Bonn Without egg and milk: Vegan ice cream is more in demand than ever in Germany. Two Bonn ice cream makers reveal their secrets and present their creations for the current ice cream season. A visit to the kitchen.
Bonn's Eiscafé Pusterla is located right on the border between the old town and the northern part of the city. Regulars appreciate the family atmosphere and the relaxation on the terrace - you hardly notice the traffic on Kaiser-Karl-Ring.
The Italian gelateria has been in that spot for almost 35 years, and Giuseppe Pusterla and his wife Habiba have been running the ice cream parlor for ten years. "I make my ice cream with my heart," says the 56-year-old, who hails from the small Apulian town of Nardò in the province of Lecce and looks confusingly like the famous Italian film comedian Totò. "With the heart, and that's been my recipe for many years.“
Of his 27 different ice cream flavors, five are vegan. Demand for vegan ice cream has increased in recent years, Pusterla says. For example, one of his regulars stops by daily to enjoy five scoops of lemon ice cream. The lemons for the vegan fruit ice cream come from Sicily. Spontaneously, the friendly couple bring a vegan Italian tricolore of woodruff (green), lemon (white) and raspberry (red) in three wafers.
A visit to Giovanni Imperiale in Friesdorf, where the 49-year-old restaurateur has been running the Bianchi ice cream parlor on Klufterplatz since 2000, actively supported by his partner Lolita and daughter Isabella. Like his colleague Pusterla, Imperiale also comes from the Apulian province of Lecce, from the small port town of Gallipoli.
Ice cream creation "yesterday's snows“
Now the 49-year-old is standing in his Friesdorf ice cream kitchen between bulky freezers and stainless steel buckets, creating a new vegan ice cream composition. In the process, he tells of the origins of ice cream in China, how Marco Polo brought the knowledge with him to Europe - and how people in Sicily hoarded snow in caves on the Etna volcano and later enriched it with citrus fruits and sold it.
That's why Imperiale calls his just-emerging creation "yesterday's snow", as tongue-in-cheek as it is prosaic. The ingredients include cinnamon blossoms, roses, lemon peel, locust bean gum, dextrose, lemon and orange juice from Sicily. And saffron. And a little salt.
The light yellow mass comes out of the ice cream machine at minus nine degrees Celsius. It tastes wonderful. "On the first spoonful, you almost only taste the cold," Imperiale says. "It's not until the second spoonful that the flavors come." And he's right. The second tasting spoon tastes even better. Now the bowl of "yesterday's snow" is stowed away in the freezer at minus 35 degrees.
Sea water for the ice cream
The second vegan ice cream created by the 49-year-old ice cream maker is called "Pistacchio di Mare Giovanni." The pistachios for it come from Iran and were processed in Piedmont into a wonderfully fragrant paste. Now this paste is mixed with sea water from the Costa Brava, with sugar, dextrose, pistachio oil and lemon peel. Imperiale uses a refractometer to check the sugar content in the resulting ice cream.
Why does he use seawater? "We often washed fruit in the sea when we were kids in Puglia." The result is stunning: a very intense, fully aromatic pistachio flavor, with the seawater echoing in the background. "An ice cream is never the same," says Giovanni Imperiale. "You can try to make it the same next time, but it will always be a little something different. So nothing is fixed at all. You change one ingredient, everything changes."
Up to 400 kilograms of ice cream a day
After himself, it's his life partner and daughter who try a new creation next. "It doesn't really matter what they say, though," he explains with a laugh. "I have my exact ideas."
On warm summer days, when business is boiling, the 49-year-old makes up to 400 kilograms of ice cream a day. His range includes at least six vegan varieties, for example, fruit classics such as lemon, raspberry, mango or blood orange. His chocolate sorbet made with organic cocoa from the Dominican Republic and Belgian chocolate is also very popular. For this, Imperiale uses only water, no vegan milk at all. "If I used almond or oat milk, it would destroy the flavor." For the past decade or so, he says, demand for vegan ice cream has been growing. And at Eiscafé Bianchi on Friesdorf's Klufterplatz, even the croissants are vegan.
Original text: Hagen Haas
Translation: Mareike Graepel