Claudia Romeo: We are in Ruvo di Puglia, Italy, and today I’m going to meet with Vincenzo and Giuliana, who make some of the most exquisite gelato in the country. Their story is as rich as the one of their hometown, Ruvo, that is renowned for its architecture and rich craftsmanship.
For the two siblings, it’s all about keeping the craft of gelato making alive. And the best way to do that is to take your family recipe from 1840 and never changing it. Let’s go find out more. This is a story of how one family took gelato to a small southern Italian town 180 years ago and gave it a home.
The family recipe calls for only three ingredients: Claudia: Gelato at Mokambo has been made this way since… well, since 1840. It’s all thanks to Uncle Luigi, who brought the art of gelato making from the royal courts of Naples to his hometown, Ruvo, which has been synonymous with gelato ever since.
The original 1840 recipe, which is called the King’s Cream, has been joined by seven other flavors: pistachio, almond, chocolate, quince, nougat, gianduia, and hazelnut. All ingredients are seasonal, and that is why your go-to winter flavor here would never be, say, strawberry, but almond.
This flavor in particular is made with a homemade almond butter, which is actually grinding before our eyes as we speak. We’re now finally adding that third and final ingredient, milk. Claudia: But we are not finished yet.
First, we need to cook it. And if you think that you could just skip this step, please keep watching. Giuliana feels pretty strongly about it. Claudia: It’s now time to pour our cooked mixture in the gelato machine, which will freeze the cream and transform it into gelato.
Claudia: You may have been watching this for only a few minutes, but it actually took us five hours to make only one flavor. And while I feel for Giuliana having to do this eight times every day for each flavor, I can’t wait to taste the one I worked for today.
So let’s get to it. Will I be transported to 1840 with this gelato? Claudia: You know what I just said about making one flavor taking five hours? Well, this tasting part was no joke either. Giuliana and Vincenzo are very serious about letting me taste every single flavor.
Giuliana keeps scooping some more gelato for me. And a special mention goes to… I really thought we ended with a bang with pistachio, which I loved, but I may have a new favorite after all: the King’s Scepter.
This one takes three days to make and is made from Iranian saffron. Giuliana serves it in a cone filled with cream and pistachio paste. She then covers the gelato with some more cream and gold leaves.