In the land of dairy bars, ice cream parlors and other frozen dessert staples, Joanne Wigston says she has something that will set her business apart from the rest.
“With Islanders and Canadians in general becoming more health conscious, making handmade, naturally flavoured gelato is a great substitute for traditional ice cream. And serving it by travelling around the downtown with a bicyle-ice cream cart will provide a nostalgic experience for anyone who has chased after an ice cream truck.”
The Borden-Carleton resident is the founder of Island Gelato, coming to Summerside in the spring and summer. There will be three retail outlets in the Summerside area. A permanent booth at Farmed, near Reid’s Corner, a spot at the Summerside Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, and ice cream carts that will travel the downtown area once the snow clears.
Wigston, who deals with dairy intolerance, appreciates the differences between ice cream and gelato.
“Aside from some people not being able to tolerate the dairy, gelato is a lot denser, it has a more intense flavour and it has less fat.”
She likes to explain it as the differences between pound cakes and fluffy birthday cakes. One you have a lot more of to get the same amount flavour and experience, the other you have less of with the same satisfaction.
On top of fresh-daily gelato, Wigston will sell ice cream and pop bars.
“Think of them like a popsicle or ice cream bar. They can be made with gelato or ice cream of different flavours, dipped in chocolate or other coatings and then layered with any topping your taste buds crave,” she said excitedly.
“At Farmed and at the market, people will be able to customize their pop bars with anything they want. They have total freedom. Then with our bike carts, they’ll come pre-prepared like a regular ice cream bar.”
Wigston also plans to serve Italian Ice (dessert similar to sorbet) and unveil new flavours every week.
She says she wanted to start the business in Summerside due to the growing community of new and unique businesses.
“Iron sharpens iron. There is so much growth coming to this area and I really wanted to be able to contribute something to the community and bring people together. They’ll be choices, whether it’s because of an allergy, intolerance or dietary practice like veganism.”
She also hopes starting the business in Summerside will provide more job opportunities in general and for students during the summer.
In the long-term, Wigston would also like to sell her gelato, ice cream and pop bars in other Island stores and even export it off Island. She hopes to be able to sell gourmet ice cream or gelato cakes, desserts and tubs of products.
“The amount of freedom with the flavouring and types of gelato is unbelievable. It might look like you’re getting less but you’re getting a big punch of flavour with better health consequences. We’re excited to get this project off the ground.”
Five Fast Facts about gelato
–Gelato is the Italian word for Frozen
–Gelato was first invented in the 16th century in Florence, Italy
–Gelato is typically served at -15 degrees Celsius, compared to ice cream’s -23 degrees
–Gelato contains less air giving it a richer consistency
–Traditional Italian flavours include, pistachio, chocolate hazel nut, strawberry and chocolate chip