The best artisan chocolate ice cream. What is the philosophy behind “3 Coni Gambero Rosso” award winner Maurizio Poloni?
Ice Cream Maestro and “3 Coni Gambero Rosso” Award winner
My adventure in the world of gelato began more than thirty years ago when I immediately realized that ice cream was a genuine passion for me. That same passion still allows me to offer a true, traditional yet contemporary Italian-style gelato.
In 2012 Gelateria Artico was born in Milan, my pride and joy.
Maurizio Poloni, Artico's ice-cream maker, tells us the secrets of what is considered by many to be the best artisan chocolate ice cream, so much so that it has been awarded the 3 Coni Gambero Rosso.
This year the Maestro celebrates 40 years of activity in the world of ice cream: what started out as just a job for him, over time has become a passion that still guides his choices and pushes him to continuously challenge himself without ever being satisfied.
The values and secrets of the Maestro ice cream maker Maurizio Poloni
Let's start by telling you about a Master ice-cream maker's values who have been surprising us with his creations since 1981.
Let me start by saying that there are no particular secrets in my profession as an ice-cream maker, but there are specific values.
In 40 years of activity, I have witnessed many changes in the world of gelato, without ever giving in to the fashions of the moment and without losing sight of the characteristics that distinguish authentic traditional Italian gelato.
I have combined all this with study, dedication, experimentation and, today, technology so that the ice cream I offer is both traditional and contemporary, in line with changing tastes and new market requirements.
The constant study is the means that allows me to grow professionally. Dedication results from passion, while experience is the common denominator that acts as a glue and unites all the steps.
Today, however, I also have another objective: to teach how to make an excellent Italian-style gelato without compromises or shortcuts. I, therefore, believe that the term 'Maestro' encapsulates precisely this meaning; it means handing down a trade, transferring a little of one's knowledge, expertise and experience, while at the same time following my own path of professional growth.
The best chocolate for professional artisan gelato: when and how did Artico meet Amedei?
Chocolate is undoubtedly one of my professional passions, so much so that I started the Chocolate Show in 2012, the year Artico opened. During this event, which this year will see its tenth edition, we offer 32 flavours of chocolate ice cream for an entire weekend.
We basically “celebrate” chocolate that becomes Gelato, talking about its most varied facets.
Although there is no universal rule for choosing the best chocolate to use, it is evident that it is necessary to start from the excellence of the chocolate to achieve the best possible result. Hence our choice to use Amedei chocolate.
What are the secrets to preserving the aromatic notes of fine chocolate?
This is where professionalism comes in. In order not to compromise an excellent raw material, a correct and appropriate balance of the recipe and a minimum of skill are required to preserve the different original nuances as much as possible.
Amedei's roasting and conching process result in a perfectly balanced finished product, allowing it to pass from artisan to artisan, or rather, from chocolatier to ice-cream maker. When we work with pure chocolate and when we offer dark chocolate with flavourings elaborated in our laboratory.
However, the decision to use Amedei chocolate is not only dictated by the fact that we are dealing with high-quality chocolate but also by the all-Italian craftsmanship that Amedei represents and by the company's philosophy of respect for tradition. Values that we fully share and that we constantly implement in the production of our ice cream.
Let's talk about chocolate and quality raw materials.
Chocolate is a versatile raw material that artisans like me can work with, rework and present in a new guise to their customers, and Amedei Chocolate, pure chocolate with a precise aroma and no lecithin, is, without doubt, the raw material par excellence that allows me to fully express my idea of chocolate ice cream.
Amedei's entire professional range is of the highest level, whether we are talking about single-origins, including the award-winning Chuao, or blends such as the award-winning "9". Each reference has its own precise connotation of aromas and scents and a distinct personality. From a professional perspective, using chocolate with these characteristics is truly stimulating because the raw material must be processed and respected so that the original elements can be found in the ice cream.
What recipe for the best homemade chocolate ice cream?
For a professional recipe, I prefer 100% cocoa mass to be processed in purity on a water base. In particular, the two Amedei masses, Madagascar and Venezuela, to offer them to our customer's side by side, allowing them to appreciate the different nuances, is a great feeling.
To prepare a flavoured fondant ice cream, I make the best use of blends of Toscano Black 70 or 90, combining them with particular salts or types of fine pepper such as Timut Peper or Cumeo Peper, which enhance their properties and organoleptic characteristics.
Another extraordinary combination is between two great Italian excellences, such as Amedei Toscano Black 70 Chocolate and Bronte Pistachio. At the moment, I am applying the wine barrel process to the Madagascar cocoa beans that Amedei has provided us with.
The beans have been "ageing" since October 2020 inside an oak barrel that first housed Refosco wine and then a distillate. They will remain there until October 2021, when we will use them to produce a chocolate ice cream (which we have called Unico) at the tenth Chocolate Show.
Infine, che consiglio si sente di dare ai futuri Gelatieri?
Fondamentale è non accontentarsi mai, non dare mai nulla per scontato e fissarsi costantemente nuovi obiettivi. La passione per questa professione è qualcosa che si trova dentro di sé. Come una piccola fiamma che si accende e si alimenta attraverso le piccole soddisfazioni di tutti i giorni, un esempio sono proprio i nostri clienti, che rappresentano senza dubbio lo stimolo maggiore.