I noticed several discussions on the Manhattan board about Italian ices, and since it's too far to travel to the Alpha Dog's Staten Island place (believe me I'm up for it when I go to NY next month), anyone have any recommendations for Italian ices in SF?
I heard it's supposed to break 75 this week, and I just wanna be prepared.
re: Melanie Wong
marcella hazan has two sorbetto recipes in her book "marceella cucina", the titles of both translated to sorbets:granny smith apple with muscat wine and grappa and tangerine. if i'm not mistaken when making granita and sorbets in the home kitchen you use two different techniques and recipes. the sorbet being made sometimes with milk and being frozen in an ice cream maker for smooth texture and the granita being made with simple syrup and frozen in a dish in the freezer which you scrape with a spoon as it freezes to create the tasty shards. i may be wrong, but this is what i know of the two. i would expect that italian ice would be granita rather than sorbet.
In my experience, fruit, chocolate, coffe, etc. sorbets and sorbetti have no dairy products (though American restaurateurs of course take their liberties), but otherwise, your description of the diference between how sorbet and granita are made and their different textures is right on. Incidentally, sorbet is easy to make at home without an ice-cream maker: you freeze the puree in a shallow pan as you would for granits, but don't stir it up as it freezes as granita recipes usually direct. When it is frozen, you break it into chunks and repuree in a food processor or blender, producing the proper consistency, then let it freeze to a more solid state in a container.
Italian ice--the kind that is already prepared and scooped up--generally has a consistency somewhere sorbetto and granita, but is definitely "icier" and less refined in texture than sorbetto. About a dozen years ago, I had a handmade Italian ice from a cart on a Soho streetcorner; the proprieter (in a white undershirt) shaved the ice straight off a huge block on top of his cart and poured flavored syrup over it. Similar I guess to Hawaiian shave ice (or a sno-cone), but made sans machine. It was a memorable moment for a tourist [g].
re: Andrew Raskin
Hmmm ... the descriptions of Italian ices I read on the NY board made them sound more slushy than sorbet. I guess I misunderstood. At any rate, you might want to check out this place, which not only makes gelato, but also Italian-style fruit sorbets.
Tango Gelato, 3540 Fruitvale Ave. (just east of
Interstate 580), Oakland; (510) 482-2009
Further description at (scroll down to second item):