Learning the Art of Gelato Making

A close up shot of a gelato case shows orange, pink, yellow and white gelato ready to be scooped. The white gelato has chocolate drizzle on top of it.

Many people study abroad in Italy, but only a select few attend Carpigiani Gelato University for the opportunity to become a Master Gelatiere. Located in Anzola dell'Emilia near Bologna, the school offers a four-week intensive course to become a gelato master.

Gelato is a handmade frozen dessert that has less butterfat and 70% less air than traditional ice cream. Those characteristics give it the unique density and richness that has made gelato one of the most popular desserts in Italy and around the world.

Originating in 16th-century Italy, the term gelato comes from the Italian word for “frozen." Although historians aren't sure who the first gelato creator was, it’s widely believed that Bernardo Buontalenti of Florence made a lasting impression on the Medici family with his version of the dessert.

Today there are more than 100,000 gelato shops all over the world, and students travel from many countries world to develop their expertise at Carpigiani Gelato University. The school was founded in 2003 by Carpigiani, the Italian company established after the Carpigiani brothers invented the first automated gelato machine in 1944.

Each year thousands of students arrive at the Bologna campus to learn about the gelato-making process, the necessary equipment, and the differences between gelato and standard ice cream. Classes are offered in Italian, English, French, and Spanish.

Teachers split the learning between a traditional classroom and a hands-on lab where students learn that conditions like temperature and humidity must be considered when making the final product. Compared to ice cream, gelato is churned more slowly than ice cream and served at a slightly higher temperature.

Prospective gelato masters are given the chance to try their hand at classic flavors, like the Italian favorite stracciatella—plain milk flavored gelato mixed with rich chocolate shavings. Apart from the traditional milk-based varieties, students also learn how to make water-based gelato known as sorbet.

In addition to studying the technical skills needed to make great gelato, Campigiani Gelato University attendees take classes on how to open and operate their own business. After finishing the four-week course, many graduates open gelato shops in their hometowns across the globe.

The school now offers online courses so aspiring Master Gelatieres can learn all about gelato from the comfort of their own kitchen.

Learn More:
Gelato University in Italy