Angie Gillett can remember the exact day she tried gelato for the first time – Valentine’s Day in 2008.
And she wasn’t just hooked on the smooth, Italian-rooted dessert relative of ice cream after she had a scoop at the former Blue Springs coffee shop Steamin’ Bean.
“I knew that day I wanted to learn to make it,” said Gillett, who asked Steamin’ Bean owner Garin Bledsoe to teach her. “He said if I could find a location, he would teach me.”
Gillett, who had a background as a cake decorator, indeed learned, and after a few years of making and selling her gelato out of other locations, she opened her own shop in May – Dellario Gelato on Sterling Avenue in Sugar Creek.
However, the name will soon change to DellaRose Gelato, as Bledsoe is withdrawing as a business partner and Dellario had been what he called the gelato in tribute to his grandfather, Gillett said.
What certainly won’t change is Gillett’s whimsical variety of gelato creations.
Gelato incorporates flavors in similar fashion to ice cream and is produced in a similar machine, but it’s made with milk instead of cream and has a far less airy content after being whipped, making it more dense and filling.
“It won’t freeze your taste buds like ice cream can,” Gillett says – that is, unless you eat it “very, very, very quickly.”
Every day she offers some sort of chocolate and a vanilla – “I can’t guarantee what color the vanilla will be,” she says with a smile – and she rotates the rest based on some previously successful combinations or perhaps a creation she conjured up just that morning.
One visit this week revealed pistachio mascarpone, sea salt caramel, green apple and bottom of the barrel berry (4 kinds of berries). Peeps, peach habanero, watermelon, pineapple upside-down cake and no-bake cookie have also been customer options.
Gillett said she’s looking forward to coming up with some creations that incorporate holiday season flavors.
“She’s like a mad scientist,” said Gillett’s longtime friend and now colleague Pam Chisam. “What kind of crazy experimentation will she come up with next?”
Gillett started making her gelato out of the Ennovation Center in Independence, selling at events and to wholesale customers. Then she sold out of Inklings’ Books and Coffee Shoppe in Blue Springs. You can still buy it there, as well as at Sebella’s Fire in Lee’s Summit and on First Fridays in the West Bottoms in Kansas City. Another deal with a location in Liberty could also happen soon, she said.
Substitute the gelato for ice cream, and Gillett says she’s fulfilling a childhood dream. Even her first job had been at an ice cream spot at Worlds of Fun.
“My customers are my friends, not just here but in my restaurants (where her gelato is offered),” Gillett said. “It’s a fascination for them – ‘How’s this made?’
“Am I the best? Nope,” she said. “But I love making gelato, and I love coming up with new flavors. I love watching customers have gelato for the first time. It’s a treat.”