|Locally Sourced Gelato|
|Features - Chefs and Restaurants|
|Written by Michelle Lahey|
This time of year, nothing beats a spoonful (or, bowlful) of cold and creamy gelato. But here in New England, it can be hard to find a gelato that’s made with ingredients produced locally. Thankfully, Pazzo Gelato Café, which has recently opened in North Andover, is changing that – just in time for summer.
Pazzo offers up to 20 gelato flavors each day. The flavors change regularly, but expect innovative creations such as Pistachio, Peanut Brittle, and Pineapple Mango Sorbetto.
To help fulfill our gelato cravings, we had a chat with Pazzo’s owner, Jim Demotses, to get the lowdown on his product, and why he feels it’s important to work with local farmers.
Why did you choose North Andover for Pazzo's location?
My wife and I live in North Andover and so it was very appealing to be part of the community in a new way as a business owner. I also saw an opportunity to fill a niche with quality-driven, hand-crafted, artisan frozen dessert options in a warm, inviting atmosphere.
Why focus on gelato?
I was actually drawn to the art of crafting gelato almost by accident when my wife bought me a small gelato cookbook for Christmas. The whole Italian culture around gelato using a combination of high quality ingredients made in small batches really struck a chord with me and I began to do intensive research on gelato. That interest led me to attend the Gelato and Pastry Institute of America in Long Island and in the first two hours I was there I knew gelato was my future. Knowing I needed further instruction, I twice attended week-long intensive seminars with Italian gelato experts at Carpigiani Frozen Dessert University in Winston-Salem, NC.
The great thing about gelato and sorbetto is the possibilities for flavor combinations are really endless….Really, your own imagination is the only limit. For example, this morning two of my staff were sampling different tea samples that led them to ask if I could make a raspberry green tea gelato. We went into the kitchen and in a half an hour we had a new flavor in the case.
Why do you think it's important to utilize local products and support local farmers and organizations?
Community is very important to me, as is offering fresh, high quality ingredients. I feel that using local farmers and local products combine those two things. We have plans to offer “native” flavors this summer, such as strawberry and blueberry (and we hope to have a Pazzo group head out a few times over the summer to pick those berries ourselves!), and seasonal flavorings like apple cider and pumpkin. I’m working with a food purveyor that is as dedicated to supporting local farms as I am, and together we’re excited to tap into all the abundance that New England has to offer. Obviously, there will be times when we can’t take advantage of what is in-season in our own backyard, but we are committed to supporting our local farms as much as possible. And all of our dairy products are produced a few towns away at Shaw Farm, so our milk and cream is always fresh.
We’re also giving back to the farms in our own way by working with Black Earth Hauler, a company out of Gloucester. [Black Earth Haulers] takes food waste from restaurants and brings it to Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, where it is turned into compost that farmers can use to help with their growing.
What's your favorite flavor of gelato that you make? Why is it your favorite?
That is a really tough question and it changes five or six times a day when I try different combinations! If I had to choose one flavor I would keep it simple. Our white milk base swirled with Amarena cherries from Bologna would be my keeper. It’s just a great clean, creamy texture filled with the spectacular flavor of the cherries. Sometimes simple is also the best.
In addition to gelato, what else does Pazzo serve?
We have a wide range of fresh-pressed hot paninis, baked goods made on-site or at local nearby bakeries, and espresso drinks, coffee and tea. Our goal is to provide something for everyone, regardless of the time of day. We also have fun ways to combine our offerings, like brownie sundaes with your choice of gelato, and gelato sandwiches made with our freshly baked cookies and your choice of gelato.