Five ways to enhance ice cream flavour

Elato ice cream with strong aromatic flavours

Most of my knowledge about flavour in ice cream comes from my time spent in Italy training to make gelato. The Italians have been making ice cream (which they call gelato) for 500 years. So when it comes to flavour, they know what they are doing. 

There are five valuable lessons I learned in Italy about flavour:

  1. Select flavour ingredients that when warmed in your mouth, release aromatics which your nose detects and adds to the taste experience. These are usually flavours that are enhanced by warmth. Examples include chocolate, berries, vanilla, coffee, teas, citrus, toasted coconut, mint and other herbs, spices, flower petals, roasted nuts and flavours from alcohol.
  2. All of these flavours except the chocolate, berries, nuts and alcohol, deliver up amazing aromatics when extracted using infusions. 
  3. The flavours in chocolate and berries are heat stable. So they can be added at any stage in production.
  4. The flavours in roasted nuts and alcohol evaporate very quickly - especially pistachio and alcohol. So they are added just before freezing.
  5. Essences extracted using alcohol, provide exceptionally flavoured aromatics for example vanilla. Combining infusions with an essence gives elevated intense flavour.

Infusions aren't often used in ice cream made for the supermarket because of time and cost. However, for Elato, I have been determined to reproduce the intense flavours from vanilla and coffee infusions, previously only found in gelatos.

Our launch flavours, Triple vanilla, Cold brew decaf cafe latte and dark chocolate truffle were all chosen because of their strong aromatic flavours. This started with exceptional artisanal social impact flavour suppliers - Heilala Vanilla, Change Coffee and Solomon's Gold Chocolate - which is then enhanced with infusions in the case of both vanilla and coffee. For the chocolate we get our strong flavour from using 100% chocolate (not unrefined cocoa mass) as well as being one of the first company's in the world to use "clean label" natural dark cocoa powder in ice cream. This product has been made without the use of the chemical potassium carbonate. So we refer to it on our pack as "natural unalkalised cocoa".  Potassium carbonate is used in all other cocoa not labelled as "natural". This type of chemically treated cocoa is also known as Dutch cocoa because it's was invented in the Netherlands, to remove bitterness and acidity from cocoa powder. Interestingly, our clean label cocoa isn't bitter nor acidic.

I am keen to know what you think of our flavours and if you have any other ideas for strong flavours that can be supplied by social enterprises. Please leave a comment or send us an email with your feedback.

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1 comment

  • I grew up in Uruguay where they have amazing ice cream. It’s deep in the culture with ice cream parlours all over the city. My grandmother lived opposite one of the best. I left there around 8 years old and can still remember the taste of each flavour, notably: peach was like an explosion of sweet fresh peaches in your mouth, pineapple was unbelievable, hazelnut was so deeply hazelnuttty, dulce de Le he was rich and caramelly, but best of all was the pistachio- bright green with such a strong flavour. I understand they used a pistachio concentrate not the nut. It did not taste nutty. It tasted a bit more like amaretto. It was addictive. I would love to have that again!! Pineapple second and peach also near the top. Their strawberry was amazing too!!!
    Good luck with your ice creams!! 😊

    Adriana Sabulis

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