“…To make sure they didn’t blow it, my mom, two of her sisters and a family friend spent last summer in Bologna, Italy, at the Carpigiani Gelato University. There, they learned why gelato-making calls for the passion of an artist and the precision of a scientist: One wrong move — like one extra teaspoon of sugar — and your masterpiece is finito.
No one knows that better than Giuseppina, who learned to make gelato while working at a café in Italy as a teenager. There, she honed her technique, and five years later, in 1952, decided to open her own business with my grandfather, Gerardo.
Starting with only a few flavours, my grandparents cordoned off one room in their house, where the gelato was made.
“It was a special room and it was always closed. We were not allowed to enter,” my mother says. Because money was tight, they did their selling from a bicycle, travelling through their town and making sure to hit the well-populated areas.
By 1957, it was time to upgrade to a truck, an Alfa Romeo.
“They wanted style,” my mother says. Having proper wheels also meant my grandparents could sell gelati in neighbouring towns and at all the local festivals.
Over the years there was steady success, but there were also a few lows, including the time my mother and her twin sister accidentally caused the truck to crash and the time health officials closed the business for two days because my grandparents used fresh farm milk, which was unpasteurized, instead of the powdered stuff. They eventually relented and switched to powdered milk, but swore their gelato wasn’t the same….”