What do you get when you cross an engineer and a chemist who love ice cream?
Fantastic gelato, of course!
Perth’s Chicho Gelato came about through just such a collaboration when owners Chez and Carly De Bartolo discovered there is nothing more refreshing and delicious than these gourmet Italian delicacies.
After travelling the world, and learning the specialised art of gelato making, the couple realized it was something they could introduce to WA. A business opportunity beckoned.
“It all started in London,” recalls Chez. “We spent time there and began to discover that there was an amazing selection of gelato in the UK.
“We had never seen, or tasted, anything like it in Perth and wanted to know more about what is was, how it was made, and why it tasted so good.”
They even decided to go back to ‘university’ to learn to churn and perfect the chilly treat.
“Italy is the birthplace of gelato and we took time out to visit the Gelato University there. We studied hard and learnt the tradition of making authentic gelato and sorbet from masters of the art.
“Gelato making is a technical process, which involves a range of critical steps to ensure quality is maintained.”
The Gelato University is a school in Anzola dell’Emilia, near Bologna, Italy.
It was set up by ice cream machine maker Carpigiani in 2003, with the aim of teaching students from around the world how to make gelato ice cream and sorbets.
Carpigiani Gelato University attracts thousands of people annually from diverse countries interested in perfecting their gelato skills.
Chez and Carly also travelled to the US and through South America sampling the cuisine, local products and collecting recipes and ideas for gelato mixes.
“We were having great fun but also doing some serious market research for the plan we had, which was to start our own gelato business in Perth,” says Chez.
They did just that in 2014, and haven’t looked back.
“We take no shortcuts in our processes to guarantee Chicho is on par with the streets of Rome,” says Chez.
“We wanted to do things right, so we even had our gelato cart imported from Italy. It was an expensive investment but really makes a difference and we’ve become very recognizable around town.”
The distinctive Chicho Gelato carts are now seen at Perth markets, events, festivals, weddings and other functions. They now have two carts doing the rounds for WA’s gelato lovers.
A Store in Store
While they have been mainly mobile since launching, the business has proved such a success that they now have plans to open a Perth store.
“I think the mobile model is a great way to test the business as a low risk model, but I think we would also benefit from having a place people can go to purchase the products,” he said. “We have a location in mind, but will announce this when we have it all locked away.”
Where does the name come from?
“Chicho Gelato comes from the Italian word ‘Ciccio’ which is what you call cheeky children whilst giving a twist of the cheek,” says Chez.
The gelato really is a cut above, and Chez says it all comes down to fresh ingredients, creativity and experimentation.
“We pride ourselves on using all natural ingredients, sourced locally,” he says.
“All our gelato and sorbet is made in small batches and we steer away from using any artificial flavours and colours.
“Our point of difference is creating an Italian icon to perfection with new wave flavours to excite the Australian palate.”
Perhaps it’s their engineering and chemistry background, but Chez and Carly are always testing new combinations to achieve completely new and unique flavours. Their slogan is Chicho Gelato – For the Curious Palate.
“We try to invent a few flavours each week to keep our customers happy. People expect to sample new combinations when they come back.
“We’ve experimented with Kaffir lime and coconut, lemongrass and ginger, rockmelon sorbet with prosciutto flakes and a cactus fruit sorbet.
“One of our favourites is the lemon with basil and cactus fruit sorbet.
“But probably our best seller has been is the chocolate and salted caramel. It’s quite decadent, and a close second would be the banoffee pie gelato.”
Chicho Gelato will be at this year’s Perth Good Food and Wine Show at the Convention and Exhibition Centre 10 – 12 July.
Chez says show-goers can expect some amazing new gelato inventions to debut at the show, including:
Cacao Stout Gelato (a collaboration with Eagle Bay Brewery and Bahen & Co Chocolate); Mojito – Lime and Mint sorbet; Pink Grapefruit and Campari Sorbet; Banana Split – Banana Gelato with Chocolate Swirl and Roasted Peanut Caramel; Goats Cheese with Rosemary + Amarena Cherry Swirl; and the Chicho Signature Flavour – Chocolate Gelato with Peanut Salted Caramel Swirl.
Break out the spoons – it’s going to be a yummy ride!
For more information about Chicho Gelato, go to http://chichogelato.com
Find more Perth Good Food and Wine Show information and ticket booking details at www.goodfoodshow.com.au