Cremeria Mascarella: a hidden gem in the university area of Bologna
Bologna stands up for many reasons: its medieval towers, its endless porticos, its sultry fresh pasta. But did you know that one the excellences of Bologna is also gelato? As a matter fact, despite the Southern origin of this gods’ food (I love gelato: can you tell?), here in Bologna there’s an array of amazing shops selling even more surprising ice cream: Cremeria Santo Stefano, Galliera 49, Vecchia Stalla, Scirocco, Sorbetteria Castiglione to name just a few.
But the most important name is perhaps the lesser known, and massively important, Carpigiani. With 60% of the world supply covered, a Gelato Musem and a Gelato University teaching the arts and crafts of ice cream in Italian, English and French, Carpigiani is the biggest producer of artisanal gelato machines in the world. And it is probably one of the reasons why the standards of gelato in Bologna are so high.
We at Delicious Bologna Food Tour have made our choice and decided to homage Cremeria Mascarella, a tiny shop hidden between wine bars and a couple of bookshops, in the heart of the University quarter.
Already familiar with some of their scoops, bearing the names of famous Bolognese artists from the past (Carracci, Guercino, Giambologna…), I paid a visit to the shop one morning while they were still closed and making the gelato (chocolate gelato, to be precise) for the day ahead. I had a chat with owner Monica and a taste of the scoop of the day… yes, they have a new flavour every day, today’s being a yummy mix of zabaglione, meringues and shortcrust pastry.
I asked Monica what distinguishes Cremeria Mascarella and she immediately said the care for fresh ingredients: «We have a farmer coming twice a week to deliver fresh milk and cream: we don’t like to use milk powders. We have a pistachio paste delivered by a Rimini supplier that imports excellent pistachios from Sicily. We only use fresh fruits, during their season, we make our own shortcrust pastry, our own pastries, our chocolate… yes, we have a strong chocolate, very sour, very intense».
And for those who want their chocolate ice-cream with a twist, I’d suggest “Guercino” one of this cremeria’s iconic scoops: dark chocolate, chocolate spongecake and pear marmalade with grappa. Another great flavour is that of nutsy Giambologna (hazelnut and almond cream with praline almonds), as well as overwhelming Carracci (mascarpone, zabaglione, white meringues and hazelnut cream). But when I ask Monica which scoop is the most wanted, she immediately states, without the shadow of a doubt, “Pistachio!”. I definitely must try it the next time I go.