Iginio Ventura

Credits Brambilla-Serrani

Credits Brambilla-Serrani

Gelateria Pina Gel

corso Umberto I, 7
71010 Peschici (Foggia)
+39 338 407 0879

Born in Peschici near Foggia in 1980, Iginio Ventura is a goldsmith by profession and an ice cream producer by vocation: “When I was a child, I would ask people to call me Andrea, because nobody could pronounce Iginio and it was faster this way”. His name had a sweet destiny, what with the buckets of ice cream and carapine from Pinagel, something he would have not expected. “In my life there have always been great women, my grandmother Lucrezia, who spent 30 years making ice creams, my mother Pina who gave the name to the ice cream shop, and my neighbours and my nanny who looked after me during my childhood in the historic centre of Peschici”.

Born in the business, the young Iginio grew up and decided he wanted to be a goldsmith. Said and done: he left for Valenza Po, near Alessandria, the heart of the industry. In 2001 when the World Trade Center in New York was attacked, the echo of that event affected the world economy, and devastated the traditional goldsmith activity of Alessandria. Those were dark and uncertain months, spent wondering what to do.

One day his mother asked him: “Why don’t you take me to the sea?”. That’s when Pina asked her son to take the helm of the family ice cream shop. The following day, the decision was made, and he told both women: “If I must make ice cream, I’ll do it my way. Their smile was irresistible. And so it began”.

“The first times I made ice cream I didn’t realise I had absorbed the gestures of my grandmother just by watching her. My hands moved automatically”, he says and continues: “Not much has changed since I arrived, but many things have improved”. The recipe for the Crema degli angeli, the strong suit at Pinagel, is the same. A classic cream, slowly cooked, with the aroma of lemon and cinnamon. Only egg yolk, light and soft.

“My grandmother always said: wake up early, but not too early. Follow your road and do good things”, and Iginio followed her advice to the letter: every summer he fills his apecar with moving marvels. He sells gelato as if he were distributing verses in rhyme: if poetry doesn’t belong to those who write it, but to those who need it, the same goes of ice creams. And who doesn’t need a little sweetness?

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Sonia Gioia

A journalist by profession, curious by vocation, she applies her attitude to investigative reports and food features. She's author for Repubblica, Gambero Rosso, Dispensa​