Kenneth Erlandsson, SNÖ gelateria’s own gelato master is originally a chef, but he fell in love with gelato during a stay in Sardinia, in the little village of Stintino.
“I was completely taken in by the wonderful ice cream, but also by the atmosphere. The entire village gathered around the gelato every day. Young or old, they met, drank coffee and ate ice cream. This experience stayed with me for many years and then one day in 2011 it was time to leave the chef life and open Bullandö Ice Cream Factory. People said I was mad when I started producing ice cream in the marina, but it was an instant hit”, Kenneth tells us.
Ice cream quickly became a passion and the following year he furthered his knowledge at the Gelato University of Bologna. He tells, like an inventor or a composer, of how he can wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a new combination of ingredients and a new flavour.
“I don’t eat a lot of ice cream, but I taste a lot of ice cream. It’s the taste that fascinates me, how to combine different ingredients and how they interact with each other, to find the balance, not just the flavour, but also the texture, the whole experience. You are never finished”, he says. “If I ever find the ultimate taste experience, the divine one. Then I can quit and go do something else.”
Ice cream before golf
We talk about everything, from raw material to chemistry, to the poetry of flavour, and that the best scenario of eating an apple flavoured gelato would of course be on a summer’s day in an orchard, completely surrounded by aromas and apple atmosphere from all directions.
I realise that the capacity to enjoy is a talent. If the capacity itself was possible to document, measure and contain, it would clearly have been an art form. Or an Olympic event. To compete in making good ice cream is however possible, and Kenneth became the Swedish master in gelato in 2016. A feather in his cap, of course, but it is the creating itself that he lives for. You must envy him a bit, he has his passion as his profession, and I ask if he has other passions or interests.
“I love golf and play as often as I have some time left. But it was probably three years since that happened last”, he laughs. “Ice cream must come first.”
The difference between gelato and ice crema
I had actually sought out Kenneth because he also makes ice cream without added sugar, with Bayn Europe‘s sugar replacer solution. I wanted to hear how it is going, if there are any limitations, what the customers’ reactions are, and so on, but we go on about ice cream, flavours and aromas. Kenneth is experimenting a lot and is coming up with new flavours. For example, lingonberry and liquorice, or caramelised sugar with rosemary and aniseed.
I laugh and wonder if you can make gelato out of anything?
“In principle, yes”, says Kenneth. “Ice cream is mainly water and sugar. These two ingredients you can’t do without, but for the rest you can use just about anything. The secret of making good gelato is to find the best combination of good ingredients, and then the manufacturing process of course.”
I ask what the difference is between ice cream and gelato and find out that gelato is prominently more distinct in flavour and creamier as gelato contains less air than ordinary ice cream. It is also served at a slightly higher temperature, -14C instead of -18C and contains less fat and sugar.
Making gelato without added sugar
And then we finally touch upon the subject of the harmful sugar.
You also make gelato without added sugar, under the brand name takk!, and today there is a lot of talk about an excess intake of sugar being a health problem. When did you get interested in making gelato with less sugar?
“Gelato is my passion and I want to be able to share it with as many as possible”, says Kenneth. “When you have customers who request a kind with less sugar, of course I want to be able to offer it. As long as taste and quality can be maintained, of course.”
What was your first reaction when you heard about Bayn’s solutions for sugar replacement?
“I said decidedly that it was impossible. Definitely not anything for high quality ice cream like my gelato, in any case.”
Which challenges did you foresee in making gelato without added sugar?
“Sugar has so many important qualities as regards taste, texture and also the freezing point. To make good ice cream without sugar shouldn’t really be possible.”
But you tried, and how did it go?
“The result was astonishingly good! I started a cooperation with Bayn, developed a recipe that I was satisfied with and could offer to my customers.”
Is the gelato just as good or can you notice a difference in taste and texture?
“Some may notice a small difference if they try gelato with sugar and gelato without sugar directly after each other. But that said, they may not experience the sugar reduced kind as less good. The difference is not that big, and most people won’t, as I said, even notice it.”
What are the reactions from your customers?
“Only positive” They think the ice cream is really good, and they appreciate that there are alternatives with less sugar.”
Do you see any limitations for what kind of ice cream you can make with Bayn’s solutions?
“Not really. Now that I have used it for some time I can’t see any reason for why it shouldn’t work as well with all kinds of ice cream. It has worked so well and been so much in demand that we have decided to offer the sugar reduced ice cream in our regular range.”