artisan production of gelato, pastry, confectionary and bakery (SIGEP).

While Gelato became popular in India less than a decade ago, it has been around since early 20th century. Amore’s legacy, for instance, dates back to 1960 where from a little store room on the Italian Riviera where Luigi Panero, began a little gelateria. After 45 years of innovating and aiming for higher quality levels, his passion was validated in 2006 when the honour of ‘Gelatiere of the year’, was conferred upon Luigi by the Association of Italian Gelatiere. Chef Costanzo and his team of gelateriers are now closer to fulfilling Luigi’s dream of sharing his creations with the world.

In Hyderabad, the most popular flavours have remained Belgium Chocolate and Butterscotch. Perhaps it is time for us to taste our way through all those 150 flavours.