Is it a surprise to you that Italians invented ice cream? Not me!
Made only of: Cream Milk Sugar Eggs
At the end of the 1960s, a contest was announced to commemorate the Florentine architect Bernardo Buontalenti, who is known to have invented the ice cream known as “gelato.”
Gelateria Badiani won a prize with a simple yet unique flavor, indeed called Buontalenti. Since then, this special cream based flavor has conquered the palate of Florentines and all good gelato lovers.
Despite many imitation attempts, Badiani’s gelateria is the only home of the real Buontalenti. And, it is still the most sought after flavor.
History of gelato and Buontalenti
It’s been said that the first to make true gelato, creamy and frozen as we know it today were the Florentines in 15th century.
It allegedly happened like this: during the mid 1500s, Cosimo I de’ Medici, elegant Lord of Tuscany, designated Bernardo Buontalenti to organize special festivities. The Lord intended to astonish a delegation of the King of Spain for political reasons, to support of Cosimo’s intention to incorporate Siena in the dukedom.
Bernardo Buontalenti, architect and creative figure, directed shows and fireworks and set up a program of festivities like no one ever before. He arranged sumptuous banquets, at the end of which he served a frozen cream to which he had added a very precious spice that was coming from the newly discovered Americas: sugar.
The Spanish delegation was enthusiastic with great satisfaction of the Grand Duke, who had to hire a number of cooks who could continuously prepare gelato.
However, it was thanks to Caterina de’ Medici, then Queen of France, that gelato spread across Europe beginning during the second half of the century. Since then the Queen summoned Florentine pastry chefs who had learned that art and she always served gelato to her guests, kings and diplomats, who then returned to their homelands with the recipe.
And, just for fun, here’s a vintage photo showing the ever popular combination of children and gelato, especially in Florence!
When ladies wore hats and white gloves. And I am betting the heat was just as unbearable then as now.
Firenze. Interno del Ponte Vecchio. Cart. Inv. nel 1966.