The Italian Almanac

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ice cream

Ice Cream University

A Bologna university dedicated to gelato has found a new way to export the much-loved Italian icecream to the world. Carpigiani Gelato University is offering scholarships to foreigners who take part in Gelato Pioneers, a course that teaches aspiring chefs how to make icecream as well as business skills. At the end of the four-week course, the ten most talented and motivated students will be reimbursed for the course and have seven days' experience in a gelato shop, as well as business mentoring and machinery discounts.

The university was founded in 2003 as a training division of the Carpigiani Group, which produces around 70% of the world's icecream machines. It offers 9,000 courses around the world. Company managing director Andrea Cocchi said the project had so far been aimed at Italians but the company wanted to do more to promote one of Italy's favourite foods around the world. "In 2012 we will launch Gelato Pioneers for foreigners to bring the artisanal gelato culture abroad and develop a start-up model at a time when the recession has shown you have to invest in yourself and your values," Cocchi said on Friday.

The university is based in Bologna in northern Italy and has large cooking laboratories equipped with 40 of the latest machines. It offers courses in 10 languages. Praxi, an international consultancy and training company with over 40 years' experience, is also involved in the project and will help graduates who want to open their own gelato shop anywhere in the world.

The university has 20 experts with expertise as icecream makers or pastry chefs and students travel from the United States, Australia, China, Lebanon and Africa to take part in its programmes. While student numbers fell during the global financial crisis, enrolments for the current academic year have increased by 60% compared to last year.

The university runs six courses, from beginner to advanced, and says producing the perfect gelato is a "delicate balancing act" between the fat found in milk and cream, which hardens as it freezes, and the sugar in fruit.