When both of the founders of a gelato shop can say that they attended Gelato University, you know you are in for something special. Both Antonio Massimini and Henri Waltenspühl attended Bologna’s Carpigiani Gelato University where they were trained in, and perfected the traditional Italian gelato making techniques. From texture, to taste, to optimal serving temperature, these boys know their stuff. Now they have made the leap stateside and have opened up their own operation on Harrison Street. Their store which is part retail store and part laboratory will deliver many different gelato flavors, some of which have uniquely Californian twists to them. With the wealth of natural produce in the area, it’s great to see owners making the full use of it.
Their gelato is made in the laboratory area or “clean room” as it’s known. Patrons can watch this intricate process while they wait. Traditional gelato contains more milk than cream and has less air than regular ice cream. Flavors such as California pistachio with Maldon Sea Salt and Almond chai infused with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger are just some of the delights that await hungry customers. There will also be a number of sorbets on offer including refreshing fruity flavor like mango and grapefruit. Their commitment to fresh flavors is evident, Waltenspühl said “Our gelato is made fresh with natural products and local ingredients—no additives or preservatives,” “We serve it so fresh that we say it is alive.” The ice cream will be served either in cones or in pints, additionally there are waffle cones made in house for those who want to kick things up a notch.
There are also plans to operate a mobile, bicycle powered operation. Going by the name Coletta Cruiser, the bike will begin to operate later this year and will be touring many different San Francisco neighborhoods. The retail store is currently open from 11AM-8PM Monday to Saturday. Although neither of the owners were born in Italy, they both spent a significant period of their childhood in the country and developed an appreciation for gelato. Their commitment to their cause is admirable and their credentials are second to none. As temperatures begin to warm up again, business looks like it will do the same, even though the restaurant is currently surprisingly busy for the winter season. The authenticity cannot be questioned, and the taste is simply sublime. It’s safe to say that if you are looking for the best gelato in San Francisco, Coletta Gelato is the place to head. Just be sure to arrive hungry.