Learn to make gelato on your Italian holiday

(NYTIMES) - What's more pleasurable on a vacation to Italy than enjoying a scoop or two of gelato?

There may only be one answer, and that's savouring the gelato you made yourself.

Luckily, travellers can now try their hand at the craft by taking one of the several gelato-making classes for amateurs offered throughout Italy.

These classes are usually between two and four hours long, held either at cooking schools or gelato shops and are a family-friendly activity. Here are five options:

1. IC Bellagio

In Turin, IC Bellagio offers a two-hour private class at a popular gelateria in the city centre. The head gelataio - the name for the person who makes the frozen treat - teaches the session in the shop's kitchen and begins with an explanation of how gelato differs from ice cream.

After tasting more than 20 kinds of gelato, including coffee and liquorice, guests use the shop's machine to make their favourite flavour. An English-speaking assistant is on hand to help with language translation. The fee is 580 euros (S$935), for two people. Reserve by e-mailing Mariaelisa@icbellagio.com

2. Mama Isa's Cooking School

In Padua, near Venice, Mama Isa, the owner of Mama Isa's Cooking School, offers a four-hour private gelato-making lesson at her house.

She teaches students her family's recipes, which favour seasonal varieties like peach in summer and pumpkin in winter. Lunch is included. From 130 euros a person. Reserve by e-mailing isacookinpadua@gmail.com

3. InRome Cooking

InRome Cooking, a cooking school in Rome in a 17th-century palazzo, runs small-group, two-hour gelato classes several times a week and offers private classes upon request.

Students practise making gelato with a professional machine, as well as by hand. The ingredients for the flavours are sourced from around Italy: pistachios from Sicily and dark chocolate from Perugia. Fees are 60 euros a person, 50 euros for children who are 15 or younger. Reserve by e-mailing inromecooking@gmail.com

4. Access Europe

Also in Rome, Access Europe offers a two-hour class at Giolitti, a gelato shop near the Pantheon that opened in 1900 and is famous for its long lines.

Students work with a gelataio to make their preferred flavours and then go behind the counter of the shop, where they can serve their gelato to waiting customers. A tasting of gelato follows. The fee is 700 euros, inclusive of car and driver. Reserve by calling 888-499-5513.

5. Florencetown

In Florence, Florencetown offers a two-hour private gelato class, where guests first visit four well-known gelaterias for tastings.

In a fifth gelateria, the gelato maker teaches them how to make a seasonal flavour - in the summer, it could be strawberry; in the fall, almond and yogurt. From 75 euros a person, with a four-person minimum. Reserve by e-mailing info@florencetown.com

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