Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our Story

It’s Gelato Time!

This was the comment an excited American father shouted as he and his two young kids exited the Vatican in Rome. For a moment, I felt the father was more excited about enjoying the exceptional Italian desert than the kids, but then the kids started cheering and chanting “It’s Gelato Time”. Fortunately, my family was able to experience this event firsthand since we were leaving the Vatican walking behind the chanting family. My husband, my son and I looked at each other and started to laugh with joy. My 2 year-old daughter had no idea why we were laughing, but that did not stop her from laughing during this festive moment. This was the moment I needed to finalize my decision to start Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates.

A beautiful view from the Vatican

Before we visited Rome, I was debating starting a gelato and chocolate business. Unfortunately, starting my own business was not part of my immediate plans. I was working as an US expat in London for a successful company. I had the best boss and my family was enjoying living abroad. One day while working in Folkestone, England, I was invited to go to lunch. After lunch, we stopped at a local gelato shop. I had no idea what gelato was, but it looked like traditional ice cream so I ordered two flavors. The moment I tasted the gelato, I knew traditional ice cream was a thing of the past. The gelato was full of flavor. To add to my enjoyment, I learned the addictive treat was low fat. I thought to my self, this desert is an oxymoron….intense flavor, but low fat. This moment was the birth of Dreamy Gelato.

My favorite gelateria in Folkestone, England

The addition of chocolates to the business model came when I visited Tenterten, England. There was a quaint chocolate shop located on the High Street. The chocolates there were handmade with exceptional ingredients. When I tasted the truffles, I wondered what I had been eating for so many years in boxes labeled “chocolate truffles”. To my excitement, the owner agreed to train me to make his chocolates. This was the birth of Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates. However, I did not plan for it to become an immediate reality until I heard the chanting that hot day in Rome.
To ensure we made the best gelato and chocolate, we traveled across Europe to conduct research. We traveled from Brussels to Ireland, Italy to Germany, and Amsterdam to France. We trained in Italy to make gelato and England to make chocolates.

Gelato training in Southern Italy

As part of our procurement, we import some of our ingredients like Madagascan vanilla beans, Sicilian pistachios, French purees and Swiss chocolate. However, we source our milk and other produce from local farmers. My visit to Ireland inspired our hot chocolates which is made with molten chocolate and homemade whipped cream. All of our products are handmade on site daily.

After three months open, I continue to enjoy hearing patrons young and old chanting “It’s Gelato Time” as they enter my shop.

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