Although it’s not quite time to put away the winter coats, spring is just around the corner and it’s at this time that we look ahead and dream of summer. The smell of cut grass, the sound of a sizzling BBQ and the refreshing taste of deliciously creamy ice cream.
At The Temple Inn, we’re proud to offer the award-winning Mooka Gelato on our dessert menu. An independent, gelato and sorbet maker, who are based just 10 minutes away from us in Steep.
Established by Yifat Castle as a ‘one-women band’ six years ago, Mooka has since expanded and now supplies local cafes, pubs and many events including school fetes and festivals.
Using traditional methods, Mooka makes a large variety of flavoured gelato and sorbet, from classics including chocolate, salted caramel and vanilla, to the unique such as cherry bakewell, espresso and ginger beer flavours.
We recently visited their small site in Steep to meet owner and gelato expert Yifat, who showed us how they make their delicious flavours and all the high-tech machinery that is required to perfect the famous gelato texture. Yifat kindly answered some questions which we thought we would share with you…
Where did your passion for ice cream come from?
I had trained and worked as a pastry chef for several years before “devoting” myself completely to ice cream. I have made sorbet and ice cream using many different methods and for different operations, which gave me the opportunity to explore and fall in love with the making of it.
Where did the name Mooka come from?
I was looking for an Italian name that can be easily pronounced for my ice cream business and Mooka was just the ticket! Mooka means “cow” in Italian (although spelt differently).
How is gelato different from regular ice cream?
Gelato is the refined brother of ice cream. The base mix is lower in fat than commercial ice creams (a great reason to opt for gelato rather than ice cream!) and that means there is not as much fat to coat your tongue so your taste buds can pick up the flavours better.
Gelato also has very little air folded into it, which in this industry, we call ‘overrun’. Commercial ice creams have up to 200% air forced into the mix, which is a great thing for the producer (because air is free!) but really the consumer is getting a lot of air and not much product; not to mention the large quantities of stabilizers that are used to “hold” all this airy structure in place. Gelato feels richer in your mouth as it only has about 40% overrun that is folded in naturally.
Most importantly gelato has an artisanal element; part of the process, usually the flavouring, would be done by hand in small batches and where possible fresh to order. At Mooka, this is exactly what we do; we don’t stockpile to protect the quality ensuring our gelatos are always fresh for our customers.
Is there a specific technique/recipe you use to make your gelato?
Making gelato is really a balancing act between the fats, sugars and water from the milk. We take inspiration for new flavours from anything around us and have to re-balance the recipe with every introduction of a fruit, confectionary or spice – that’s the tricky part! It’s so rewarding when we discover a delicious new flavour combination.
Our base recipe is top secret though!
Out of all the flavours you’ve made over the years, what’s your personal favourite Yifat?
Surprisingly, despite my line of work, I don’t actually have much of a sweet tooth! I usually prefer a sorbet, in particular, our rhubarb sorbet. I do also like our amarena cherry flavoured gelato too.
All of us at The Temple love Mooka and their variety of yummy flavours. But don’t just take our word for it… Come and give them a try for yourself when you next visit us.