Local Food Stories

Pastries & Dessert

Ice-cold passion

Gabriella Gelato Artigianale
#icecream #switzerland

Gabriella’s Gelateria is located in an old and pretty farmhouse with a well-cared herb and vegetable garden right in the center of the small town of Oberwil. ‘Here we grow different ingredients such as mint and thyme for our gelati creations,’ explains Gabriella Martin. Her husband Ivan adds, ‘We get milk and cream from the local farmer.’ Gabriella pasteurizes the milk herself before she processes it in the basement of her house. This is because at ‘Gabriella Gelato Artigianale,’ all the varieties of ice cream are handmade in the true meaning.

Steep success

The Martins came to the idea of opening their own gelateria when their three children slowly fled the nest and Gabriella, who has a degree in economics, wanted to return to work. The idea for the project was quickly found. Both had worked during their studies in Genua in a restaurant which was famous for its ice cream. Since there was no comparable ice cream in the region of Basel the couple decided to change that fact. Gabriella bought herself an ice cream machine and began to research various recipes and experimented with these until she reached the gelati varieties that met her standards. What the Martins thought was tasty also delighted their friends and later their customers. ‘Within a very short time we had to increase our production level and expand our sales room and small café.’ The queues which form on sunny weekends is proof of their lasting initial success. The reputation of the gelateria has even gained customers from far away.

Changing assortment

The assortment of about 16 gelati changes daily. The ones that are available depend on the ingredients that are currently in season and are of a desired quality. But it also depends on the experimental joy of Gabriella. Gabriella also regularly gets inspiration from her customers. ‘Guests tell me about ice cream flavours they tried somewhere on holiday. These taste varieties I take up and create my own version of.’ Nevertheless, the best-sellers are stracciatella, pistachio and chocolate ice cream. The later Gabriella refines depending on her mood with mint, rum or chili. The Martins try to buy all their ingredients locally whenever possible or from businesses that put quality and not quantity first. Gabriella gets for example hazelnuts from a farmer who she knows personally in the Piemont.

Small and fine

The reputation of the gelateria has spread to those in the restaurant industry. A few proprietors and owners of specialty shops have approached Gabriella about suppling them. ‘This is out of the question for us at the moment. We want to keep the company small and as fine as possible. I also want to keep enough time to develop new flavours.’ Even though the summer is soon coming to an end, the ice cream production will keep going until the end of the year. ‘Around Christmas time business increases again.’ In winter ice cream cakes are very popular.  In addition to this the Martins supply regional companies for their internal parties ice cream creations. In January and February, the small business takes a well-earned break. During this time the Martins prepare for the next season and visit events such as the ‘Fiera del gelato Rimini’ to get new ideas.

They have set themselves a challenging goal of creating an ice cream without sugar. As a bioengineer, Ivan knows the difficulty in this. ‘Sugar is necessary for the perfect consistency of gelati.’ But knowing the innovative power and love with which the Martins put into their business, it wouldn’t be surprising if they successfully reach this goal in the future.