Food & Drink

National Spumoni Day keeps Hilton Head cool

Thalia Rosso, an employee at the corporate office of Hilton Head Island’s Pino Gelato, displays the tub of traditional Spumoni, a colorful and tasty blend of pistachio, chocolate and cherry for this Italian treat on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016 afternoon — which also marked National Spumoni Day.
Thalia Rosso, an employee at the corporate office of Hilton Head Island’s Pino Gelato, displays the tub of traditional Spumoni, a colorful and tasty blend of pistachio, chocolate and cherry for this Italian treat on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016 afternoon — which also marked National Spumoni Day. dmartin@islandpacket.com

Spumoni, or spumone to Italians, isn’t so easy to come by in Beaufort County. But on Sunday, National Spumoni Day, one gelato shop and one ice cream shop were serving the treat.

Traditionally, spumoni is made by layering pistachio, cherry and chocolate gelato, an Italian dessert similar to ice cream. Often, fruit and nuts are added between the layers or mixed into the dessert. The treat is then set to freeze in a block and sliced, so that whoever gets to enjoy it can see the layers of goodness.

At Pino Gelato, a gelateria on William Hilton Parkway near Wexford Drive on Hilton Head Island, this traditional method of layering the flavors is kept alive. The treat is served scooped, though, instead of sliced. Owner Ramona Fantini said her spumoni is made with all natural ingredients and without preservatives.

“That way, I’m tasting the strawberries, not strawberry-flavored something,” Fantini said. Spumoni isn’t one of Pino Gelato’s best-sellers, she said. Most people tend to shy away from ordering things they’re unfamiliar with or unsure how to pronounce, she said. When someone comes in looking for it, though, they’re thrilled to find it there, just behind the glass, she said.

Frozen Moo in the Coligny Plaza Shopping Center on Hilton Head Island also has spumoni, but the ice cream version.

“It’s not our most popular flavor, but it definitely has its fans,” owner Jack Daly said. He said he keeps the flavor around because he always encourages his customers to discover something new and try a flavor they’ve never seen.

Some folks will argue that only classic spumoni is real spumoni. Many others have branched out and tried variations on the original, incorporating different flavors and add-ins. Neapolitan ice cream, for example, is a descendant of spumoni and still has the same layering idea, but with vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice creams.

Any way you slice it — or scoop it — it’s bound to be delicious. And the good news is, there are still a few places down in Beaufort County where you can find a quick bite of spumoni.

Joan McDonough: 843-706-8125, @IPBG_Joan

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