Ice Cream Party | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

I tasted the most delicious truffle limoncello ice cram yesterday at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. The day before, at my house, I prepared gelato affogato as an after dinner for some foreign friends vacationing in California. After two consecutive days of ice cream, which is something I don’t do often, I am now in the mood of organizing an ice cream party for adults and kids, before the autumn falls. Among all the parties, ice cream party is one of the least pretentious and inexpensive parties we might be involved with. It takes very little planning, very few ingredients and backyards are just perfect.

(Photo above:


Set the mood and decide on a particular era into which to set the scene of the ice cream party.  Ask your guests to come dressed up in costume of the era designated and choose the music to go with the theme. I would suggest to discard the present time, we are already living in today’s time and we know how this reality is, but setting up an ice cream party in a nostalgic era, will give us a chance to live, relive or fantasize it our way, without the challenges that came with any given era.
 (Photo above: Zaharako ice cream parlor and museum. 329 Washington St. – Columbus, Indiana 47201)


Do you like the party to be set in the ‘20s or ‘30s? You will find plenty inspiration in the roaring age, flapper girls’ fashion and Charleston music. You might like the more modern ‘50s and ‘60s era, in which also you will find a lot to play with the sophistication of the ‘50s and the rock and roll of the ‘60s.  Perhaps, you like to experiment or relive the ‘70s and the concept of the hippies’ era, bohemian style and flowers kids.

In the history of costume, there is a lot to chose from and I think it’s always the right time to dress up in style for any theme party and not just for Halloween.

Decorations and invitations should follow the theme of your party. Hand written personal invitation cards reflecting the theme of the party will make an impression. Your guests will know to have been invited to a real “scoop” of something tasty.

(Photo Source: BH&G)

For an ice cream party we don’t need much, only a great attitude towards food and a few ingredients. Don’t worry about diets, just go to the party and enjoy the moment, tomorrow is a different day. We need first an ice cream machine to help making all the ice cream, gelato and sorbet we need in a quick time. The machine in my photo is sold at Neiman Marcus for less than $200.00.  Furthermore, we need a fruit variety for making both sorbet and ice cream, many varieties of toppings such as nuts, chocolate chips, edible flowers, paper or waffle cones, ice cream glasses, spoons and saucers.

Designate areas for toppings, fruits, garnishes, cones, all the ingredients for making various type of ice cream; then designate a different area for all utensils and one more area for all the drinks. This way, the traffic will flow harmoniously and your guests will not be on top of each other preparing their own ice cream.

(Photo Source: BH&G)


I suggest some fun drinks for the adults: sparkling wines mixed with any kind of fruit juice, strawberry, oranges, cranberry, blueberry, pear, pineapple, apple, peach juices, or anything else you like. Decorate each drink with a berry or a slice of the fruit used as a mixer. Pink champagne is especially good as palate cleanser between ice cream tasting or right after, but don’t spend lot of money on the most expensive champagne, the fruit and the champagne must compliment each other and not fighting.

I know the kids will like to drink all kinds of sodas and bounce from wall to wall for all the excess sugar, but it will be better to serve them something simpler and healthier: mineral water mixed with any fruit juice of their liking. They will have the impression of drinking champagne like the adults.

Organizing theme parties is fun. Perhaps, next time I will elaborate on a champagne party, or omelet party. The holidays are just around the corner. Ciao,

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer since 1990 and a former Fashion Designer.
She blends fashion with interior and colors the world of her clients with designing, teaching style and table manners, party organizing and public speaking.
She has been described as “the colorist” and loves to create the unusual.
She translates colors into excitement. Valentina’s new book on colors will be in the market soon: RED-A Voyage Into Colors.
Check out Valentina’s books on


Give Me A Mountain Of Gelato | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer


Last month the Italian city of Florence hosted again the Gelato Festival from May 23rd to 27th offering five full days of nothing but pleasure and sweetness. With the gelato fair along come the conventions and business events, but artisanal gelato display and taste each specialty is the center of attraction and is all about having fun in a festive atmosphere.

Firenze Gelato LogoThis is the opportunity to taste every artisan’s new gelato combinations, new flavors, classic flavors, strange flavors or various ingredients mixed with the gelato. Colors of the rainbow will be on display in each gelateria. I loved the logo  used to publicize the event. One of my favorite place to visit was the “Gelateria Perche’ No” for a large fragrant cone of gelato combination made of pistachio, dark chocolate and espresso.  They know how to do it, they have done it since 1939.
(Above –


Italians are a population of inventors, lovers, poets and navigators. It was an Italian who invented the gelato in the Renaissance, the time when all the arts went through a revival and an awakening after the Dark Ages. It was the right time to reinvent food and entertainment around the table. The new dessert called “crema fredda” or iced cream was made with a base of milk, egg yolks, a bit of wine, flavored with lemons, oranges or bergamot.

Caterina de’ Medici took the inventor of crema fredda with her to France to work in her court and delight the guests at her royal table. The de’ Medici lordship always competing with powerful Spaniard rulers were renowned for twisting favors out the Spaniards by corrupting them with new artwork, or extravagant food. Crema fredda was one the food that marveled the Spaniards, who in turn took it  to the court of Spain as the Italian speciality of the moment. If de’ Medici ate it, the Spaniards had to have it too on their royal tables.

Bernardo Buontalenti, a Florentine born, was the inventor of ice cream and the strange machine in the shape of a closed box which made it. The box was made with an insulated area and a cylinder in the center containing various cold ingredients, which coagulated with the constant movement of spatulas maneuvered by an external level. The ingredients of the new-born ice cream would be mostly snow, salt (for a physical law it lowers the temperature), lemons, sugar, egg whites and milk.
(Photo left –

(Above – Gelato in Barcelona, Spain at La Boqueria by ©Valentina Cirasola)


Today a person like Bernardo Buontalenti would be called a Jack-of-all-trades, but in the Renaissance he was a master in all of his inventions and designs.
He was a multi-faceted person of many passions: painter, sculptor, architect, set designer, stager, royal party organizers, inventor and manufacturer of weapons.

Thanks to him, today we can enjoy gelato in all colors and flavors. In order to have a complete Italian experience, you need  the right Italian gelato glass. I found a colorful set at Joss & Main designed by Rocco Bormioli. At least I can pretend of being in Piazza Pitti tasting my  gelato.

The difference between ice cream and gelato is a simply a fat factor.
Ice cream has more cream and fat, gelato contains milk and the fat is lower between 5-7%. The flavoring is often made with natural products (berries, vanilla, lemon peel, liqueurs) in place of artificial flavorings and colorings.

Italian products are synonymous of quality and special ingredients, but they are also perceived as products able to re-create a wheel of emotions and a superior lifestyle. Gelato is tasty, healthy and improves the quality of life, because after a gelato, a feeling of satisfying and refreshed contentment follows. Enjoy the summer! Ciao,

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She especially loves to design all those rooms with a “make me feel good” tag attached, such as kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms.
She is a public speaker and a mentor. She is also the author of two Italian regional cuisine books, available here in this site on the Books page and on

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