Interview of master gelato maker Elena of GE Latteria, Sirtori
One of the surprising silver linings in this recent lockdown has been our discovery of a world class ice cream shop, GE latteria, located in Sirtori a small village within walking distance of Poggio Verde. Conoscenti of the area have learned to adore Elena’s fabulous salted caramel ice cream. Fran interviewed her here to learn more.
Is it a gelateria? Or is it a cheese shop? Why not both?! That is the winning concept behind GE Latteria, a shop in Sirtori, run by Elena and Giulia, talented entrepreneurs from Brianza.
We asked Elena herself to tell us her unique story and the behind the scenes of this special ice-cream shop. “I always had in mind to open a place that focused on both selling cheese and dairy products, but also sweets and ice-cream. Then I realised that also vegan products were in demand”.
So she decided to take a course in ice-cream making from Luigi Graziosi, a real legend in the field of Italian gelato. He is one of the few visionaries to begin experimenting with plant-based milk. “It was a wonderful experience, learning how to make delicious gelato with soy, almond, and cashew milk.”
The shop opened in 2015, offering a variety of products that were still considered quite new and unusual for the Italian audience, such as vegan smoothies and dessert. Word of mouth spread quickly. People adored her high quality, delicious products and success came despite the small, low-key shop tucked away in a small town.
“I realised that it was not just a taste for something new. My shop also attracted a lot of people who are lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant who were struggling to find something not contaminated but also tasty”.
That is the reason why she invested in creating a safe and pleasant environment for all kinds of clients. “We are very careful with our gluten free products and avoid any contamination with wheat or other glutinous ingredients. And I know people appreciate it”.
Now, after 5 years, the shop is thriving. Her favourite clients are kids, and we can understand why! The joy in their eyes in front of the gelato pots is priceless. “We have a line of people waiting to try our gelato on the weekend. It’s so successful that I’m actually hoping to open a new shop soon”.
As Italy faced the pandemic in 2020, Elena had to find a way to keep the shop open. Fortunately as a cheese shop, they were one of the businesses allowed to stay open and this saved GE Latteria.
GE Latteria’s recommendations:
Since I was curious, I took the opportunity to ask Elena what would be a must-try from her gelateria. “When we announce a batch of our famous salted caramel gelato, it is sold out within minutes. We prepare from scratch, without any artificial flavoring. I guess this is why it has become so popular. Another must-try is our fiordilatte (cream flavour). It is the most basic preparation, the basis for many other flavors we make. For this reason, if an ice cream shop can do a good fiordilatte, you can be sure the other flavors will be excellent”.
“We do cakes for parties, pastries and gelato cakes. Also Cheesecakes! I am the ice-cream master, while my colleague Giulia is the pastry chef: honestly, we make a great team. We brainstorm together on all the new ideas. I’m usually the one with the crazy projects, but it’s she who actually makes them possible thanks to her technical skills”.