Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cheesy, and nothing to do with NASCAR

So we really do try to tread lightly when it comes to the varied and sometimes tortured pronunciations we hear of some of our flavors. Most people can get carambola out without a hitch, though there are the infrequent "cuh-RAM-bowl-uh" outliers. Moka is inexplicably challenging for a surprisingly large contingent. And most of the brave folk who try to get all the way around nocciola stracciatella stumble somewhere between the third and fourth C.

But I'm always pretty flummoxed when people struggle with mascarpone. Granted the "mar-scuh-pone" crowd is well represented all across the nation, but I've actually heard "muh-SCAR-ponee." I really, really hope the degree to which I was taken aback and a little confused wasn't apparent on my face. We try with our utmost to be welcoming, and recoiling in horror to that one would have been maybe a little off-putting. Trust that your baristi are not going to pounce all over your pronunciation unbidden--we're here to help, but we're not looking to embarrass anyone.

 It's kind of a shame that so many people mispronounce it (for the world: "MASK-ar-pone") because it is delicious. If you're not familiar, mascarpone is a fresh sweet cheese made from cream and native to the northern part of Italy. It's smooth and rich and one of the fundamental ingredients in tiramisu (other fascinating fact: tiramisu by no means qualifies as a "traditional" Italian dessert since it only dates back to the 1960s or so). Around these parts, you're most likely to find it in our apple mascarpone gelato, because sweet creamy cheese and local heirloom apples are delicious.
Here's today's batch, adorned with Jackappletern? Not sure what you'd call it, but this time of year might be our kitchen staff's favorite since they can go nuts with the garnishes.

Absolutely you should at least take a stab at the Italian names of our gelati and sorbetti, but if you'd rather stick with English it's no thing. Even we struggle with some of them. I'm good with zabaglione and caprifoglio, but I know better than to try to get my Germanic jaw around cioccalato mille foglie.


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