Food for Climate: Tempi di Recupero and Gelato Tasting at Cheese

Climate change is the word on the tip of everybody’s tongues. Needless to say, food plays a huge role in our efforts to fight climate change.

Not only in the way we grow and the way we buy food, but even in the way we throw it away. Food waste makes up 11% of the food system’s carbon emissions[1]. So what if we were to use our waste to make new food? Or a new flavor of… gelato?

An Aperol Spritz sorbet.

At this year’s Cheese, visitors were able to try Gelato di Recupero or “Recovered Gelato”: gelato made from food and waste products of other farming practices. An initiative of Tempi di Recupero (Recovery Time), a project dedicated to “to making sustainability clear and practical for our everyday lives.” Tempi di Recupero was started by a group of food lovers and creators who wanted to find new ways to use food waste that could preserve food traditions and recreate memories of our favorite foods. They asked restaurant owners, chefs and even people who simply cook at home, “What does it mean to make “recycled” dishes? Thanks to this collaboration, they have found new ways to define what makes a dish “recycled” and rethink how we use food waste. Through dinners made out of food waste, they have expanded their project to include gelato.


“Gelato is an important idea for us because gelato is one of the foods that uses the most resources,” Giulia Mirotti of Tempi di Recupero says. “You use lots of energy to keep gelato cold and you use a lot of water to make gelato. But now there are new machines that use much less water or even no water at all to make the same amount of gelato.”

With one of these machines churning out incredible gelato, visitors were able to taste the most unusual types of gelato at the UNISG stand: polenta and milk, erba medica (alfafa), grano del miracolo tostada (an ancient grain variety specific to Italy, toasted), and even an Aperol spritz sorbet. With different gelato makers at every tasting, it is clear to see that Gelato di Recupero is catching on with gelato makers.


Lucia Sapia of Il Dolce Sogno – polenta and milk gelato

“We have 5 points to define what a Gelato di Recupero is. The first point is to recycle the tradition or taste of a memory; to find flavors or recipes that would be linked to a tradition we know intimately. The second point is to use fruits or materials that are at the end of their life. For example, fruit that is too mature but is still good to make gelato. The third point is to recycle the tradition of a territory or to practice a traditional way of making gelato. The fourth thing is to use the entire ingredient, rather than just one part of the ingredient. The fifth thing is to encourage biodiversity with the use of ancient fruit or wild herbs,” Mirotti explains.

And in fact, some gelato is best when made with food waste, Antonio Mezzalira, a gelato-maker based in Padova, points out. Mezzalira, the owner of Golosi di Natura, says, “[Gelato di Recupero] is a fundamental idea because it’s ugly to waste food and key ingredients. We can see this with fruit. For us gelato-makers, the most important thing is not that the fruit is beautiful – it’s that it is good. And when is a fruit considered good by a gelato-maker? Usually when it’s “too” mature. For example, to make a sorbet of banana, the banana must be overripe. And after throwing away the rotten parts, the part that remains is full of an intense flavor that is perfect for making gelato. So for certain types of gelato, waste is actually the best material for making good gelato.”

by Alia Kiran

[1] Source: WWF

Popular tags: