Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gelato Overload

*As I write this I am in the Charlotte airport in North Carolina way too early for my one of three flights home from Carpigiani Gelato University. The rain was pouring in Winston Salem and I didn’t have anything I wanted to see, so I left the hotel at checkout time and came down to Charlotte. The rain poured all the way here. So here I am 3 hours early, already checked the rental car and through security. So glad this airport has free wifi. On with the show. My flights to North Carolina were... well... it’s U.S. air travel, when is it ever enjoyable? My flight to LA was fine. The flight to Chicago was full and I was at the rear of the plane. And we were late getting into Chicago. So I had to walk very fast to get to my next connection. Got there with 5 minutes to spare, and they said, “oh they just got here and haven’t even deplaned yet.” The plane to Charlotte was old and small. The carpet was worn, the seats had no fluff, you could actually feel the metal in the seats, and it squeaked. And of course Charlotte was experiencing “weather”. We circled for 40 minutes, then got diverted to Tennessee to refuel. And back to circling Charlotte. We landed about 2 hours late. Then waited at Hertz for my car for 40 minutes because they were running out of cars??? Whatever. I then drive through the pouring rain and lightning storm for 1.5 hours up to Winston Salem. I finally got into bed at 2am (eastern standard time) and was up for my first day of class at 7am. Sorry, just had to complain. I hate traveling. I love the destinations, just not the getting there part. Day one of Gelato school: Class size was 9 people. Three of us from California, three from Canada, one from Atlanta, Virginia, and Philadelphia. Our instructor was from Bologna, Italy. She owns, I think she said 5 gelato shops, and also consults and teaches gelato classes all over the world for Carpigiani. We learned about different sugars and what they do, milks, creams, and eggs. We made three different bases. White (milk), yellow (egg yolk), and cocoa (chocolate). From the bases we can build whatever flavors we want our gelatos to be. We were divided into groups of three and we made some standard flavors such as vanilla, milk, creme (egg), chocolate, etc. Then at the end of the day she had us create something all our own. Our group decided to make a hazelnut mocha. And guess what? It was delicious! Our group won the taste test! Yeah, baby, yeah. The second day each student had to create their own again, and I made sweet potato. Suppose to be pumpkin but they couldn’t find canned pumpkin in the store. It tasted pretty good, could have been better with added spices (didn’t have nutmeg). But my presentation was good.
Each and every day was packed full of math. I had no idea I was going to have to remember my algebra. Calculating percentages and if A is this and B is that and you need X percent to get C, etc. And god forbid we have to calculate all this in our crappy American measurement system! Oh my. I will be doing everything in grams and kilos, thank you very much! We learned how to create different bases with different ingredients and how each ingredient affects the taste, texture, and consistency of the gelato, fruit gelato, and sorbets. By the end it was almost overwhelming. So much info packed into 5 days. Also learned what machines I will need to start the business. Anyone have $100,000.00 just laying around they don’t need? The class was fun, our instructor was fun and engaging, my fellow classmates were fun and interesting. We all went out to eat our last night together. Of course it was Italian. Our instructor looked at the menu and said, “this isn’t Italian”. bwahahahahaha. After we went into this frozen custard shop and critiqued their shop, presentation, and taste. I don’t think they liked us very much. tee hee. But their presentation was horrible. So much info packed into 5 days I can’t possibly tell you all about it. Well I could but then where would all the excitement be when I open my shop and you all know my secrets?
I didn’t do much sightseeing while there. Class ended at 5pm everyday, except our last day, so there wasn’t much time to do anything. However I did go walk around Old Salem which is where some persecuted Moravian religious Europeans settled in 1771. They are still there and still live in these really cool old houses. And I went to the Reynolda House, which some lady named Katherine decided her family was going to be self supporting and grew their own veggies, grains, etc and eventually grew their own town. The house is now a museum of American Art and the grounds, outbuildings, and town are now shops and restaurants. The house was pretty cool though. They had a pipe organ in the “parlor” and the pipes and tubes were placed throughout the second, third story, and attic. Plus the basement had a pool table, bowling alley, shooting range, squash court, an art deco bar, and swimming pool! Wake Forest University now owns and maintains the extensive gardens and land used as pasture. So all in all, well worth the money spent for the class and expenses to get here. Now I have to sit in packed airplanes again. Oh joy. * airport won’t let me upload photos or this document so you all had to wait till I got home and slept.


Anonymous said...

Hi I am thinking about taking the course at Carpigiani, but I can't find much information on it and was wonder how you liked it? and was is worth it? I was also checking out the course at Pregel in NC which is much cheaper ($70 compared to $850). Any info. would be great. Thanks

The Lonely Traveler said...

I don't know anything about Pregel. Yes, Carpigiani was expensive, but worth it. You do learn a lot in the five days and come away with a full binder of recipes. Plus they feed you breakfast and lunch and all the gelato you can eat.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback...we booked our spots at Carpigiani last night!