Spumoni – Part 1 – Italian Colors in Cream

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Have you ever sat down to dish of Spumoni ice cream? The red, green, brown and white colors are so pretty to behold. The flavors of chocolate and pistachio with the fruity cherries and nuts all mingle to provide a delightful taste experience in this frozen Italian Dessert. Have you ever wondered how our Neapolitan flavored ice cream came into existence? Well, wonder no more!

SPUMONI…THE TRUTH REVEALED…

Spumone, derived from “spuma” or foam, is a molded Italian ice cream. It is made with different layers of colors and flavors, usually containing candied fruits and nuts. Spumone is usually three flavors with a fruit / nut layer between. Frequently the ice cream layer has been mixed with whipped cream and the flavors of these layers are usually chocolate and pistachio. The fruit and nut layer typically contains cherries, creating the traditional red/pink, brown and green color combination that we are so accustomed to seeing. This Italian Dessert originated in Naples, Italy and, accordingly, the three-flavored ice cream that we know today as “Neapolitan”, emanated from it. Spumone is popular in areas in which there are large Italian immigrant populations, like the United States and Argentina. Its association with Italian food not-withstanding, it has been placed by many dairies and retailers in the “Holiday” or “seasonal” category along with eggnog and, accordingly, they only make it available during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday seasons. Maybe the red and green colors contribute to this relegation.

OTHER INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SPUMONI...

Sometimes the chocolate layer will actually contain pieces of shaved chocolate and / or crushed Hazelnuts. The Hazelnuts not only add an enhancing flavor to the chocolate but also compliments the pistachio layer that almost always has crushed pistachio nuts in it. The fruit and nut layer usually contains some sort of candied fruit; generally cherries are the most traditional but sometimes it can contain strawberries or raspberries. Spumoni has yielded its own breed of dishes; Neapolitan ice cream being a direct descendent and, perhaps, the banana split (typically made with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream and topped with whipped cream and cherries) is a distant cousin. As you consume your Spumoni, be sure to savor the flavors in each layer to enjoy the full experience.

In my next post, I’ll provide a recipe for Spumoni. It’s lengthy because you actually make each of the different flavored ice creams from scratch. Do not fear, it’s not a hard recipe, just one with many steps. It promises to be quite a yummy post, so come on back and…bring your friends! (Betcha thought I was going to say bring your appetite! – Yeah, well that won’t hurt either.)

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