Pastry, Desserts & Gelato Tradition & Evolution

Classic & Modern Italian Regional Desserts, Baking and Artisan Italian Gelato Program


Certificate Program Instructed by the ICI Masters

One Week Full Immersion for Chefs, Pastry Chefs, Bakers, entrepreneurs & Home Gourmets

LEARN, COOK, FEAST and live this everyday

About this program

Welcome to the most all-inclusive, hands-on pastry and gelato program in Italy. This course combines traditional and modern Italian pastry, desserts, and artisanal gelato during one week of full immersion.

Technique is the cornerstone of this program. All the preparations have been chosen to allow participants to not only replicate traditional Italian sweets, but to also innovate upon them and create their own signature delicacies.

Alongside a master chef, participants prepare classic and modern pastries, mignon, biscotti, milieu feuilles, mousses, sorbets, gelato, and more. Advanced dessert plating and garnishing techniques including chocolate and sugar work, are also included in this program.

What makes gelato artisanal? Participants will learn the theoretical and biological constants that are indispensable for making perfect gelato. This is followed by the techniques necessary to produce personalized flavors according to taste, client trends, regional availability of raw materials, etc.

The course also outlines the parameters necessary for the operation of a gelato business for both single and multiunit enterprises. Based on years of consulting for operations in Europe and throughout the world, this program addresses key elements for startups and sets foundations for new and ongoing activities.

Uniquely presented in the ICI laboratory, on location in artisan shops, and at local markets, participants see a broad range of equipment including machines, display cases and much more.

The history of gelato, menu development, pricing, hygiene and safety, storage, distribution, selling techniques, staffing and an in-depth analysis of raw materials are just some of the topics covered throughout the week.

A recipe book for this program is provided to each participant. This recipe book contains techniques enabling participants to reproduce, create and experiment with a myriad of personalized creations.

The program includes accommodations, ground transfers, divine dining, cultural travel, unlimited gelato and culminates with two Pastry Buffets.

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  • Private transfer from Lamezia Terme Airport to the hotel.
  • Check in at the hotel.
  • Welcome dinner
  • Overnight at the hotel
  • Breakfast at the hotel

We begin with Colazione Italiana alla Artigiana (Artisan Italian Breakfast). In the age of frozen breakfast pastries, packaged breads and industrially made condiments, the classic Italian breakfast has become as exclusive as fine dining is at any other time of day. Assorted hearth breads, freshly prepared creams of nuts and chocolate mass and jams made with seasonal fruit highlight this “colazione” or first meal.

Italian Cornetti look like croissants but are much different. You’ll taste the difference..

So rare, even in Italy, an artisan breakfast can only be found at select cafés at triple the price of a common continental breakfast. A brief explanation of the meal and its importance to your clients is followed by a tasting.

  • Sensorial Analysis
    Tasting of the primary ingredients necessary to construct authentic pastry, cakes and desserts in Regional Italian Cuisines, emphasizing modern alimentary trends and season.
  • Comparative tasting of lesser known ingredients including wild herbs, fruits, nuts and grains to give participants a wider perception of balancing new flavors indigenous to the Mediterranean and Europe in general.
  • Participants will be presented with the skills necessary to construct classic and modern semi-freddoes, Italian mignon, torts and plated desserts.
  • A thorough analysis explains how these techniques are incorporated to develop new recipes utilizing different component ingredients relating to specific tastes, season or cost factors. Special attention is given to modern alimentary tendencies developed by ICI.


  • Lunch
  • Classic pastry is prepared followed by its innovative versions demonstrating the evolution of pastry.
  • This technique of new recipe development is examined based on market availability, cost and space factors, and “need for speed”.
  • End of lesson
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Overnight at the hotel
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Preparations from the previous day are completed with a series of decorating styles.
  • Participants are presented with decorating and assembly techniques necessary for “personalizing” her or his desserts.

Perfect pastry requires a series of methodical steps.  Once mastered, creativity is unlimited..

  • Chocolate work, delicate baked, fried and smoked garnishes and sugar work are all presented in an array of color, textures and, most importantly, flavors.
  • Creaming and foaming techniques for plated desserts.
  • Glazing and torching for torts and tarts.
  • Lunch
  • Assembly begins
    • Explore how integrating new healthy desserts increase profits by transforming the best known classic Italian pastries and desserts into innovative showpieces.
  • Final analysis of the plated dessert, table torts and assigning specific decorations to specific plates based on costs, gustatory and textural balance, colors, season, geographic area, kitchen or laboratory limitations and emotion..

  • Pairing wines and liquors with patisserie. The sommelier chooses three wines to pair with three types of desserts.
  • End of lesson.
  • Dinner at a Classic Hearth Oven Pizzeria

Pizzerias are distinguished in several ways throughout Italy. Tonight we visit a hearth pizzeria. Pizza from a wood burning oven is a delicacy enjoyed in a unique festive atmosphere, especially amongst colleagues.

  • Return and overnight at the hotel.


  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Final assembley of mini torts, semifreddos and plated desserts.
  • Classic Italian Pastry by region
    • Castagnaccio
    • Pinolini
    • Chiacchiere
    • Sbrisolona

These chiacchiere have origins dating back to ancient Rome

  • Lunch
  • Classic Italian Pastry by region continues
    • Baba
    • Cantucci
    • Amaretti
    • Cannoli

PLEASE don’t ever refer to Cannoli as Italian. You’ll break grandmother’s hearts all over Sicily!

  • Afternoon visits to artisan gelato shops

As not all gelato is the same, neither are all gelato shops. Production volume, laboratory dimensions, display space and style, the diversity of audiences and, of course, flavor help make up distinctly different units even in the same town or city.

By visiting several different locations prior to the laboratory phase of the program, participants will gain a keen idea of how and where she/he wishes to place her/his own activity with regards to these considerations as well as an inside look at how other established professionals have chosen their equipment and designed their shops.

Several special gelato tastings will enable participants to distinguish flavors, textures and balance on the palate at the onset of this program and work toward defining personal tastes, and those of potential patrons, which will be all important in the coming days.

  • Return to hotel.
  • Dinner at ICI
  • Overnight at the hotel
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Gelato Yesterday and Today
    • Few food products, especially confectionery, have existed with so little change for so much time. This brief background provides a panorama on why gelato remains Italy’s favorite dessert while giving an insight to the ‘gelato culture’ that continues grow and which has contributed to annual sales that even surpass pizza!
  • Pros and cons for the production, display, sale and distribution of the five main types of gelato.
    • Cream Based
    • Egg Based
    • Fruit and Cream Based
    • Sorbets
    • Special Flavors

The best way to learn flavour is by taste..

  • An examination of the principle raw ingredients used for bases and selecting the best products.
    • Sugars
    • Milks, Creams &
    • Eggs
    • Fats
    • Coloring
    • Stabilizers
  • Chemistry review: the physics of gelato.

Understanding how each ingredient acts and reacts with other elements inside gelato enables participants to create master gelato recipes. Gelato is just as much about texture and tactility as about flavor. These recipes will serve as a springboard to easily create unlimited flavors and textures without having to start from the beginning every time.

  • Balancing
    • Structure is what makes gelato so uniquely appealing. Balancing is the technique which, once mastered, will deliver perfect gelato every time and everywhere.
    • Based on the chemistry review of the previous day, the techniques are applied for equilibrating liquids and solids for cream, egg, syrup and fruit based artisan gelato offering a clear understanding of the production process and its component recipes as well the nutritional and pricing information for an array of final products.
  • Ready made mixes and additives: pros and cons.

This is an artisan gelato program designed to enable participants to produce consistent natural gelato even on an industrial scale. It is imperative, therefore, that there is also a keen knowledge of the scores of ready made mixes available on the market.

Understanding these products let artisans mirror many of the principles for which mixes are so popular especially concerning their role in effortless production and unchanging, albeit unnatural, results. Stabilizers and additives are also addressed.

  • Lunch
  • Machines and Equipment
    • Containers, Mixers,
    • Small Tools and Appliances
    • Pasteurizes
    • Batch Freezers
    • Storage Freezers and Flash-Freezers
    • Display Cases
    • Presentation and Serving Items
    • Storage and Transport Equipment

Once we’ve perfected our gelato making skills, many machines will render perfect gelato.

  • Safety and Hygiene
    • Gelato production is comprised of several steps all of which include highly perishable products.
    • Proven work habits are introduced that go far beyond standard international HAACP regulations ensuring a sanitary production line and a better product. This standard method can be applied to both single operations as well as multiunit establishments.
    • Overview of dangerous microorganisms and how to prevent development through proper handling and sanitation along the production process.
      Discussion of the previous day’s tastings.
  • End of lesson.
  • Dinner at the hotel
  • Overnight at the hotel
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Recipe development and production of artisan gelato – Part I
    • Cream Based
    • Egg Based
      • Participants produce the main types of gelato bases alongside the master. Upon completion of production, each gelato is analyzed for structure, texture and aesthetics.
      • A tasting follows to enhance gustatory perception, critical for gelato makers who need to produce several different flavors that are all unique.
  • Recipe development and production of artisan gelato – Part II
    • Fruit and Cream Based
      • The production complexity of fruit based gelato centers on the mechanics of ingredients which often contain high acidity versus creams whose fats, essential for equilibrium, are weakened. Perfecting this balance is what separates good gelato from great gelato.
    • Sorbets
      • Several sorbets are produced using ingredients that are interchangeable in all parts of the world.
  • Tasting and gustatory analysis follow each production.
  • Lunch
  • A Flavor for Every Taste: Personalizing Flavors
    • Gelato Recipe Development

Recipe development includes ‘balancing’ each assembly which ensures that the final product will be delicious and also retain perfect texture.

Every country has particular tastes that become even more individualized in different towns and cities within the same country. As is the case within cuisine and pastry, gelato masters must understand how to create a harmony of different flavors while always incorporating the absolute best ingredients available in any given place.

This segment combines theory with hands-on application while participants work with the master producing new, personal flavors, and mastering the technique of new recipe development.

  • Personal Production
    • Choosing the types of gelato
    • Selection of ingredients and balancing the choices
    • Incorporating the ingredients into master recipes
    • Choosing the production process
    • Making the gelato
    • Tasting and critique
      • All participants will produce product alongside the master. At the end of production, each finished product is tasted and critiqued by the master and other participants.
      • With the aid of the ICI Recipes & Techniques’ manual issued to every participant, a multi-flavor production system is developed. Flexible parameters enable gelato makers to design ad hoc or custom production systems based on individual needs including regional availability of raw materials, market demand, staff challenges, cost factors and laboratory and display space.
  • End of lesson
  • Dinner at ICI
  • Overnight at the hotel

Artisan Italian Gelato production..

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Early morning visit to a traditional Mercatino for tastings and shopping.

A typical Italian open air market offers culinarians an insight to the country’s most traditional aspects as well as an opportunity to browse sweets, cheeses, wines and cured meats that are still produced by artisans.

Participants compare and taste the difference between these products to those of the industrial sector.

Mercatino is a culinarian’s bliss!

  • Return to ICI
  • Personal production: Troubleshooting
    • All products made during the last day are analyzed and tasted for eventual alterations including discoloration, separation, running, condensation and crystallization. Defects are addressed and master recipes are adjusted accordingly.
  • Service
    • The proper methods of serving gelato considers pricing, menu structure, flavor combinations and quantity. As in any other type of eatery, serviceware for both in-house and take out gelato is examined.

Impeccable gelato service..

  • Lunch
  • Designing an artisan Gelato Shop
    • Layout and Equipment
      • Known in Italy as ‘la vetrina’, selecting and arranging the display case is considered as important as the quality of gelato it holds. An audio visual tour of the best gelato shops in the country is presented in an interactively giving participants a broad range of concrete ideas for their respective gelato operations.
  • Gelato Menus
    • Menus from several of Italy’s most famous gelato shops are presented for consideration with an attachment of production costs for each item and the formulas necessary to apply them in any country.

One of the things that people love about Italy is because they feel like they’ve gone back in time. Your gelato will make them feel this too..

  • Food Cost
  • End of Lesson
  • Pastry Buffets
  • Farewell dinner and awarding of certificates.
  • Overnight at the hotel

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer to Lamezia Terme airport
  • Arrivederci!!!


PRICE: €2595 per person


  • Private transfer from Lamezia Terme International Airport to the hotel.
  • Theoretical and practical lessons & all related costs at the Italian Culinary Institute and onsite locations. (50+ hrs. Full Immersion over 1 week)
  • ICI Recipe & Techniques Manual
  • Accommodations at the ICI Hotel. (**Dbl. Occ.) 7 Nts.
  • Full use of Hotel facilities.
  • Complete board: All meals with wines included at the Hotel, local restaurants and special destinations during excursions.
  • Special excursions (including transfers):
    • Visit and Tasting in at Artisan Gelato Shops
    • Dinner at a Hearth Oven Pizzeria
    • Visit to Mercatino
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Tax and gratuities
  • All meals include wines, bottled water, tax and gratuities.

*Price does not include airfare or other travel during free time.
**Price based on double occupancy. Single supplement is €225 pp


  • March 2 – 9, 2024 FULL
  • March 1 – 8, 2025
  • Custom dates available with special appointment. Inquire here

Enroll and change dates free of charge
The Italian Culinary Institute offers participants the flexibility to change course dates and even switch courses at anytime and for any reason at no cost.