Cookies ‘n’ Cream Milano. Ilaria’s dream come true
At the age of 18, she made her first television appearance as an amateur pastry chef, one of the youngest competitors ever to conquer the Bake Off podium, a talent set among ovens, pies and macarons. Today Ilaria Gerosa is little more than twenty years old, and has made her passion her work. She designed her own laboratory, like the one of Pasticceria Martesana, in Milan, which provided her with the basics, and confidence to make it on her own, now that she is 22 years old, with a business of her own, in partnership with her boyfriend, Mattia Gravili. They are the couple behind the newly inaugurated Cookies ‘n’ Cream, a venue open in early June in the Sarpi area, not far from Arco della Pace.
American style cookies and gelato in Milan
A very small shop, about 40 square meters mostly occupied by the laboratory, in which customers never set foot: “We liked the idea of the take out window, the sales window that is our only point of contact with the public, on the model of a very widespread format in America, even if the closest example is found a few minutes from here, at ravioleria Sarpi,” says Ilaria. The decision undoubtedly was influenced by the intention to test ourselves in a new challenge that was not too expensive from an economic and management point of view: the two of them will cover production and sales, and initially they will continue like this, holding continuous business hours ranging from noon to 10 PM (and until midnight on Friday and Saturday). But above all the idea is importing a take-out pastry concept borrowed overseas, where Ilaria and Mattia went scouting for a business still not too exploited in Italy, despite its simplicity, because they are not relevant to our pastry tradition: “We wanted to focus on the single product, American-style cookies seemed like the right choice”.
The actual cookies of Cookies ‘n’ Cream. The recipe
So, after a trip to America in search of inspiration, Ilaria and Mattia returned to Milan, ready to personalize their idea: “We needed a recipe that could meet the most refined Italian palate. Less sugar, a bit less fat, smaller sizes…”. But without distorting the idea of the classic cookie famous above all its chocolate chip variant, among America’s most iconic comfort food. The added twist, given the summer launch came with the addition of gelato: “We found the project that inspired us the most in Los Angeles, called Diddy Riese. It’s a bigger place than ours, with a space available to customers, but the offer is just the same: take-out cookies, sold by unit or in a box, and ice cream sandwiches, a ball enclosed between two cookies and served in a portable cup”. At number 3 in Piazza Morselli, a few weeks ago, the window of Cookies ‘n’ Cream opened offering just that: the display of american cookies, sold for 1.50 euro a piece, and gelato sandwiches in different combinations sold for 4.50 euros. The basic dough of the cookie is always the same, “only the creamed melted butter, thus more compact changes. This allows me to obtain very different results with the ingredients I choose each time to characterize the cookie”. In the window customers can choose between 7-8 different “flavors”, but the rotation already includes 15 recipes that will change often, according to product seasonality.
Cookies and cookie sandwiches
Except for some must-haves, such as the chocolate chip cookie––with bigger chunks than the classic chips––also red velvet, or peanut butter. But there is also a cacao and chili pepper cookie, or one with lemon and poppy seeds. Also a few including the more frivolous image of American cookies, such as the Rainbow cookie, as a tribute to Pride month, flavoured with vanilla, which also reveals a laudable intent: “We will propose it throughout the month of June, and part of the proceeds will finance Italy’s Arcigay association”. Cookies are also available in boxes of 4, 8, 12 or 24 pieces, with a discount on quantity.
Gelato sandwiches for summer, on the other hand––already making proselytes in Milanese evenings––starts from a ready-to-use fior di latte milk base, flavoured by Ilaria, and again winking at the American tradition, with flavours like peanut butter and jelly, or strawberry cheesecake. What if the idea takes off? “Our dream is to open other stores in the city and beyond. But always with the take-out window formula, and focusing on single portions”.
Cookies ‘n’ Cream – Milan – piazza Morselli, 3 – facebook.com/cookiesncreamilano/