Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sugar Plums

I would like to take this moment to wish all of our customers a very merry Christmas. It's hard to believe that this year is almost gone. If was not for our dedicated chefs, restaurant owners, store owners, buyers, department mangers, and customers like you who knows what would be in your freezer right now. It is because of your purchasing decisions that allow us to continue to make handcrafted gelato day after day.
Many of you know that we made a Sugar Plum Gelato for the Cincinnati Ballet. It has been selling at Findlay Market and selling well. I have included a few photos of the ingredients prior to mixing. My concept for sugar plum was to keep the ingredients whole or larger than what would be used if we made real sugar plums. In order to make a real sugar plum these ingredients would be chopped fine and then rolled into balls and covered with powdered sugar. I felt that something would be lost in that approach. The idea of biting into a large walnut, soft and chewy dates, candied ginger was to tempting. The result is a great tasting gelato with complex flavors and textures. We will continue to make sugar plum throughout the winter months.
The other photo is of my eggnog base. We start with bovine growth hormone free milk and cream, egg yolks sugar and a few other items for all of our gelato bases. The eggnog base contains Meyer Dark Rum, and nutmeg (shown in the photo). We legally pasteurize the base and when it is done we have eggnog. We then add a wee nip of Armagnac before we batch freeze. Don't worry there is less than one half of one percent of alcohol in the finished product. (required by law) but the without these flavors there is something missing. When we finished removing the base from the Vat Joe and I each reserved a little for ourselves. It is better than any eggnog out there. If you want to try an all natural eggnog gelato get down to Findlay Market (Madison's at Findlay 110 W. Elder St.) and pick up a pint.
Thanks for supporting Madisono's

Monday, December 6, 2010

Best of the City 2010

Last week Madisono's Gelato was invited to participate in the Best of The City party held at the Cintas Center. There were more than 450 people enjoying the best that Cincinnati has to offer from fine foods, Lego Toys, and much more. I had a great time serving Dark Chocolate Orange Gelato, Hazelnut Gelato, Butternut Squash with Sage and Date Gelato, Alphonso Mango Sorbet, Candy Cane Gelato and Caramello with Sea Salt Gelato. I had a chance to talk with everyone that stopped by to sample our handcrafted gelato and sorbet. One question that kept coming up was this. "What is the difference between your gelato and the other gelato around town?" The "What is the difference between ice cream and gelato?" question still comes up but not as often. Many of you who read this blog know that I have talked about what makes Madisono's unique and quite often I continue to reinforce the fact that Madisono's makes all of our own bases from scratch. This is a key point that is the foundation of why Madisono's is a true artisan gelato. Did you know that we make 5 different gelato bases? We make a neutral base which is used in fruit and nut flavors, a milk chocolate base, a dark chocolate base, a cinnamon base, and an eggnog base. All of our sorbet bases are also made specifically for each sorbet flavor. We are the only producer of gelato and sorbet that is a licensed milk processor registered and inspected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Cincinnati.
We have a HACCP plan, and because we make all of our own base we must conduct legal pasteurization according to the PMO (pasteurization milk ordinance). This allows us many advantages over gelato that is made from who knows what. First, Madisono's is in control of the small batch process from the very beginning and in charge of the chemistry. This begins with sourcing our ingredients. Secondly we use NO PRESERVATIVES! If other gelato producers are not making their own base that that means they are buying something from someone else and that means the use of preservatives and chemical additives that don't need to be there. Some examples of this would be calcium sulphate (also found in drywall) and mono diglycerides of fatty acids (cheap substitutes for egg yolks) Why not just use real egg? There are many more ingredients found in commercial ice cream mixes that are there as preservatives and most vanilla ice cream bases come with vanillin. Vanillin is a banned food ingredient by Whole Foods Markets. Thirdly, we can age our base. When we pasteurize our bases we allow them to age before use. Some gelato companies try to sell mechanical aging devices that shorten the time required to get a good base but that again is selling the process short. A good baker would never rush the proof. Why rush the base?
There are many cottage food producers and most focus on creating a product that is uniquely their own. Some have grown into household names like Amy's or LaBrea. A food artist creates something from scratch, or uses an old recipe, a food producer just produces. For some of you Madisono's is already a household name and for that I thank you.
The picture above is my dark chocolate base in the vat pasteurizer. The white is the fresh cream swirling around the agitator. That base is cooked for about 90 minutes which allows all of the solid chocolate to mix while undergoing legal pasteurization.
Thanks for supporting Madisono's