Who doesn’t love an immigrant story…especially one where what’s
been brought from their native country is transplanted into the new country and winds up being more popular today
in the new country than in it’s country of origin. Americans are many times looked at as newbies in the cultural time-
lines of the world but what Americans have a knack for is holding onto those traditions that their ancestors brought
with them. I was once told by an Italian that much of what comprises the Italian-American cultural tradition is on
the downswing in Italy and in many cases, America just made what might have been a small regional tradition into
a big deal on this side of the Atlantic. One such tradition, a food tradition (of course it would be food I’m talking
about) is SPUMONI. Chances of finding Spumoni all over Italy today would be pretty rare. Why? It was never
something that was eaten/made up and down the boot. It most likely is from the city of Naples, or Napoletana, or
Neapolitan. Follow this evolution, Spumoni is a frozen dessert, cream with whipped cream added, sort of a
frozen mousse usually done in three flavors…a chocolate, a vanilla or pistachio, and a cherry..touched with the
flavorings you would find in an Italian Pastry shop..like candided fruits, cherries, pistachios, almonds, rum,,
cinnamon oil, the usual suspects. The layers are pressed into a mold and it’s frozen, served in slices or scoops.
Remember I said “Neapolitan? The Ice Cream flavor in the U.S. called Neapolitan which is a mix of vanilla,
chocolate and strawberry takes it’s idea from Spumoni, which comes from Naples. Interesting stuff. Here in
the U.S. Spumoni is generally found in the areas with higher Italian Populations. Of course, whenever I talk my
own childhood history, Staten Island comes into play. Nearly every spumoni I shoveled into my childhood face was
made at an Ice Cream factory in Staten Island called SEDUTTO’S ICE CREAM. An immigrant from the area
around Naples, Giuseppe (Joseph) Sedutto immigrated to NYC and worked as a pastry chef in NYC’s fancy hotels
of the day. Along with his brothers, he began the Sedutto Ice Cream Company in
Staten Island and grew it into a large operation that primarily served hotels, catering halls, and restaurants with
their Italian frozen desserts, like Spumoni, Tortoni, Bombes, plus Ice Cream Cakes, Ice Creams. Every meal
out or catered affair of my youth ended with a “log” of Spumoni or a paper cup of Tortoni. I’m going to guess
that the first spumoni that found it’s way passed my lips was Sedutto’s. Here’s a picture of an actual Sedutto’s
Spumoni from the 1973 Catalog.
Seriously, If you have a food memory, the Internet is loaded with proof that you really did remember something
correctly. There is it…my God did I love when that “log”, actually a slice of Spumoni was served at the end of the
meal. To this day I love Spumoni. Unfortunately the Staten Island connection with Spumoni is long gone, the
Sedutto family sold the business to big corporate America and then one day it was gone. The lead picture in this
post still has my hands sticky from eating it. August 22 is designated as National Spumoni Day, so, off to Ralph’s
Ices (another Staten Island institution who thankfully has a few locations now down here at the Jersey Shore) for
a celebration of Spumoni Day. That cup in the picture was damn delicious. Hold on while I take another lick. Ok,
back to blogging…If you are ever in Brooklyn, the iconic L & B Spumoni Gardens is a place to enjoy a great meal and
their signature Sicilian pizza, finishing the meal off with their Spumoni..http://www.spumonigardens.com/
Another Spumoni mecca in the United States is Angelo Brocato in New Orleans, on my bucket list…their slice of
Spumoni looks amazing How beautiful
I’ve never made Spumoni, and quite frankly, probably never will, this is one thing that i don’t mind buying out..but, in
True A FOOD OBSESSION style I will give you a recipe, courtesy of Lidia Bastianich, who else??
Check that out, make it if you care to, i’ve never used the recipe, so, if it doesn’t come out right, well, that’s my warning,
but Lidia, really…i don’t think you have to worry about using her recipes, I’m comfortable posting it to here for you.
As this August 21, 2014, National Spumoni Day comes to a close I’ll remember how excited as a kid I’d get when
we would drive along Richmond Terrace in Port Richmond and pass the Sedutto’s Factory…I knew there was
Spumoni behind those doors!
Another web find…a pic of Sedutto’s Factory in 1953. Make your delicious memories even more delicious by
creating or finding those foods that were part of your personal history. It’s why I blog, post, and share.