Nonna Papera: such delicious ice creams

In Cantù, the beautiful story of Alessandra and Luca, joined by their love for cones, cups and natural flavours like lime, pink pepper and...

Alessandra Mauri and Luca Butti in their ice cr

Alessandra Mauri and Luca Butti in their ice cream shop in Cantù, in the province of Como. They bought it in February 2010. It was already called Nonna Papera [Grandma Duck] a name too nice to change it. Contrary to the Walt Disney character, their Nonna Papera makes ice creams, not apple pie

What a nice surprise on the 22nd of June at Riva1920 in Cantù, when Maurizio Riva opened Museo del Legno for a charity dinner to support Agorà 97, a cooperative with a big heart. Putting aside the dinner organised some time ago thanks to chefs Stefano FagioliRoberto MagnaniPaco MagriGiancarlo MorelliDavide OldaniAndrea Ribaldone and Andrea Besuschio, what you noticed when welcomed was the ice cream display among the many lovely savoury items.

And even though cones and cups were planned for the end, after the strawberry dessert by Besuschio, when something is really good you upturn every order and so I started the evening in the way I would later end it: with gelato from Nonna Papera, the ice cream shop of Alessandra Mauri and her husband Luca Butti in Cantù, in Via Borgognone 38, tel. +39.031.4136699.

Some twenty days ago Alessandra presented Lime, ping pepper and peppermint; Peach and amaretto; Granny smith apple and bourbon vanilla from Madagascar; Maracuja, mint and bergamot. A small selection, given the circumstances, four out of the usual 36 flavours they serve in the shop.

These two have a nice story. He studied catering school in Chiavenna, in the province of Sondrio, and then trained in very local kitchens: Griso in Melgrate, close to Lecco, is the most famous. Her studies were different, with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising from IULM in Milan, while she worked in an ice cream shop in Lurago d’Erba. When they were sure they’d share their future, they took over Nonna Papera. This was in February 2010, and it was a gamble. Three years later, they got married. The road was even clearer. «We immediately decided to avoid any semi-finished product. Our flavours must start from scratch, otherwise our work is meaningless. In this place we’ve put all of ourselves, our commitment, love, passion. It has brought us to tears but it also made us laugh, always strengthening our relationship».

Their secret, which wouldn’t be such a secret if most people worked seriously, is that they’re never satisfied. Apart from looking for excellent products and following the seasons, they keep updated, attend courses, they’re curious. Many pay attention to seasons, unfortunately too many just in theory and not in practice. Real shopping that is linked to the moment and not with mediocre products, bought at the right moment and then passed off as something sublime.

Alessandra and Luca search for a balance between tradition and innovation. For instance, he loves Maracuja, mint and bergamot, and in terms of classics, chocolate, especially from Modica. She goes from Lime, pink pepper and peppermint or a dark chocolate with GPI Langhe hazelnuts. Then there’s the fruit, which comes from organic farm Sottosopra in Figino Serenza (Como), tel. +39.348.6934424, where the owners cultivate just for them raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, currants and pumpkins, plus they supply some excellent acacia honey. And then in a world that looks at Italian excellences, there’s pistachio which of course comes from Bronte, almonds from Avola, liquorice from Rossano Calabro, mint from Pancalieri and black cherries from Cantiano. Lots of Sicily as well as Calabria, Piedmont and Marche.

In the words on their website, they work «everyday inspired by you [the clients] so as to nourish you, pamper you, surprise you. This is only the beginning of a very long story of love and passion».

Passione Gelato

Storie dal mondo del gelato di qualità

Paolo Marchi


Paolo Marchi

born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose.
blog www.paolomarchi.it
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