Spumoni is a special Italian dessert made of layers of ice cream, whipped cream, candied fruit, and nuts. In Italy, it's spelled spumone, but pronounced exactly as it is pronounced in English, with an accent on the last vowel. Each layer of the dessert contains different flavors and ingredients. In traditional dessert kitchens, it's often made of three layers of flavor: chocolate, pistachio, and cherry.
Each layer of spumoni ice cream includes much more than flavored ice cream. The chocolate layer, for example, may include chocolate shavings or chunks. In fact, this layer may have crushed hazelnuts inside as well, which not only adds a lovely flavor to the chocolate, but it also complements the pistachio layer. That layer, of course, almost always includes crushed pistachio nuts. The fruit layer is usually made with candied fruit. Sometimes, spumoni is made with strawberry or even raspberry flavored ice cream, but cherry is the most traditional fruit component.
The layers are designed to offer a lovely combination of flavors. Connoisseurs often have special ways that they like to enjoy the dessert, such as enjoying each layer at a time or making sure to get a bit of each in every bite.
Spumoni ice cream, much like many other famous and beloved foods, has yielded an entire breed of dishes. There are a number of layered ice cream treats that were probably inspired by it. Some people believe that the banana split may be related to it. After all, two of the most common ice cream flavors in banana splits are strawberry and chocolate. Furthermore, splits are often topped with nuts and whipped cream.
Neapolitan ice cream appears to be a direct descendant of spumoni, which was originally created in Naples, Italy. This flavor is simply layers of chocolate, berry, and vanilla ice cream, packaged and served with no barrier between the flavors. Much like spumoni fans, Neapolitan ice cream lovers each have their own way of enjoying the dessert.
Spumoni ice cream is still enjoyed in Italy today, and Italian immigrants to the United States and Argentina have popularized the dessert there as well. It can be found year round in the United States, but it is prized by some Americans as a winter dessert. The dessert is often paired with butter cookies after holiday meals.