A Recipe for Excess
The best chocolate gelato recipe--from the Hotel Cipriani.
When I first bought an ice-cream machine I was in heaven, concocting intense, seasonal fruit gelati. My Florentine husband was impressed, but not thrilled, because he's more a fan of chocolate. But when I came home from Venice with a recipe for the best, and richest, chocolate gelato I'd ever encountered, he became a believer, willing to put up with our noisy machine as it churned up his favorite flavor.
The recipe that won him is from the Hotel Cipriani, an oasis of luxury on the island of Giudecca, beside the Venetian lagoon. A stay at this hotel is for those who don't count the zeros on Italian banknotes, but a sojourn at the poolside bar for a dish of their justly famous Gelato al Cioccolato is an affordable treat. It's dark, powerfully flavored, silky- yet not sweet, and often topped with a gondola-shaped chocolate cutout.
A gondola isn't required to search for this ambrosia, however, only the Cipriani's private motorboat that docks at Piazza San Marco. Take it to the hotel. On arriving, head for the desk and ask for the Gabbiano Bar. The Cipriani has the only swimming pool "in town" (as the locals say, excluding the Lido), and it's an oversized one at that. The view from beside it, east to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore with its Palladian church, is a wonder. Enjoy it as you savor the world's greatest chocolate dessert.
Or scroll for the recipe and make Gelato al Cioccolato with your own ice-cream maker. Be overwhelmed by its chocolaty intensity and dream of Venezia.
Hotel Cipriani, Isola della Giudecca 10, tel. 39-41-520-7744, fax 39-41-520-3930.
Gabbiano Bar open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
August 20, 1997
- Faith Heller Willinger
Cipriani's Chocolate Gelato Recipe
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3 1/2 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
4 large egg yolks, beaten lightly
In a dry 3-quart heavy saucepan cook 1/4 cup sugar, undisturbed, over moderate heat until it begins to melt and cook, stirring with a fork, until melted completely and deep golden brown. Remove pan from heat and dip pan briefly into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. (Caramel will harden.) Cool pan about 5 minutes and return to heat. Add milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until caramel is melted. Whisk in cocoa until combined well and keep mixture warm.
In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (or a double boiler), melt chocolate, stirring, and remove from heat.
In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat egg yolks with remaining 3/4 cup sugar until thick and pale. Whisk in caramel mixture and chocolate in streams, whisking until combined. Pour custard into another 3-quart heavy saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 140Â° F. Cook custard, stirring (do not let it boil) 4 minutes more and remove pan from heat. Cool custard completely and freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.
Gelato will keep in the freezer for one week.
Makes about 3 cups.
Hotel Cipriani, Venice