The Italian ice cream shop and the beginning of autumn
This summer I have made four types of ice cream that I promised to upload before the good weather is gone: strawberry, stracciatella, chocolate and a glass of chocolate filled with orange liqueur, similar to the one made in one of the most popular ice cream parlors. recognized from Granada: the Italians, an exceptional ice cream parlor, which normally appears in the lists of the ten best in Spain.
In my anecdote (or short story) about ice creams, I mention my enthusiasm, from a very young age, for knives crowned with a scoop of ice cream. I have also told about the traditional arrival in my town of the ice cream maker in Lugo, announcing the summer season, shouting: “Helaoooooooo of lard !!!!!!, helaosssssssss ….. to the richssss helaossssssssss !!!! My admiration for this lucenso, modest and chatty, that without a doubt made the best homemade ice cream I had for years, was at the root of my enthusiasm for ice cream in the cart; until the advent of Frigo ice creams, the business ceased to be profitable, because people’s desire for novelty is always a factor with which they cannot compete.
The truth is that I disliked badly my beloved ice cream maker. Perhaps in my pages, you will have noticed how many of my culinary utensils are, or are, old and old-fashioned (strainers that saw better times, the linen cloth where my mother rolled the gypsy arm, paleolithic wooden spoons, and even my Kenwood blender that I brought back from England 50 years ago, camouflaged in a suitcase and that, apart from the color change — from nuclear white to dirty yellowish white–It works like the first day. Yes, I am very loyal towards the objects that have served me faithfully and I find it very difficult to get rid of them. On the contrary, and since we are all full of light-dark, I love acquiring all kinds of containers to serve my dishes; I feel that each culinary preparation deserves its own exclusive presentation (perhaps this is also related to my fondness for ceramics, porcelain, glass, etc.).
With the disappearance of that modest, but magnificent, craftsman of the ice cream parlor, my taste for ice cream disappeared. It was in Granada many years later when I rediscovered the exquisite refrigerators of the “Italians”, or “the Venetian” as this establishment was also known at the time, where the best ice cream “in the world” is made. I arrived in this city on a cold January day, where Sierra Nevada was completely covered in bluish-white snow. Surprisingly, one of the first things that caught my attention was an establishment that was closed tightly and whose window showed a chestnut tree made of felt, a very vintage design, and approximately one meter in height. Oh coincidence! That chestnut tree was just like Elvira, the chestnut tree of my town, or at least it seemed to me: with her checkered apron that protected her dark suit, she sat in a small cattail chair and in front of a stove with a little light that simulated the fire on which a grid with the chestnuts that were roasting rested; next to her a basket with said fruit, and a straw poker to fan the flame, and while attending to a child who was going to buy his precious chestnuts; To be the chestnut tree of my town, she only needed to show the two varieties that she herself made: the roast, which was wrapped in old and blackened rags to keep them warm, and the cooked in water with fresh aniseed, which she then strung with a thread and sold as a necklace!
Every time I passed by I couldn’t help but stop and be ecstatic remembering the past season of chestnuts (“the magician”), that my mind inexorably associated with the autumn of my childhood, without a doubt, my favorite season. This ice cream parlor opened on San José’s day and inaugurated spring in the city, and the same did with autumn when after Pilar it closed. After two months, the opening day finally arrived and, as I had heard so much about the delicacy of their products, I decided to satisfy my curiosity and go for an ice cream; I was also going to buy a cake to give it to a friend who was an enthusiast of “the famous frozen cake of the Italians”. I was thinking of approaching her to her house and I asked the clerk how long it would last without melting; in the end, with the cake paid and wrapped, I decided to take a taxi just in case, but I found that I didn’t have enough money for the taxi and I asked the saleswoman to put it back in the freezer until I got the money; Immediately one of the owners came out who, neither short nor lazy and without knowing me at all, asked me for a taxi, gave me the money to pay for it and said goodbye lovingly with her hand. I do not know if it was the unusual reception of that angel, or the wonderful taste that ice cream left me, or the decoration of the establishment with its characteristic white flowers, or those tablecloths placed on the tables that were brought directly from Italy, or their spiral holder, or the glasses of water accompanied by a spoon with a square shovel, in addition to the delicacy of the staff – who seem to be educated in those Swiss centers, where girls used to learn social and cultural strategies, or in more traditional terms “the label” – which made me, in a short time, one of their more faithful admirers.
The Italians, a family tradition establishment, are already an icon of Granada. José Luis Entrala tells in his book The Granadinísimos that its owner was an Italian emigrant, who inaugurated it days before the outbreak of the Civil War and I quote: “They were very hungry because the city was not there to buy ice cream. They had spent a lot of money to adapt the premises. So they hired the most beautiful girls from Granada to attend at the counter. ” Its founder, Paolo de Rocco, who started out dragging an ice cream cart, is now remembered as one of the great ice cream masters in Spain, and I would say that throughout Europe: “Artisan elaboration, quality of raw materials, clean flavors oblivious to fashions and kindness and diligence in customer service, “are the pillars of the ice cream parlor, according to the Governing Council of the Tourist Board, which has given it the latest award, of the countless with which it has been awarded. From the Clintons to Michéle Obama, great writers and artists of the 20th century have tasted these ice creams. When, on Obama’s visit (according to his tastes, he chose an ice cream of three types of chocolate “: classic, gianduja and truffle) I asked them if they would put up a photo of the event, they answered me without hesitation: “In no way would it be a disdain for so many important people who have passed through here.”
I never prepare ice cream in Granada because doctors have the holy mother church, and having the learned Italian it would be daring; However, when I am on vacation, I enjoy making a good artisan ice cream since in general all those who sell taste like powders to me. My son, a lover of Granada, says that, without a doubt, in this historic city you must visit two things: The Alhambra and the Italians, and he does not seem to be very sure where.