Italy's Brioche Con Gelato Takes Ice Cream Sandwiches To The Next Level

Breakfast sandwiches around the world are as unique as the food cultures they come from. In China, breakfast sandwiches are synonymous with jianbing — crepes made with black bean or mung bean batter, cooked up on a griddle before eggs, pickles, and crispy portions of wonton are added before it is folded up. On the other side of the world and in the United Kingdom, breakfast sandwiches are made up of Marmite and cheese; while here at home in the United States, we have fast food sandwiches as well as healthier fare made with eggs, bacon, and cheese. 

But if there is one breakfast sandwich we're betting children of all ages would be happy to start their day with, it would be Siciliy's very own brioche con gelato. As its name suggests, this frozen breakfast delight consists of an eggy brioche bun stuffed with scoops of traditional Italian gelato, and it goes down especially well on warm summer mornings, per Atlas Obscura. According to SBS, ice cream sandwiches for breakfast aren't just served in Sicily, they're also enjoyed in neighboring Calabria.

Sicily's ice cream sandwich is a breakfast item

Comparing a brioche con gelato to the chocolate biscuit-and-vanilla ice cream block that is the American ice cream sandwich may be comparing apples to oranges. While gelato is quite legitimately known as Italy's version of ice cream, it differs from ice cream because it has less fat, cream, and egg yolks. 

Gelato is denser because it is churned at a lower speed than American ice creams. It is also served at higher temperatures than ice cream, making it a softer, stretchier, and milkier filling for the brioche, rather than the solid brick of vanilla ice cream Americans are accustomed to.  

Serious Eats explains that it takes a special brioche to make a brioche con gelato. The bread is baked in the shape of a roll that looks and feels more like a burger bun, so it is able to hold its ice cream filling with little trouble. Some restaurants that serve this treat even have a special press that allows you to blitz the brioche for a few seconds with a bit of heat, so the bread is sealed, encasing the ice cream with warm bread, in all its frozen glory. 

Brioche con gelato is usually made with traditional flavors like stracciatella, hazelnut, and pistacho, per Atlas Obscura. The treat can also be taken to the next level when it is garnished with a thick Italian whipped cream called panna.