Have you heard of spumoni? If you’re Italian or grew up in an Italian neighborhood, then you probably have. And if you’ve been on our Pizza Tour then you definitely have as well. But not everyone knows about one of the most delicious desserts around, so here you go!
So what is spumoni?
Spumoni is a traditional Italian dessert that’s actually a milk sherbet. Sherbet is not quite ice cream and not quite sorbet and has the addition of dairy — usually milk or buttermilk. This gives it a slightly creamier texture than sorbet, as well as a lighter, pastel color. By law, sherbet must contain less than 2% fat. It consists of three layers: chocolate, pistachio and almond. In Italy it’s often made in a terrine, hardened in the freezer and then cut into slices about an inch thick.
Where does Spumoni come from?
Spumoni originated in Naples and is plural for spumone, which means “foam”. It was introduced to the United States in the 1870s.
Where can I get it?
The best spumoni is usually located in Italian neighborhoods like the Bensonhurt section of Brooklyn. The most popular spumoni in Brooklyn is at L&B Spumoni Gardens, one of the stops on our Pizza Tour. Ludovico Barbati, the L&B in the name, started selling spumoni door to door from a horse-drawn wagon throughout Brooklyn in the 1930s before opening the storefront in 1939. Unlike the Italian version, L&B’s is served in Italian ice cups, which makes it easier to walk around with, and is more of a cross between ice cream and an Italian ice.
Spumoni even has its own holiday.
Both the United States and Canada have designated spumoni holidays! National Spumoni Day is on August 21st in the US. They celebrate it on November 13th in Canada.
Spumoni inspired American Neopolitan ice cream.
Neopolitan ice cream, which is named after the people of Naples, is a type of spumoni that was Americanized. It has different flavors though. Neopolitan ice cream flavors are strawberry, vanilla and chocolate because those were the most popular flavors in America at the time.