Historical architecture, warming your shoulders under the sun, colourful houses dotting cliffsides. An Aperol spritz, a creamy pasta, a pizza just oozing cheese. Some experiences are universal, but some of the best hail from Italy, and gelato is certainly no exception.
You’ve definitely had a friend — and if not, you are the friend — who waxes lyrical about the gelato they had in Italy, and how the stuff at home just doesn’t compare. But you’re not the only one who highly values those gelato experiences, because Italy takes them pretty seriously too.
Case in point, the Italian Government will do just about anything to defend the honour of its renowned gelato — including fining vendors up to 10,000 euros (roughly AUD $15,500) for skimping on the scoops. Specifically, they’re declaring war on vendors who “pump compressed air into their mixtures to make them look fluffier”, according to the Telegraph UK.
The hope is that the reforms will have a… chilling… effect on “cheapskate vendors”, who pose as gelato artisans. You know, the ones who sell tubs which contain more air than ice cream.
Apparently, air content will be capped at 30%, which may still sound like a lot, but sometimes industrial ice cream can be up to 80% compressed air, says The Telegraph UK.
We only have one question: Can they go after the companies that sell packets of chips afterwards?
It’s not all hot air though; the proposed bill also aims to ban the use of certain cheap alternatives to fresh ingredients. We’re talking artificial flavours, colouring, and hydrogenated fats.
The senators behind the bill say it will better regulate the work of real ice cream artisans and protect consumer rights. Riccardo Nencini, social senator and one of the bill’s supporters, told The Telegraph UK that “Italian gelato is one of the gastronomic symbols of our country, along with pasta and pizza. But our laws do not preserve artisanal ice cream and producers who make it.”
Being as the ice cream sector has a business value of about one billion euros (roughly AUD$1.5 billion) — and is a pretty big branding point for the country — we’d say a law like this is pretty important.
And ice cream is always more enjoyable when you know it’s not just… air.