Williams College DiningDecember 9, 2012
Although students flock enthusiastically to snack bar’s gelato station, few know the process and ingredients that create the colorful ridges of cold, sweet creaminess. In fact, many eager consumers are probably unaware that this frozen dessert needs not travel far to reach its intermediary destination – gelato and sorbet master Trish makes both delicacies in the basement of Paresky. I was lucky enough to observe the process one Friday morning, and now consumption of this decadent dessert no longer leaves me bewildered – indeed, given the high-quality ingredients that comprise the final product, it’s not surprising that Williams’ gelato is so tantalizingly delicious.
Starting in 2002, Williams began purchasing dairy from High Lawn Farm, a local, organic, non-hormone milk producer in Lee, Massachusetts. High Lawn Farm pledges to provide Massachusetts and the Berkshire region with the freshest, best quality Jersey cow milk, and the relationship between this producer and Williams is certainly reciprocal – the business our institution gives to local farms such as High Lawn helps combat the takeover of industrial agriculture and food production. Hence, high quality High Lawn Farm whole milk comprises the base of each gelato flavor.
As I watched, Trish mixed the whole milk—which exuded an enticingly creamy smell—with the other ingredients needed to create the chosen flavor: birthday cake. Not a lot else is required in the gelato-making process, and I believe this simplicity is a testimony to the toothsome quality of the milk, in particular. Trish added an essential dairy thickener and some yellow birthday cake mix to the large plastic pitcher, and hence the luscious liquid stood prepared for the transformation process.
Five minutes in the humming machine—dining services recently upgraded to this sparkly steel unit—and the soon indicated that magic had occurred in its interior. I love the way the gelato looks as it slowly exits the cold spinner, a thick, velvety ribbon that melds together enthusiastically, finally forming a white mountainous mass of delectable folds and crevices.
Trish sprinkled vibrant rainbow sprinkles for a final, fundamental touch – while the decadent gelato provides the flavor, these brightly colored units are a testament to the dessert’s celebratory nature. Next time I make my snack bar selection, I will be extra grateful to both nearby High Lawn Farm and our trusty gelato maker, transforming top-notch ingredients into blissful bites for the fortunate consumer.