Swoon - Bath
Enjoying a tub of freshly crafted gelato might not be the first thought that springs to mind when it's so frightfully cold outside. Cradling hot cups of coffee and wearing an extra layer or two probably takes priority right now. However, when gelato tastes this good (ahem, Swoon on Kingsmead Square, ahem!) then you definitely won't think twice about taking off your gloves and stepping up to the gelato bar...
Swoon's founders; the Forte family, brought traditional Italian gelato to the UK over a century ago. The family's fourth generation decided to open a gelato bar in our neighbouring city of Bristol last year. After a successful first year on College Green in the centre of Bristol, Swoon branched out and set up a second gelato bar and café in Bath this May. Producing multi award-winning gelato and sorbetto from scratch, in the flavour labs of their Bristol and Bath stores, Swoon have 10 traditional flavours, plus 6 new monthly seasonal flavours for you to choose from. You can be sure you'll find a few firm favourites (they currently have festive flavours and I have fallen head over heels for their 'Mince Pie' gelato, it's heavenly!)
I was recently invited to Swoon's Bath flavour lab to learn the art of gelato making, and scoop up some handy 'gelatifacts' along the way...
Myself and fellow food blogger, Sal, (founder of Sal's Kitchen) stopped by last week to meet head gelato chef, Luisa Fontana. Arriving on a chilly Tuesday morning, we soon warmed up with a tasty frothy coffee alongside a shot of cioccolata calda - the most irresistible Italian hot chocolate which was so rich and thick... I only needed a small amount to reawaken my senses! We then donned our aprons and hair nets and stepped into the flavour lab with Luisa - where all the magic happens, of course!
First up? Incorporating gelato into a classic panettone - a sweet revelation if you ask me!
To begin, we removed all of the packaging and sliced the panettone close to the base.
We scooped out the insides and added sugar syrup to dampen the sponge and prevent the loaf from freezing too much. Then off to the blast chiller it went whilst Sal and I selected our gelato fillings.
After much delicious sampling, I opted for dark chocolate and hazelnut.
Retrieving my panettone from the blast freezer, I loaded up the sweet bread with the gelato, before returning it to the freezer for one final blast!
Then it was time to decorate the tops with warm chocolate and either crushed hazelnuts or pistachios that Swoon source from Bronte in Sicily...
After a few finishing touches, our creations were ready to serve!
We were also taught the art of creating gelato... From using Somerset milk from Bruton Dairy to sourcing seasonal fruit and veg from the neighbouring market stalls on Kingsmead Square, Swoon only use the freshest and finest ingredients. Luisa guided us through the weighing, churning and freezing of the ingredients, until the moment came when we could marvel at our very own homemade gelato.
Homemade 'Amarena Cherry Cheesecake' containing poached amarena cherries, soft cheese and crushed digestive biscuits. Although I hadn't quite mastered the technique of creating that pretty rippling effect across the top, I was pretty pleased with how my efforts turned out.
I will certainly be popping over to Swoon this winter for a delicious festive fix! With so many scrumptious flavours to choose from, including their current guest flavours; 'Chocolate Orange', 'Biscotto Di Nonna' (Gingerbread Biscuit), 'Panettone', 'Mince Pie' and 'Mulled Wine Sorbetto', I can't wait to discover a new favourite. For all the flavours, opening hours and store locations, please visit their website.
Many thanks to Luisa and Amy at Freshly Ground PR for inviting me along to this press trip :)