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Cool Ideas
Premium flavors could be your answer to premium profits...
Black Truffle Gelato at the Italian Institute for Advanced Culinary and Pastry Arts (ICI)  

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SHOWCASE

Below Zero
Bad Gelato

Cool Ideas
Premium flavors could be your answer to premium profits

Fabulous Flavor
Reinventing one of the most popular flavors with just a pinch of salt

Grande Gelateria
The Love of Gelato with That's Amore!


Gelatician's Gelatician
How Angela Damiano used her gelato skills to open a prosperous shop and become one of North America's most sought after consultants

Featured Machinery
The Kenwood Cooking Chef is not just for chefs!

SWIPES

Making More with Less
Bigger is NOT Always Better: The Upside of Downsizing

Sweet Science
Taking a position on 'neutrals'

Ingredients for Success
Got (the RIGHT) Milk?...

Chillin'
Gelato lingo...

SIGEP
The mother of all gelato tradeshows may very well be worth that trip to Italy!

 

One of the biggest challenges that gelateria owners encounter is the disparity of food costs between the different flavors that are available. Compound this with fact that all of the flavors are priced equally and we have a stark reality that is unique within the Food and Beverage industry even compared to the area of desserts and frozen desserts. Although there may be some solutions to this disadvantage it is not possible to charge different prices for different flavors of gelato in your daily showcase. Even in Italy, where it all started, the idea of variable pricing in the same vetrina is unthinkable.

Italians’ palates are as geographically divided as is their country which extends from the cold Alps in the North to the desert like climate of the South. On the positive side of this, EVERYONE in Italy eats gelato ALL the time. On the down side, large pockets of consumers inherently have expensive tastes. In the North, many people still love their egg cream based gelato. Eggs are expensive. Whereas in the South, most despise egg based gelato but very costly hazelnut and pistachio are their favorites.

North America, however, is a melting pot giving its gelaterie a distinct advantage over their Italian counterparts. So, luckily, the law of averages ensure that clients will order a combination of both your most costly daily offerings as well as those that are more economical to produce. That leaves gelaticians plenty of room to be inventive. But what happens when you want to go outside the daily offerings, when you want to take your imagination to the limit? Premium Flavors may be the answer to taking your creativity, and your profits, BEYOND the limit!

Adding Premium Flavors to the Menu

The most fundamental rule for Premium Flavors is that they are unambiguously distinguished from everything else on the menu. Premium flavors should NEVER give the perception that your other flavors are inferior. This common mistake is easier to make than to avoid. So here are some do’s and don'ts for adding Premium Flavors to your mix:

Don't

• Do not use a ‘better’ version of anything you already have in your daily showcase (you should already have the best version anyway). For example, if you already have vanilla, a Premium Flavor cannot be Tahitian Vanilla; if you already have hazelnut, your Premium Flavor cannot be Piedmont Hazelnuts; and so on. These will not be seen as SPECIAL which Premium Flavors must be. Rather, they will give the impression that your regular vanilla and hazelnut are, well, REGULAR, meaning inferior. That’s bad...

• Do not use ‘seasonal’ offerings as Premium Flavors. Seasonal offerings are a special part of every great gelateria and clients should not have to pay more for them unless the product in season falls into the Premium Flavor category explained below.

Do

• Put your Premium Flavors in a separate showcase. Repeat! NEVER put them in your main display or next to flavors that are priced differently. It’s confusing and people, especially parents with young children, hate it!

• Pricing should be clear and a short explanation of WHY the Premium Flavors cost more should be evidenced. Giving information to your clients means communicating with them as well as educating them. People appreciate knowledge and frankness and will be more loyal to your product as a result.

Choosing Premium Flavors

It is recommended that you use a small display case, perhaps one that fits just six tubs, even fewer if possible. More Premium Flavors, even in the busiest of shops, means ‘inventing’ a LOT of gelato. These flavors are special and having too many of them would diminish their uniqueness. A small showcase also allows you to do what we refer to as a Flavor Series.

• Flavor Series
A Flavor Series is an assortment of gelati that are based on the same flavor but with raw materials of different origin. An example would be having six different types of chocolate gelati, each using cacao from a different chocolate making country. Unlike the hazelnut and vanilla examples aforementioned, this concept doesn't suggest that these Premium Flavors are of higher quality than your daily chocolate offering(s). Rather, in this case, they are just different. After all, while hazelnuts and vanilla will taste somewhat different from one another, it is because some are of much higher quality.

Chocolate, on the other hand, contains over 1500 flavor components. That means that flavor varies not only depending on what country it comes from but what farm it’s grown on. Chocolate from Côte d'Ivoire has a deep, classic cocoa flavor while Venezuelan chocolate has complex fruit flavors that evoke ripe red plums and dark cherries. The list goes on so the possibilities are endless!

A great advantage a Flavor Series is your ability to maintain them perfectly. Since you are using the same display case exclusively for these flavors, the temperature can be set optimally to accommodate the similarly balanced products. We’ll talk more about using the same methodology for other flavors in upcoming issues of Gelatician.

• Moderately Priced Selections
As stated before, selecting individual Premium Flavors is based on distinctiveness. That, however, doesn't necessarily mean that they all have to incur high food costs. Porcini Mushroom Gelato is an inexpensive preparation but still has that special character which makes it a Premium Flavor.

Other relatively inexpensive but appropriate flavors could include those ingredients that have intense flavors in small amounts. Saffron, red ginseng, black anise and a host of other raw materials are expensive but can all be used in small quantities while still releasing big flavor.

• Exotic Selections
Exotic is one of those words that have been disgracefully overused in the food sector and that makes our Managing Editor Sabrina cringe when she hears it! But, if we stick to its true definition (Webster's loosely has it as ‘being from another country’ or ‘strikingly strange or unusual’), exotic items make perfect Premium Flavors. The best examples of these items are, and should be, expensive. Not just because they are exotic, but because they are special.

Just so there’s no mistake, we’re going to add something else to the definition of exotic with no offense intended to our friends at Webster's. Exotic means the real deal. And that means that the Nance you are using isn't from hothouses in China and then transported on a container ship for three weeks. THAT is unequivocally NOT exotic. Nance flown in from South America is exotic, as are fresh black truffles from many parts of Europe, etc.

The number of Premium Flavors are infinite. Barolo Gelato starts with an expensive bottle of wine that is reduced seventy-five percent rendering a syrup that is extraordinarily complex and bursting with bold deep fruit flavor. It either makes a great individual addition to your Premium Flavor showcase or can be included in a wine themed Flavor Series. Let your imagination run wild!


Gelaticians are a combination of chefs and pastry chefs while needing to know more than either one of them in a highly specialized field. That means that a gelatician’s vision should go far beyond them as well. If we have to restrain our prospects because we need to always adhere to fixed food costs we can never give ourselves and our clients the satisfaction we all deserve. The concept of Premium Flavors aren't just about premium pricing. It is about being everything we can be and nothing can place a premium on that...

Send your comments, observations and thoughts to info@italianculinary.it.
Italian Culinary Exploration, Professional Culinary and Baking Program, 1 WEEK FULL IMMERSION & ALL INCLUSIVE, Italian Culinary Institutes, The Italian Institute for Advanced Culinary and Pastry Arts, Cooking Schools, Cookery Schools, Professional Italian Cuisine, CAST Alimenti, Calabria, Italy, Brescia, Italy, Venice, Italy, Badolato, Italy, Soverato, Italy, Italian Haute Cuisine, World Class Culinary Competitions, Culinary World Cup, Pastry World Cup, Coupe du Monde, John Nocita, Gualtiero Marchesi, Iginio Massari, Pierre Herme
 

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