About the writer
Sharon Hudgins is an award-winning writer with four books and more than 700 articles published worldwide. Her food and travel writing has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Saveur, Gastronomica, German Life, Russian Life, The World & I, Chile Pepper, Fiery Foods & Barbecue, major newspapers in the United States, and periodicals in Germany, Russia, and the Czech Republic. For several years she was the food columnist for The Stars and Stripes newspaper in Europe, and since 1997 has been the food columnist for German Life magazine in the United States. A former editor of Chile Pepper magazine, she has also worked as a cookbook editor, photographer, filmmaker, university professor, and lecturer on international tours offered by National Geographic Expeditions, Lindblad, Road Scholar, and Silversea Cruises.
Sharon Hudgins has lived in nine countries of Europe and Asia and traveled in 50 countries across the globe. Her European experience includes living in Germany for 15 years, as well as in several European capitals and small towns from northern Scotland to southern Spain to the Greek island of Crete. She is the author of an award-winning cookbook about the regional cuisines of Spain, and her personal memoir, The Other Side of Russia: A Slice of Life in Siberia and the Russian Far East, won two national awards for travel and food writing.
Spaghetti Ice Cream Anyone?
By Don Heimburger
Photos by the author
Next time you are in Mannheim, Germany, and you've got a little time to spare, or are in need of an ice cream refreshment, you might want to try the unusual eis cafe called Eis Fontanella. There's an interesting story behind it.
In 1906, the Gelateria Fontanella was founded near Venice by Michelangelo Fontanella. In 1931 Michelangelo's son, Mario, went to Germany to open an ice cream shop near Hannover; the shop moved to Mannheim two years later. Dario Fontanella, one of four siblings, learned about German thoroughness and combined that with Italian imagination, and then in 1970 joined the family business, taking it over in 1985.
In the course of his ice cream experiments, Dario wondered how ice cream shaped like spaghetti would sell? Apparently quite well, thank you, and it's been a staple of the four-store Mannheim ice cream chain ever since.
Dario tested many ways to make his spaghetti ice cream, and finally found the absolute, cleverest way: with a simple spaetzle machine. To obtain the real “pasta optics,” however, Dario says it requires a temperature-controlled creamy vanilla ice cream, which is pressed by a well-chilled spaetzle press.
Finding the right “tomato sauce” as a topping was a breeze: a sauce of pureed strawberries and grated chocolate that mimics saucy cheese is used. Voila! He had a tiger by the tail, and now crowds of customers fill his shop at O4, 5 (street location per Mannheim's sectional system) to see and taste this highly unusual and delicious treat. Dario's fame today— and his concoctions—have spread far and wide.
But you can also find many other treats at Eis Fontanella such as cakes, tarts, tiramisu sandwiches, espressos, coffees and latte macchiatos. Dario says he's constantly looking for new ice cream trends and flavors, and his business even supplies other restaurants and supermarkets with ice cream.
Spaghetti eis anyone?
Owner Dario Fontanella and a double-dip cone in earlier days.