VERONA, Italy (Reuters Life!) - This ice cream story is for adults only.
Veteran Italian sommelier Giuseppe Vaccarini has a new book about ice cream with wine -- without the chocolate sauce, cherries and rainbow sprinkles.
Vaccarini is the first to admit that the blend sounds like blasphemy. But his book, "The Ice Cream Code," meticulously cracks the combination to unlock a new adult after-dinner experience.
"All of this forms a harmony of sensations," he told Reuters before a tasting on the opening day of the sprawling five-day Vinitaly wine fair held every year in this northeastern industrial city near Venice.
His book, which will be released in Italian in May by Giunti publishers, dedicates 180 pages to this unlikely match made in heaven.
The glossy coffee-table book begins with a photo of Audrey Hepburn suggestively eyeing an ice cream cone from the 1953 movie "Roman Holiday."
It progresses through the history of ice cream, then passes to technical charts and color photos of the molecular structure of improperly frozen ice cream. It ends with expert recipes for ice cream flavors like taleggio cheese and extra virgin olive oil.
But the centerpiece of the book is the wine-ice cream match that Vaccarini created with the help of six sommelier friends. They include Thierry Hamon, chief sommelier of the Le V restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel in Paris and Alberto Piras, sommelier at Milan's ultra exclusive restaurant, Sadler.
Like love, finding the right match takes patience. The first rule, Vaccarini says, is forget wine with sherbet.
"Sherbet is sweet, aromatic and thermic, which cancels everything," he said.
Ice cream, particularly rich Italian semifreddo, has greater complexity. The acidity of the wine combines with the butterfat of the ice cream, the alcohol with the sugars, the aromatic properties with the softness.
And both wine and ice cream share a taste that lingers for that moment when the combined effect is greater than the sum of its parts.
For his tasting, Vaccarini paired a glass of Recioto di Soave with frozen yogurt and pineapple, a Malvasia Delle Lipari Passito with cassata semifreddo and Moscato Liquoroso Di Pantelleria with a cocoa-laced coffee semifreddo.
He showed the proper slow-motion technique for savoring the combination, letting the ice cream slowly melt in his mouth before taking a sip of wine and swishing it around to release its full flavor.
Editing by Paul Casciato