Tartufo (//, Italian: [tarˈtuːfo]; meaning "truffle") is an Italian ice cream dessert originating from Pizzo, Calabria. It is usually composed of two or more flavors of ice cream, often with either fruit syrup or frozen fruit — typically raspberry, strawberry, or cherry — in the center. It is typically covered in a shell made of chocolate or cocoa, but cinnamon or nuts are also used.
Tartufo di Pizzo has protected geographical indication in Italy.
In 1946 master confectioner Dante Veronelli from Messina took over the Gran Bar Excelsior, that was first owned by Mr. Jannarelli, that was situated in the center of Pizzo. The name was soon changed into Bar Dante in honor of Veronelli.
Veronelli was helped by young Giuseppe De Maria (known as Don Pippo) who was also from Messina and whose contribution was crucial. Merging the entrepreneurial skills of the former and the productivity of the latter, the two were able to gain the attention of people thanks to the great quality and undisputed taste of their products.
After Veronelli's death, De Maria remained the only owner of the business.
The tartufo in its present shape was born in Pizzo at Bar Dante (around 1952) just by chance: following the marriage of two wealthy locals, Don Pippo discovered that he had run out of molds used to shape the ice cream and couldn't supply the numerous guests. So he tried to solve the problem putting small portions of hazelnut ice cream and of chocolate ice cream in the hollow of his hand, into which he added a bit of melted chocolate. He then wrapped everything in sugar paper, thereby creating the well-known shape of the tartufo which he then left to cool. The success of the preparation earned him immediate fame. The original recipe is still treasured by De Maria's relatives.
In 1950, Giorgio Di Iorgi and Gaetano Di Iorgi, who had started their career working in the ice cream parlor as waiters, began to learn the art of making ice cream. Fifteen years later, following the retirement of maestro De Maria, Giorgio took over the Bar Dante, while Gaetano continued making Tartufo di Pizzo in the Bar Ercole, which he acquired together with his brother Antonio in 1965.
To this day, the Bar Dante and Bar Ercole activities are managed by family, passing from father to son the secret recipe for making their ice-cream products.
Tartufo is usually composed of two flavors of ice cream which are sculpted together by hand. If there is fruit in the middle, the ice cream may be scooped out from the middle and the fruit placed inside, or fruit syrup may be used to paste the two scoops together. If its shell is chocolate, special chocolate is usually melted and either dipped or poured over the ice cream ball after being cooled to lukewarm — though it can also be rolled in the chocolate — and then frozen. If its shell is cinnamon or cocoa, it is usually rolled in cinnamon or cocoa before freezing. If it uses nuts, they are usually put on by hand if large or rolled on if smaller. For a better shape, circular molds are sometimes used.
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