Top Pick Of The Week

July 19, 2011

Talenti Gelato

Talenti Gelato (and sorbetto, too): a real find in your grocer’s ice cream case. All photography courtesy Talenti.

WHAT IT IS: Superpremium gelato and sorbetto (sorbet).
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: The gelato is made in small batches, only fresh seasonal fruit is used, and other marks of fine production.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Fine vanilla and chocolate flavors, as well as 10 others; plus 5 lovely sorbetti (Hill Country Peach Champagne sorbetto is a must).
WHERE TO BUY IT: At fine retailers nationwide. Here’s the store locator.
GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Enter to win free food prizes from The Nibble Gourmet Market. This month, one lucky winner will receive a honey gift set from Honey Ridge Farms. Enter at

.Talenti Gelato: A Class Act

CAPSULE REPORT: Why should you be grateful to Bernardo Buontalenti? Born in Florence, Italy around 1531, he was a genius: painter, sculptor (he studied under Michelangelo), architect to the Medici royal court, theatrical designer and military engineer.

More important to us, he is credited with inventing gelato, which was later evolved by others into ice cream. (See the difference between ice cream and gelato.)

Thousands of years before the dawn of gelato, the Chinese had discovered how to make fruit ice. They built ice houses to save winter ice and snow for summer use. They then flavored some of the snow with fruit juice or syrup, creating the ancestor of the snow cone.

This “recipe” spread to the Middle East, where the fruit-flavored ice was called sharbat (which evolved to sherbet). Alexander the Great of Macedonia (356 to 323 B.C.E.) discovered it and brought it back to Greece, where it became a favorite of the nobility.

At some point, someone—believed to be the multitalented Buontalenti—froze a base of milk instead of water and created gelato.

As the impresario of the Medici banquets, Buontalenti had all the necessary resources, including ice for freezing the gelato, labor to get the recipe right and the ability to make any equipment he needed. The Medici and their guests may have been the first people to enjoy gelato.

Talenti Gelato, the number one gelato brand in the U.S., honors Buontalenti's achievement.

Talenti’s small-batch production is the bridge between handmade artisan gelato and sorbetto made by small gelato operations (like Philadelphia’s Capogiro Gelato) and mass-produced gelato.

The Talenti line currently includes 12 flavors of gelato plus five flavors of sorbetti. For those who like the basics, the Tahitian Vanilla Bean and Double Dark Chocolate are wonderful (see all the flavors). The Argentine Dulce de Leche and the Sea Salt Caramel gelato are worth hunting down, as is the splendid Hill Country Peach Champagne sorbetto. Delicioso!

The products are made with hormone-free milk and are certified kosher (dairy) by OU. The company is also proud of its green initiatives.

The handsome containers can be repurposed for kitchen storage. Wash them by hand or on the top rack of the dishwasher.

THE NIBBLE has been reviewing the finest foods in America since 2004.
Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories. Product reviews are by a unanimous vote of our Editorial Committee. We do not accept placement fees: All products have earned their way into our webzine due to excellence.

Make Your Own Gelato!

Making Artisan Gelato by Torrance Kopfer The Ciao Bello Gelato Book Of Gelato & Sorbetto Gelato! Italian Ice Creams, Sorbetti and Granite

Making Artisan Gelato: 45 Recipes and Techniques for Crafting Flavor-Infused Gelato and Sorbet at Home, by Torrance Kopfer. From the owner of an artisan gelateria in Newport, Rhode Island. More information.

The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto: Bold, Fresh Flavors to Make at Home, by F. W. Pearce and Danilo Zecchin. From the proprietors of the country’s second largest gelato company. More information.

Gelato! Italian Ice Creams, Sorbetti, and Granite, by Pamela Johns. Fifty recipes for gelato and other icy Italian desserts, including granita, semifreddo and sorbetto. More information.


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