Me? Cook Sicilian?

Anyone who knows my passion to cook, especially Italian dishes, knows also of my heritage from Tuscany. You can’t get more Italian than having had a mother from Elba and a father from Lucca who became a noted restaurant chef during California’s heyday in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It’s one of the good things in my genes. But these Italians avoid Southern Italy, their famous limoncello notwithstanding. Nothing Sicilian would have ever found its way onto one of our family dinner tables. Now, with a trip to Naples soon ahead, my curiosity prevails.

One of my favorite TV personalty chefs is Mary Ann Esposito on Ciao Italia. When she went to the East Coast to interview Morgan Morano making her Sicilian artisan gelato, I bought her book and went to work, starting small, hoping for no ancestral observation from “above”.

Pasta is better in this province, than that one. It even is named differently. Ever notice how one region promotes their specialties over another. Why is Sicilian gelato better?  Moreno learned from a Sicilian gelato artisan before opening her shop in New England. Much gelato is premade, she tells us, often with chemicals and coloring and warns that artisan standards do not exist where you see carnival gaudiness and mile high piles. At Morano Gelato, base ingredients are made to individually tailor each recipe. It differs from American ice cream because:

  • it is lower in butterfat (4-9% vs. 14-25%), intensifying the flavor
  • it is dense, far less air than the 50% more air churned into American ice cream
  • served at a warmer temp, the flavor and creamy texture is reinforced

I learned to make the easy recipes with an inexpensive scale than includes grams and replaced the sugar content with no taste difference with Xilytol (4lb. canister available through Swanson Amazon has  “The Art of Making Gelato” by Morgan Morano for a cooking experience par artisanale!


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