This comes as a surprise, since we figured a European cruise line would have this honor before an American line like Princess, but alas. Princess Cruises’ onboard gelato shops have been designated as Ospitalità Italiana, and are the first and only locations to offer an authentic Italian gelato experience outside of Italy.
What ‘Ospitalità Italiana’ Means
The prestigious Ospitalità Italiana designation is issued by the Italian Chamber of Commerce committee, an organization of the Italian government. It confirms that every step of the gelato-making process meets or exceeds a strict set of standards as approved by official Italian auditors and experts who review the process on a yearly basis.
Only gelato shops that achieve outstanding quality status are awarded the official Ospitalità Italiana certification.
Princess Cruises handcrafts its gelato with Italian-certified ingredients and equipment each day in the pastry kitchens on its three newest ships: Discovery, Enchanted, and Sky Princess.
Corporate pastry chef Eric Le Rouzic trained with Italian chefs at the Gelato Carpigiani University in Bologna and the Gelato Comprital Atheneum in Milano to master the culinary art. Princess uses top-of-the-line gelato machines, and the gelato display cases onboard were produced in Italy by expert craftsmen.
Gelato Isn’t Ice Cream
According to legend, the recipe for gelato was popularized when architect Bernardo Buontalenti was asked to create a special confection for a member of the Medici noble family in the 16th century. Buontalenti mixed milk, eggs, sugar, and extracts in a special machine surrounded by ice and salt, and egg cream-based gelato was born.
Gelato has less butter fat and fewer calories than traditional ice cream. The Italian ingredients are combined with Princess’ fresh fruit and is made each day with milk, not requiring the extra fat from cream that’s needed in ice cream for a longer shelf life.
As a result, a scoop of gelato is 80-100 calories and the sorbet — or “fruit gelato” — has no fat and is only 50-60 calories, with no dairy.
Princess Cruises guests can choose from a variety of flavors like vanilla, chocolate, tiramisu, Nutella, and salted caramel. The line’s menu also offers dairy-free, fat-free sorbets, and sugar-free gelato.
Toppings are also available, as well as combinations such as “affogato” (with liqueur) or “coppe,” including creations like nutellone (Nutella gelato, Nutella, and whipped cream) or amaretto and peaches (amaretto gelato, fresh sliced peaches, and meringue drops).