Gelateria 3Bis celebrate their fifth birthday at Borough with a delicious, limited edition flavour
Image: Joseph Fox
“The first thing you think when you have a birthday is, I’ll make a cake. But when it came to creating a new flavour of gelato to celebrate the fifth anniversary of our gelataria opening, we thought a cake would be too ‘banale’; too usual,” says Eleonora, the Italian store manager at Gelateria 3Bis. The team set about experimenting, and came up with an equally respectable fifth birthday party indulgence: chocolate—but with an Italian spin.
“‘Pane’ (‘bread’) and chocolate is a typical snack of kids in Italy—actually it is for many adults too,” grins Eleonora. “We tried making a gelato using doughnuts at first, but they were too sweet, in our opinion. The pane and nella gelato represents our philosophy better: it’s simple, traditional and authentic,” she continues. “There are so many extravagant, elaborate things, that people forget the joy of simple tastes. Our aim is to remind people of that, and create a truly Italian experience.”
The ‘pane’ in this instance is Bread Ahead’s wholegrain sourdough, bought fresh from the bakery around the corner, toasted on site and sprinkled atop gelato swirled with ‘nella’, a hazelnut and chocolate spread brought in from Italy, a nectar commonly seen pouring out of the silver tap on the 3Bis counter.
Prepared freshly in small batches
Made using the highest quality milk and cream that founders Paolo Raffaelli and Francesco Prati could find, the gelato is churned in a traditional machine on site, prepared freshly in small batches throughout the day. “We pour the liquid inside a metal bowl, which gradually turns while a lever moves slowly up and down to churn it,” Eleonora explains. “Temperatures drop to -19C during this process! Each batch takes about 12 minutes to make.”
Although gelato is often used as a synonym for ice cream, “we don’t use the words ice cream at all,” adds co-founder Paolo. “That is because there is a deep difference between the two products. There’s half the fat content and 50 per cent less air in gelato than there is in ice cream”—the result is a delicious triumvirate of creamy gelato, silky praline-like chocolate and a touch of satisfying crunch.
The Borough Market branch of Gelateria 3Bis might be turning five, but the perfection of 3Bis’s gelato recipe has been 30 years in the making, beginning in a small lab in Rimini, Italy. “It is there that I learned the real artisan way to make gelato,” says Paolo. “The most important part of our job is human creativity and hand craftmanship”—judging by the line snaking through the shop on what’s only a mildly sunny May afternoon, that hard work and dedication has more than paid off.