by Francesca Portoghese – photo by Lido Vannucchi
We all know that the appetite for ice cream creeps up on you suddenly, without asking for permission. Deeply democratic, it is the comfort food by excellence that fully satisfies both the soul and the palate, triggers emotions, and makes no age distinctions. On the other hand, it is also a blank canvas for bold creative experiments, an empty page on which to write new gastronomic chapters, with innovations and research that reach beyond the spatial and temporal boundaries of a recipe that becomes the fertile ground for eclectic interpretations.
THE BOOK WAS PRESENTED WITH AN ARTISTIC PERFORMANCE. IT WAS HANDED OUT TO THE ATTENDEES IN A VACUUM BAG, COMPLETELY FROZEN.
Paolo Brunelli has written two books, which have become true milestones: Avanguardia Gelato (Ice Cream Avant-garde), in collaboration with ice cream masters Alberto Marchetti, Gianfrancesco Cutelli, and Andrea Soban, and Gelateria per tutte le Stagioni (Ice Cream Making for all Seasons), his first solo volume.
«I live in an age of transition, I no longer believe in generational clashes, I am committed to doing good things. An ice cream that triggers memories, a bar of satisfying chocolate. My job is changing and there is no authorship to claim. There is a story, there is experimentation, there is a desire for exploration, there is a past that is made up of many experiences, a lot of help, many acknowledgments, a lot of support. And there is a future, which is happening now».
The history of ice cream is as old as time. The ancestor of all the ice creams, as the Holy Scriptures tell us, is none other than the mixture of goat’s milk and ice that Abraham offered his son Isaac as they crossed the desert in the burning heat. Later, it was the talented Bernardo Buontalenti from the Grand Duchy of Florence during the Renaissance who offered the guests at the wedding of Maria de’ Medici and Henry IV of France a mixture of sweet creamy substances and ice.
In the late 1600s, the Sicilian Francesco Procopio arrived in Paris to open his café and make a fortune by selling an iced cream placed between two waffles to Parisians who developed a profound liking for it. Giovanni Bosio, who landed in New York a quarter of an hour before Independence Day, started to produce his ice cream there. And again in New York, on 13 December 1903, Italo Marchioni filed the patent for the ice cream cone, since he was forced to invent the distinctive wafer because of the beautiful hand-blown glasses in which he served his ice cream never got returned. So, ice cream is not only a treat to be enjoyed without feeling guilty, a sudden flash black to our childhood through flavours and aromas, it is also a symbol of exchanges that resound over the centuries, through the perception of food that has always been the red thread on which social and cultural changes and exchanges have been built and an invitation today to contemplate beauty in all its forms. This is also what happens in the book I’m not a gelato, over 180 pages that tell the life and work of one of the most famous gelato makers of our time, Paolo Brunelli.
«INDUSTRIAL DESIGN SEEKS TO MAKE ART REPLICABLE AND THEREFORE ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE IN THE SIMPLEST POSSIBLE WAY».
In 2017 Paolo Brunelli obtained the Tre Coni from Gambero Rosso with a special mention for the best chocolate ice cream in Italy. In 2018 and 2019 the Tre Coni award was reconfirmed.
Very different from a typical biography full of ice cream recipes, this book is a sort of viaticum that illustrates the philosophy of a great artist who never limited himself to producing ice cream, but throughout his life sought to dare, invent, and explore. The book is an inspiration for a four-instrument concert in which the notes spring from the inventiveness of photographer Lido Vannucchi to the creative genius of architect and designer Franco Driusso, to the aesthetic taste of Laura Carboni, CEO of the Luxury Brand Infinito Design, because this time, putting the story of an ice cream maker and his ice cream into a book was not a mere production of gastronomic literature, but rather an intent to trace a path towards art, beauty, and design, all declined through each of their crafts.
«BEAUTY, I FEED ON BEAUTY, AND I STUFF MYSELF WITH IT, I SEARCH FOR IT, I LOOK FOR IT IN EVERY LITTLE CLUE WHERE I CAN PERCEIVE IT, THEN, OF COURSE, MY GAZE IS DOMINATED BY MY THOUGHTS, I ANALYSE, COMPARE, ACT AND IF YOU ARE TRAINED, EVERYTHING CAN BE ENJOYED IN AN INSTANT IN ONE CLICK».
Starting from the title of the book, deliberately evocative of one of the most famous works by the Belgian painter René Magritte, Ceci n’est pas une pipe, it is clear how art can always be expressed in different forms, distant from each other but in some way close in purpose, strictly related to the thought that everyone has about reality and not to reality tout court. The story of the best ice cream maker in the world, Paolo Brunelli, unfolds through innovative representations of his dishes that tend to provocation and which are the result of a shock by the photographer Vannucchi who seeks beauty in the traces that allow him a sudden intuition.
Paolo Brunelli’s passion for music, painting and theatre perfectly fits into this framework, and he never misses an opportunity to highlight that artistic contamination, which is perfectly represented throughout the book through Lido Vannucchi’s images, is part of his life and, inevitably, also of his work. Because art means beauty and, as Franco Driusso says, beauty is the foundation of our well-being because it pleases the soul through the senses. The four voices that interact in this book come from four different fields, which are all equally influenced by the changes and upheavals that the world of design has brought about in recent years, especially with the development of new technologies and the use of new materials. High-performance machines and innovative methods of food preservation have certainly contributed to amplifying and consolidating the quality and flavour of ice cream.
Also, the “continuous technological research, oriented towards the production of increasingly sustainable products, characterises the creative process of each new project”, as Franco Driusso explains, “and often allows sectors that are bound to traditional materials or manufacturing techniques to evolve and yield exciting results and high performing new qualities that are increasingly sustainable”.
The continuous technological research, oriented towards the production of increasingly sustainable products, characterises the creative process of each new project.
His thoughts are confirmed by Laura Carboni, whose work strongly relates to design in all its forms, which she defines as “the set of rules and balances that manages to transform everyday objects, such as a plate, into much more than they are”, a concept that resounds with Vannucchi’s thought when he declares that “design should create new ways of usage and investigate new forms of beauty, open gaps in the ways of thinking”. Paolo Brunelli’s book offers many ideas and inspires multifaceted reflections that pervade all fields of art and life and that become wide cultural pools balancing the heritage of beauty and art.
(I’m not a Gelato – Barchemagazine.com – January 2022)