Agnese and Cesare Maganzani recently came to California for the wedding of one of their sons, Nicolò. The other son Tommaso is a pianist friend of Jacopo Giacopuzzi, whom I have often mentioned in my posts. The entire family is delightful; Agnese and Cesare shared with us the story of their award-winning gelateria, one of the very best in Italy!
Cesare and Agnese founded the gelateria “Loggetta” in 2013 in the Renaissance city of Mantua, which is located in the Lombardy region about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Lake Garda and Verona. It is in a beautiful building in Piazza Broletto, where long lines form to taste their artisanal creations. Less than 10% of Italy’s gelaterias are artisanal, but here you will find everything is made by hand using traditional methods.
Cesare is head of production in the laboratory on the second story of the facility. He buys all the ingredients and uses only fresh products of high quality. As a perfectionist, he never uses chemical substances harmful to one’s health and he never uses prepared pastes or powders. He maintains the highest quality standards; he uses only fresh fruits of each season, and he uses as little sugar as possible in his recipes.
Agnese, who has a radiant smile, is the “face” of the store. She is responsible for all contact with the public. She manages sales, personnel, and schedules, and works with three attractive servers. Both husband and wife have long days as the store is open from 11 am to midnight seven days a week.
At any one time, Loggetta sells 24 flavors that vary according to season and product availability. Classic flavors include fior di latte, hazelnut, chocolate, and gianduja (a chocolate-hazelnut combination). Spring and summer flavors include strawberry, raspberry, melon, watermelon, and peach. Fig is available in August and September; pear, apple, and pomegranate are available in October, November, and December. Loggetta also makes its own gourmet specialties, such as a peach / amaretto / chocolate gelato, green apple with cinnamon, and a beautiful lime-ginger sorbet. And Loggetta also serves vegan sorbet.
Most gelaterias display the gelato flavors in open containers, which certainly catch the eye of both children and adults alike and probably increase impulse buying. But Cesare maintains that the air ruins the consistency of the gelato in an hour or two. Instead, they serve the gelato from the covered pozzetti (containers) in which they are made and set them in a refrigerated counter that is maintained at less than 11-12 degrees centigrade (around 52 degrees Fahrenheit).
When asked how Italian gelato compares with American ice cream, Cesare rolls his eyes. He says it’s like comparing shoes with hats, or cars with horses—they are two completely different things. True artisanal gelato has real fresh flavor, is not overly sweetened, and has a dreamy, creamy consistency, rather than a hard, frozen one. You don’t find that in America…or any other place. And to prove it? Loggetta’s fior di latte won La Coppa del Mondo del Gelato (the World Cup of gelato) in 2013.