We asked Henley Bridge customer Bruno Forte, owner of Swoon Gelato, to share his passion and insight for gelato, along with his trend predictions for 2021...
Originating in Italy, where it feels like there’s a gelataria on every street corner, we’re seeing more and more dessert parlours opening over here luring customers with the huge array of colourful flavours.
Gelato vs Ice Cream?
Gelato is denser, contains 70% less air, is much fuller in flavour and uses fresh ingredients in its production. Gelato also contains around 50% less fat than traditional ice cream and has a much smoother and silkier texture.
Stick it to them!
When we first opened we introduced Gelato Sticks and I expect those to become very popular across the UK in the next 12 months. Essentially they are gelato lollies, and the sky is the limit when it comes to shapes, flavours and decorations.
Have your cake and eat it!
Gelato cakes are another great way to enjoy an ice cold dessert – and perfect for special occasions. They can be personalised too. Some of our most popular flavours include:
- Pistachio semifreddo with a fior di latte centre and raspberry glaze.
- Indulgent chocolate brownie with homemade salted caramel gelato.
- Deliciously sweet mango sorbet with rich dark chocolate.
- Amarena cherry cheesecake and strawberry gelato.
We’re seeing sales of gelato chocolates increasing month on month, and expect this to continue into 2021. We make these little mouthfuls of joy in four delicious flavours: milk chocolate with salted caramel, dark chocolate with pistachio pesto, white chocolate with raspberry sorbetto, and blonde chocolate with hazelnut. Bellissimo!
There is a growing movement towards gelato made dairy free. It is already popular, and we currently have three water-based sorbetti, which are regulars on our menu.
One of these is our Great Taste three-star winning Chocolate Sorbetto, which is crafted with chocolate from Henley Bridge.
This year we also committed to making one of our monthly guest flavours with a plant based milk. From coconut, to oat, to almond, to rice, we are always interested in looking at new options. We believe that in 2021 our ‘Swoonatics’ will be looking for more and we’re therefore doing a lot of recipe development on several of our core flavours to see if they can go permanently plant based. Some of the results are amazing and taste even better (we know, almost impossible!) than our dairy based products.
In September this year we trialled replacing our Dairy Pistachio (another three star Great Taste winner) with our Vegan Pistacchio (also a three star Great Taste winner). We consciously decided to call it “Pistacchio,” not “Vegan Pistacchio” and label it “suitable for the vegan community”. The result of this was that everyone could identify with it and enjoy it. We find that people often have a preconception of what a product will taste like if it is labelled “vegan”.
Swoon at Home
Covid-19 has affected everyone and has also shaken up our industry. We were forced to close the shops, could only sell through our delivery partner Deliveroo, as we had no retail tub offering.
We’ve been really surprised by the uptake of delivery and are confident it will continue to flourish moving forwards.
We’re also investigating the possibility of introducing a gelato subscription service with fresh gelato delivered to customers on a monthly basis. This, I am sure all readers will understand, has many logistical challenges. One clear one being that the driver cannot leave the package behind your bin or in your shed!
Selling good quality gelato is clearly key to the success of any gelato business, but there are many areas that can be expanded into. Investigate what your local community are looking for and see how it can be achieved within your business.