By Dörthe Schmidt
"Mars man" and "Mickey Mice" are no strangers to Salvatore Prezzovento. During his course of training the young German-Italian he learns, in addition to the preparation of children's sundaes, everything that is involved in the craft of ice cream production.
Previously the German training system did not provide for specific training for prospective ice cream producers. This situation has been remedied recently by the binational project which is run jointly by professional associations in Germany and Italy.
During the three-year training course the prospective ice cream producers in Germany gain practical experience in all aspects of ice cream production. However, the real theory of ice cream production is crammed during a period of residence in Italy, the home of "gelato", that lasts for several months. In order to pass the theoretical part of the training Salvatore, who has grown up in Germany, still needs to swot up on Italian since it is obviously necessary to have command of the specialist terms in both German and Italian.
However, he has still got some time to go. From his boss, Francesco Mattiuzzi, he learns the craft of ice cream production from scratch. The most important aspect here is, of course, the product itself, ice cream. Each "gelatiere" has his own personal secret methods for producing ice cream. However, one secret can be divulged: the basic ingredients are always the same. To produce milk ice cream, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, lemon and cream are mixed, boiled and pasteurised. By the way, milk ice cream is fairly healthy. Healthier still, though, is fruit ice cream. As the name indicates, the ice cream only consists of fruit, water and sugar syrup: "fruit ice cream is the purest, best and healthiest form of ice cream. The only problem is that no one is aware of this fact", explains Salvatore's boss Francesco Mattiuzzi. One more reason for eating ice cream. Salvatore still does not know in detail all the secrets of ice cream production. However, at the latest by the time he has finished his apprenticeship, he too will belong to the hallowed group of ice cream producers.
Salvatore works in Francesco Mattiuzzi's elegant Italian ice cream parlour. In the mornings he fills up wafers and ice cream cornets, "doing whatever is required". Attention then turns to the preparation of the varieties of ice cream that are missing. Fruit must be cut for the decorations and the fruit ice and the mixtures for the various ice creams must be prepared. Some mixtures take ten minutes, others two hours, depending on the type of ice cream involved. Technology allows "the whole process to be accelerated", explains Salvatore's boss. The freezing process that used to take hours is now completed in ten minutes.
The service provided to the ice cream gourmets is of course also important. Sometimes Salvatore needs to show patience, for example, when children press their noses against the glass display cabinets and take a few minutes to choose between the various types of ice cream on offer. However, this does not present any problems to Salvatore. On the contrary, he derives great pleasure from it.
When a customer comes in and sits down, without waiting for her order, he has already prepared the chocolate sundae and the pot of coffee. "The customer is a regular and always chooses the same thing", he says with a note of pleasure in his voice. He enjoys making ice cream sundaes anyway, "it is really creative, although I admit that at one time I wasn't that creative at all".
This apprenticeship will enable Salvatore to run his own ice cream parlour, something which requires creativity and the ability to continually come up with new ideas, for example, on how to extend the product range. Although the classic lemon ice is still the favourite, the taste buds still continually long for surprises in the form of new creations. The master ice cream producer Mattiuzzi already has a new variety of ice cream up his sleeve and whispers, "I am thinking of producing parmesan-flavoured pear ice cream." But don't tell anyone.
Anyone wishing to stop off in the Ruhr region for a delicious ice cream can visit Salvatore at:
Tel.: (02304) 18112