Italians are extremely serious when it comes to the foods that it is known for. It really is no joke. There are many laws that dictate whether cheese is allowed to legally be labeled as Parmesan, and if it does not follow the exact rules set by the powers at be, it is forbidden to label the cheese with the name.
Perhaps this is how the country keeps such a high standard of quality, delicious food. The same is now being considered for one of its most beloved culinary contributions: gelato.
According to an article in The Telegraph, a group of six senators from the center-left Democratic and Italia Viva political parties have now proposed legislation that would fine gelato makers that incorporate excess air into their gelato (which would give it a fluffier texture). They also want to fine ice cream makers that add artificial flavors, hydrogenated fats, and synthetic dyes to its products.
Should the bill pass, the only ingredients that would be legally be allowed in gelato will be “milk and its derivatives,” eggs, fresh fruit, and nothing else. Anyone who would be caught adding any artificial ingredients could be fined up to 10,000 euros, the equivalent of $12,030.
Senator Riccardo Nencini said: “Italian ice cream has always been one of the gastronomic symbols of our country, recognized globally together with pizza and pasta, but our laws do not preserve artisanal ice cream and producers who make it.”
According to Il Messaggero, “artisinal” gelatos currently contain between 20%-30% air, which is caused by vigorous mixing of ingredients while “industrial” versions add compressed air. The outlet shares that: “Basically, you pay for the air.” The proposed bill would cap the amount of air allowed in gelato at 30%.
Stefano Ferraro is considered to be one of Italy’s 50 best ice cream makers is in favor of the legislation. He said: “A law that protects consumers and real artisans would be useful. Many of us search for the best cocoa mass, the one that best fits our idea [for gelato]. But, at this point, it doesn’t make any sense to compete with those who use much easier methods.”
Another gelato maker, Alberto Manassei shared that: “If you go through the list of ingredients, you’ll see that the key one is often the last. If the last thing you find in a pistachio ice cream is pistachio, then you have a problem.”
The bill has now been assigned to the senate’s commerce and tourism commission. Should it pass, the next time you purchase a scoop of gelato in Italy, it might not look as bright and vivid for your Insta, but you can be sure it’s made of only the finest ingredients. We’re sure that your taste buds will be much happier.