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NEW! Organic Annie - A Passion for Ice Cream

Live & Love Ibiza - New columnist Organic Annie will fortnightly be sharing with us recipes with local seasonal products.

The New Shop - Zero Gradi

It's September and hot, so hot in fact that I can't even think of eating anything that isn't cold, very very cold.

Zero Gradi - Zero Degrees - is the fabulous new ice cream shop in Santa Gertrudis run by the truly charming Benvenuto Belingheri and Monica Panzeri serves just that – fabulous ice cream. They arrived on the Island last Autumn for vacation, fell in love and returned this Spring to open Zero Gradi. Very much to our benefit.

Benvenuto has worked in Italian ice cream much of his life, it is his passion and it shows. He and Monica have traveled Italy seeking the secrets of fine ice cream making. Returning to his original workplace, he found, much to his sadness, that the children of the owner had moved away from tradition and quality, buying in frozen prepared fruit, cutting corners.

And so a philosophy was born, a dedication to making the best possible ice cream. A commitment to pure quality fresh local ingredients, preferably organic, and a natural approach dictating that all must be as unadulterated as possible. That combined with a strict adherence to traditional ice cream making methods results in a seriously delicious ice cream, one of the best I have ever tasted.

Take pistachio, for example, the paste, brought in from Italy, one of the very few things brought in, is available in three different qualities. It is clear in the flavour, that he uses the best, pure essence of lightly toasted pistachios. And it's not green, he doesn't use colorants. Benvenuto says his customers can be put off by the lack of bright colour frequently found in other ice creams, then he gives out tastes, resulting in pure appreciation.

Most of the fruit flavours are made from local, seasonal, wild or organic fruit, and contain up to 40 percent. Fruit is full of vitamins, as we all know, and cream and milk, calcium and protein, amongst other things, making it in my mind a healthy choice. Why wait for dessert? How much fun is it to announce to the family,

“Dinner time, let's go for Ice Cream!”.

Smiles all around. I am told by Benvenuto and Monica that this is fairly common summertime practice in Italy.

Back at the Farm

At Can Riero last week, the yellow plums were literally falling off the trees, ripe, sweet and full of juice. The first 10 kilos or so went to jam, the remaining we simply peeled, (very easy with slightly overripe fruit, it comes off in sheets.) and de-seeded. With a hand held blender stick, we pureed, boxed and froze it for later use for homemade ice cream, ice cream sauce, cheesecake and the like.

Several kilos of organic, yellow plum puree went to Zero Gradi, where a fabulous morning was spent making plum ice cream. Professionally, it involves a gorgeous machine that spins and freezes the ice cream in a matter of minutes and the most important piece of equipment is the saccharometer, an instrument used to measure the balance of sugar in the ice cream base, allowing for a perfectly velvet smooth texture.

Tip:

When ordering, don't be tempted to order all your favourites in one cup. Think of organizing a palate of flavours. Chose a favourite, then build a perfect combination of complimentary flavours around it. Classic combinations: Strawberry and lemon, cinnamon and chocolate, orange and pistachio. Chocolate and vanilla, of course, pair with almost any flavour.

Organic Annie A Passion for Ice Cream

Making your own Ice Cream

Ice Cream made at home can be equally delicious, maybe not with the velvet texture of Zero Gradi, but well worth the effort. The recipe is based on one of Alice Water's, owner of the world renowned Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkley California and author of many fresh, organic, local, themed cookbooks. She brought the idea of local perfect ingredients into play in the U.S. and so it is fitting that the ice cream recipe here originated with her.

Plum Ice Cream:
1 1/2 cups Plum puree
1 cup sugar more or less
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix plum puree and 1/2 C sugar, taste, add more to desired sweetness, stir to dissolve.
Mix cream, yogurt, sugar and cinnamon together, stir to dissolve.
Combine into ice cream maker and proceed according to manufacturer's directions.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, combine with hand held blender in a plastic freezer box, freeze for 45 minutes, blend again, 2x or so, until it gets too firm, then mix by hand 1x, freeze until firm.

Zero Gradi is open 7 days a week. Tuesday thru Sunday, 11:00 to 24:00, Monday 1:00 to midnight.
Benvenuto and Monica can be spotted preparing fresh ice cream nearly all day long.

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