5/31/2013 01:30:00 PM

New Sandwiches and the Life-Changing Gelato Debut at J.P. Graziano’s

Yes, we said it, life-changing gelato without traveling to Italy. It will be arriving as soon as a week from Monday at J.P Graziano’s. The fourth generation specialty grocery store owner, Jim Graziano, partnered with executive chef Ben Roche at Baume & Brix after he rented an empty space above the store for band practice (he plays the drums, in case you were wondering). The gelato uses traditional Italian flavors provided by Graziano and modern techniques provided by Roche. Expect to see the shop's cooler filled with up to six traditional flavors such as pistachio and hazelnut and a few experimental styles true to Roche's signature cutting-edge culinary style.

During a sneak peek, we sampled gelato flavored with Fiore di Sicilia. The vanilla and citrus extract is rich with floral notes and typically used to flavor panettone, an Italian sweet bread. The silky ice cream has floral notes, but the most prominent of the subtle flavors is a fruity, breakfast-cereal-like taste. The texture, however, is what makes the gelato so addicting. Roche uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the gelato, something that he has a lot of lying around in the kitchen at Baume & Brix. The nitrogen allows the mixture to freeze faster and at a lower temperature which means smaller ice crystals and a smoother texture. Despite the high-tech technique, the ingredients used in the gelato and sorbet are old-school Italian such as blood orange juice imported from Sicily, the syrup used to preserve cannoli cherries and aged-balsamic vinegar.

On the savory side, Graziano is adding a new sandwich to his lineup. Specifically, he wanted to add a sandwich well-suited for summer - something light yet satisfying. A stickler for authenticity and using the best ingredients, the new sandwich is a hot piadina. It is named after the flatbread native to the Emilia Romagna Region in Italy - a dense and chewy bread that Graziano imports directly from Italy. It is a simple vessel for the powerful ingredients packed inside, such as whole milk mozzarella cheese, prosciutto di Parma and fresh arugula dressed with olive oil, lemon and shallot vinaigrette. The shop will feature two sandwiches that change every two weeks according to the availability of ingredients. Initially, most sandwiches will be savory and hot, but as soon as the process is perfect, Graziano will expand to cold as well as sweet sandwiches with ingredients like Nutella.

A representative from Piadina will be at the shop tomorrow between noon and 3 PM. During that time, Graziano will offer samples of the new sandwich. It will be added to the menu on Monday.

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