Spumoni – Part 1 – Italian Cream Colors


Have you ever sat on a plate of Spumoni ice cream? The colors red, green, brown and white are so pretty to see. The flavors of chocolate and pistachio with fruity cherries and nuts blend together to provide a delicious taste experience in this frozen Italian dessert. Have you ever wondered how our Neapolitan flavored ice cream was born? Well, wonder no more!


Spumone, derived from “spuma” or mousse, is a molded Italian ice cream. It is made up of different layers of colors and flavors, usually containing candied fruits and nuts. Spumone is generally three flavors with a fruit / nut layer in between. Often the ice cream layer has been mixed with whipped cream and the flavors in these layers are usually chocolate and pistachio. The fruit and nut layer usually contains cherries, creating the traditional red / pink, brown, and green color combination that we’re so used to seeing. This Italian dessert originated in Naples, Italy and as a result the three flavor ice cream we know today as “Neapolitan” emanated from it. Spumone is popular in areas where there are large populations of Italian immigrants, such as the United States and Argentina. Despite its association with Italian cuisine, it has been placed by many dairies and retailers in the “holiday” or “seasonal” category with eggnog and, therefore, they only make it available during the Thanksgiving and of Christmas. Perhaps the colors red and green are contributing to this relegation.


Sometimes the chocolate layer actually contains pieces of shaved chocolate and / or crushed hazelnuts. Hazelnuts not only add a heightened flavor to the chocolate, but also complete the pistachio layer which almost always contains crushed pistachios. The fruit and nut layer usually contains some kind of candied fruit; cherries are usually the most traditional but they can sometimes contain strawberries or raspberries. Spumoni produced its own breed of dishes; Neapolitan ice cream being a direct descendant, and perhaps the banana split (usually made with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream and topped with whipped cream and cherries) is a distant cousin. When consuming your Spumoni, be sure to savor the flavors in each layer to get the full experience.

In my next article, I will provide you with a Spumoni recipe. This is long because you are actually making each of the different flavored ice creams from scratch. Have no fear, this is not a difficult recipe, just one with many steps. This promises to be a pretty delicious item, so come back and … bring your friends! (Betcha thought I was going to say bring your appetite! – Yeah, that won’t hurt either.)


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