The Right Tool for Ice Cream

This shovel-shaped gelato spoon is the star of my summertime.
 Over the weekend the sun came out through the clouds that looked like they held buckets of rain. It burned brightly and then hid, a solar cat and mouse game. Mid-afternoon, the sun escaped the clouds long enough for me to start thinking that it felt like summer, and summer is for ice cream.

I say “ice cream,” but what I mean is any frozen dessert, be it full-fat chocolate chocolate chip (on the plate above) or hazelnut gelato or strawberry granita.

The cold, the texture on your tongue, the concentration of creamy, fruity, flavors is nearly all of the fun. But there is another component perhaps you’ve never thought about–you’re exempt if you exclusively eat your frozen dessert product from a cone.

The spoon. Yes, the spoon matters, and if you love ice cream season, I implore you to get yourself a very particular kind of spoon as soon as possible. I’d hate for you to miss out on the full pleasures of swooping the ice cream smoothly off the spoon–even if the clouds are in the way of the sun.

“Now I need a special spoon?” you say, a little perturbed for some stranger telling you what you need–another gadget of all things!

It’s true that ice cream is wonderful even from those wide wooden sticks, vaguely spoon shaped, you get from the ice cream man. Running your lips over the smooth ice cream and encountering the dry wood brings joy on a hot beach day.

But what I am getting to is the gelato spoon. A stainless steel shovel-shaped gelato spoon, to be precise. I picked up 2 sets 8 years ago in Florence. They appear child-sized, but they are proportioned for delicate bites that prolong the experience. The gelato spoon is our first choice for anything served in a dainty dish, be it sorbet or pudding or honey yogurt.

I’d like to be an evangelist of the gelato spoon–ideal for its size and the flat nose so that it scrapes across the bottom of the dish, scooping up the melted pools of ice cream we’re all tempted to lick. But every summer, I look for them in vain.

This year, at last, I found one source online with an acceptable model. Stainless steel not plastic, and beware those with too-square sides that catch against your mouth.

Next week, I’ll be doing a number of Pure Beef book events in San Francisco, one of the best ice cream towns around. If you’re able, please stop by to say “Hi” and I’ll salute you with the gelato spoon I’m packing along and will have at the ready.

 

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