Carapina gelato, born in 2008 in Florence as a real start-up. Now there is two place in Florence and one in Rome and there is Caprina Food Truck on the road.
The Express mentioned them together roman monuments of high cuisine, D de La Repubblica add Carapina in the top 20 gelato shop in the world and the New York Times Magazine illustrate its a destination not to be missed. Today we meet the founder of Carapina, Simone Bonini, the author of this successful Made in Italy company.
1) Nine words to introduce you.
Dreamer, determined, curious, affable, passionate, aesthete, expansive, dynamic.
2) What are the three essential Made in Italy products for your kitchen?
Pasta, cheese and wine.
3) What is the Italian recipe that most represents you?
The simplicity: Tomato spaghetti! I’m a simple person, even if they say I’m not.
4) Why you got into the Gelato world?
I was sure to flip it. Today too we speak about gelato, but without the knowledge of the situation: think about the situation of ten years ago. There is a lot of ignorance and there aren’t rules that regulate it. Ten years ago the Gelato shop were all the same, very simples. This seems reductive for a world that represent a huge menu: milk, cream, eggs, fruits. The gelato is not just a cone: there is a story behind every product. Think about pistachio or fruits that are expression of the territory like cachi or for example the Mela Annurca di Teano. It’s not possible speak about gelato without full knowledge. I came into this world because I’m keen on cook. I wanted describe it, enhance it. I approached to the gelato, but could be pizza: also with pizza I put the same will. I love cook, my mother has taught us to do it when we were kids and it’s a sector that I always liked. It is no accident I’m better known to chefs than to gelato makers.
5) Made in Italy: why is it important?
It’s important because we speak about the territory. It’s undeniable that the Italians are cool: my grandmother, for example, was an old person, but when she went outside she take care about what she wore. It’s undeniable that the Made in Italy means elegance. We ave a big passion fo the food, for example we divide the courses in different dishes unlike others that mix everything the same dish. This is also an aesthetic factor: everything has to be at the right place.
6) Italian Sounding: what do you think about it?
It’s our fault because we weren’t good to give value to our products. There are cured meat factory in Canada called Toscana, there is Parmesan, there is Culatello, there are cured meats that exploit the brand. It’s our fault: it’s Italian indolence. We thought we were so good to such an extent that can’t be copied. But now they are so good abroad that it’s difficult let people know the differences. There are by now in United States a lot of professionals, it’s no more like the past. Lots of them come in Italy for a year to learn to do pizza. We don’t do it. We open a bar without knowing how it’s made coffe. The Italian Sounding must be attacked, but if it exist it’s our fault.
7) What can we do about it?
There is little we can do because there isn’t a system. Expo it was a great opportunity, but in the end…If I were the Prime Minister I would have done the Expo all over Italy. I would have taken the map of Italy and I would have written Expo all’over. I’d have done events all over Italy: from Sicily to Trentino. All the Italy is Expo. Every Day!
8) When you go abroad what do you think about the gelato that you find there?
It is chemistry. In Italy too unfortunately the 90% is chemistry.
9) Which advice can you give to recognize the Gelato in Italy?
You should taste it. Now there are a lot of forgers. Our shop layout is still actual even though it was done 10 years ago. Now the shops are all nice, the only solution is to taste. To recognize a good gelato you have to try fruits flavors. Fruits flavors don’t lie. Chocolate and the flavors based on cream flavor are easier to falsify, but not fruits flavors. The seasonal fruits (strawberry, lemon, peach) are easy to taste if it is an artisanal product.
Obviously, also the aspect is an important factor. Carolina uses bowls to conserve the gelato and not the showcase. The bowls are the best method to conserve the gelato. There are great professionals that use the showcase. I wouldn’t recommend the “mountain” of Gelato in the showcase!
10) Why do Italian gelato shops also write “artigianale” of the sign?
This is an abuse to draw attention. For example, I’m an artisan but I don’t write it.
Thanks to our Italian Food Ambassador Francine Segan for this amazing interview.