Spumoni – Part 1 – Italian colors in cream

Have you ever sat down to a bowl of Spumoni ice cream? The colors red, green, brown and white are so pretty to behold. Chocolate and pistachio flavors with fruity cherries and walnuts blend together for a delicious taste experience in this frozen Italian dessert. Have you ever wondered how our Neapolitan-flavored ice cream was born? Well, wonder no more!


Spumone, derived from “spuma” or foam, is a molded Italian ice cream. It is made with different layers of colors and flavors, usually containing candied fruits and nuts. Spumone is usually three flavors with a fruit / nut layer between them. The ice cream layer has often been mixed with whipped cream and the flavors in these layers are usually chocolate and pistachio. The fruit and nut layer usually contains cherries, creating the traditional red / pink, brown and green color combination that we are so used to seeing. This Italian dessert originated in Naples, Italy and, consequently, it emanated the three-flavored ice cream that we know today as “Neapolitan.” Spumone is popular in areas where there are large Italian immigrant populations, such as the United States and Argentina. Despite its association with Italian food, many dairies and retailers have placed it in the “Holiday” or “seasonal” category alongside eggnog and consequently only make it available during Thanksgiving seasons. Thanks and Christmas. Perhaps the colors red and green contribute to this decline.


Sometimes the chocolate layer contains pieces of grated chocolate and / or crushed hazelnuts. The hazelnuts not only add an enhancing flavor to the chocolate, but they also complement the pistachio layer that almost always has crushed pistachios. The fruit and nut layer generally contains some type of candied fruit; cherries are generally the most traditional but can sometimes contain strawberries or raspberries. Spumoni has produced his own variety of dishes; Neapolitan ice cream is a direct descendant, and perhaps the banana split (typically made with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream and topped with whipped cream and cherries) is a distant cousin. As you consume your Spumoni, be sure to savor the flavors in each layer for the full experience.

In my next post, I will provide a recipe for Spumoni. It’s long because you actually make each of the different flavored ice creams from scratch. Fear not, it is not a difficult recipe, just one with many steps. It promises to be a delicious post, so come back and … bring your friends! (I bet you thought you were going to say bring your appetite! – Yeah, well, that won’t hurt either.)