We’re taking a sweet approach to this week’s Vendor Feature #Throwback! Revisit our tour with The Gelato Fiasco at their original location in Brunswick, ME. Today, they have expanded to a shop in the Old Port in Portland and continue to serve delicious treats at weddings across the state.

Brunswick store<br><a href=http://www.gelatofiasco.com target=_blank>The Gelato Fiasco</a>

L&L: Tell us a little about you and the history of The Gelato Fiasco.

GELATO: Our founders, Joshua Davis and Bruno Tropeano, graduated from Bentley University in 2005 and founded The Gelato Fiasco in 2007. Bruno’s family took frequent visits home to Italy growing up, and Josh had also traveled there. They had tried gelato in several U.S. cities and never found it to be as flavorful and enjoyable as the desserts they ate in Italy. They decided to open their own gelato store in Brunswick. It wasn’t easy – they applied for a business loan from more than two dozen banks before finally receiving one backed by the Small Business Administration. But they hoped that The Gelato Fiasco would be successful by using the best practices from Italian gelato creation and adding a unique twist with Maine ingredients and a sophisticated store atmosphere.

Fast forward to 2011, and the Flagship Store in Brunswick is a year-round destination for tourists and local residents alike. Our store features a rotating selection of 30 flavors from a master list of more than 800, and each flavor is made fresh in small batches daily. Our most popular flavors are also available at more than 140 grocery stores, restaurants, and cafes in New England.

A few years ago, we created The Gelato Fiasco Mobile Gelateria so that we could bring our store out into the world at community events. Engaged couples started to ask us whether the gelateria could appear at their wedding receptions, and of course, we were ecstatic that folks would want to serve our desserts on such a special day. Some couples choose to serve gelato instead of cake, or serve it alongside a very small cake.

Brunswick store<br><a href=http://www.gelatofiasco.com target=_blank>The Gelato Fiasco</a>

L&L: What ingredients are needed to make gelato, and where do your ingredients come from?

GELATO: We make our gelato base with milk from Maine farms, natural cane sugar, a touch of cream, and emulsifiers. We then add the real ingredients that create each flavor. For instance, we scrape vanilla beans from Madagascar to make Vanilla Bean Gelato; pull shots from our espresso machine to create Espresso Fiasco Gelato; melt semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate to form the chocolate slivers in Stracciatella Gelato; and pour in Wild Turkey Bourbon to give Bourbon Vanilla Gelato a special kick.

When we create our dairy-free sorbetto flavors, we use water, cane sugar, and emulsifiers. We then add real fruits or cocoa. Whenever possible, we use local fruits. In August, we used 400 pounds of fresh blueberries each week from family-run blueberry fields Down East.

Brunswick store<br><a href=http://www.gelatofiasco.com target=_blank>The Gelato Fiasco</a>

L&L: Where do you get inspiration for the flavors you create?

GELATO: We’ve created more than 800 different flavors over the past four years. Our kitchen team looks at what’s available for seasonal produce and what ingredients could create combinations that excite customers. We’re creating lots of apple and pumpkin flavors right now – today we’re scooping Caramel Apple Gelato and Apple Spice Sorbetto.

Since everything is made in small batches, we’re not afraid to experiment.

Brunswick store<br><a href=http://www.gelatofiasco.com target=_blank>The Gelato Fiasco</a>

L&L: What are your personal flavor favorites? Most popular?

GELATO: Our team’s top flavors run the range from Irish Chocolate Gelato to Grapefruit Sorbetto. Josh’s favorite is Molasses Peppermint Gelato, which he tried long ago in Italy but couldn’t find in the United States – so he decided to make it himself. Bruno’s favorite is Special Hazelnut Gelato served half-and-half with a chocolate flavor, which creates a Nutella-like gelato. (By the way, one of the most frequently-asked questions we receive is, “What’s special about the Special Hazelnut Gelato?” The answer: The hazelnuts come from Italy.)

One always-popular flavor is Dark Chocolate Noir Sorbetto, which we believe is the strongest chocolate dessert that most people will ever try. And it happens to be dairy-free, so it’s a great choice for people who are lactose intolerant. People who haven’t had a chocolate dessert in years because of dietary restrictions are usually ecstatic to discover it. Since it’s so strong, it goes really well with fruit-based sorbetto flavors.

Toasted Coconut Gelato and Strawberry Balsamic Sorbetto are also very popular.

Making gelato<br><a href=http://www.gelatofiasco.com target=_blank>The Gelato Fiasco</a>

L&L: How does your company differ from other gelato or ice cream businesses around?

GELATO: We’re focused on our own store and don’t know much about how other gelato or ice cream businesses work. But customers tell us that there are two things they particularly like about The Gelato Fiasco. First, the quality of the gelato, which is achieved by our ingredient choices and the authentic “hot process” that we use to make gelato (where the base ingredients are cooked before freezing). Second, they appreciate the experience that they have at the store – sampling lots of flavors with friendly staff serving as guides, choosing several flavors in any size dish, giggling at our (usually) funny sense of humor, and generally having fun eating gelato.

Mobile gelato at a wedding<br><a href="http://www.emilieinc.com" mce_href="http://www.emilieinc.com" target="_blank">emilie inc. photography</a>

L&L: Can you tell us more about the Gelato Fiasco Mobile Gelateria and what sort of catering you do?

When folks hire us for wedding or company event, we bring our refrigerated cart, several flavors of gelato and sorbetto, little red spoons, and all the other equipment needed. Our gelato ambassadors, Steve and Alisa, provide professional scooping service and take care of everything.

Prior to a wedding, Steve and Alisa invite the couple to the Flagship Store for a tasting session. Couples can choose or create flavors that they feel best fit their relationship or traditions. Choices also include wedding favorites like Wedding Cake Batter Gelato and Champagne Sorbetto. Couples usually serve six or seven flavors.

For smaller ceremonies, we can also work with couples to create other packages.

Making gelato<br><a href=http://www.gelatofiasco.com target=_blank>The Gelato Fiasco</a>

L&L: How far are you willing to travel for an event?

GELATO: We’ll travel just about anywhere. We keep a supply of dry ice on hand to make sure that the gelato stays frozen wherever we go.




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