Gelato is his passion, he makes it every day on site-it’s truly artisan and he is fussy about how it’s made. Using top of the range gelato making machines, he also use high quality ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible. And, of course his greatest strengths is the gelato making team. Mario LoScerbo, a renowned Gelato Italiano master and owner of Mario’s Gelati. We decided to ask him about the art of gelato production and how he finds making it in Vancouver:
Marco Polo How did you learn to make gelato and why?
Mario LoScerbo My grandfather use to make gelato in my home town back in Italy and sell it from a small gelato cart. With the weather in the summer it was a perfect treat to enjoy on a hot day. For me, it wasn’t enough to just enjoy eating it, I always wanted to know how everything worked and how to create something from scratch. When I wasn’t helping out with the farm I would rush to spend time with both my father and grandfather as they created gelati and sorbetti from some of the best ingredients you can imagine. I carefully took notice of each step from finding that perfect nut or fruit, to preparing it, to calculating the perfect amount of each item to use. These basics stuck with me for many many years and I still use the things I was taught as a young boy to make gelato today.
Marco Polo What makes Italians the best ice cream makers?
Mario LoScerbo I think Italians are known for their gelato for good reason. Italians, are passionate about the food they eat, the types of ingredients they use and the process they use to make it. You’ll find that many Italians have beautiful gardens and love to grow their own fruits and vegetables. This is because many believe the ingredients they use to create their food is the key to a delicious dish. The same is applied to gelato. I believe a lot of time & effort is put in to make sure that quality ingredients are used in the right combination with the right processing techniques. That combined with the desire to enjoy the end result with friends and family, and you’ll get some of the best gelato you’ll ever try.
Marco Polo How many flavours does Mario’s Gelati make?
Mario LoScerbo Mario’s Gelati has made over a thousand flavours over the years. We specialize in custom products and flavours and make new flavours either for ourselves or for our customers on a regular basis. If you think about it, the types of flavours you can have are endless.
Marco Polo It is true that when gelato sits exposed to air and in fluctuating temperatures and humidity, it affects the structure and taste?
Mario LoScerbo Yes, that is very true. The care of gelato is very important in maintaining taste and texture. If there are fluctuations in temperature as well as the product not being sealed correctly, your gelato will be sacrificed. It is best to store gelato in the coldest temperature as possible (we recommened -20 degrees celcius if at all possible). If you open up a tub at home, and don’t finish it right away, make sure you put a piece of wax paper on top to seal the gelato in and put it immediately in the freezer. Don’t leave it on the counter to melt. When you refreeze you will get ice particles and your gelato will not be smooth and the taste will not be what it should be.
Marco Polo What other tips about choosing the right gelato can you recommend?
Mario LoScerbo You can tell a lot about gelato just by looking at it. Do the colours look right to you and do they mimic those ingredients in real life or is it too intense? Does the texture look smooth or does it appear to have a lot of air or ice crystals in it? What about any additives in terms of nuts, chocolate chips or ripples. Does the balance of these ingredients work with the amount of gelato? Now taste. Taste of course is very personal, so you will have to decide this one, but if it tastes good and the texture is silky, you have probably chosen the right gelato.
Marco Polo Which flavours are more popular with customers?
Mario LoScerbo There are so many to choose from but people still love the basics like our Vanilla Bean and Chocolate. Other popular flavours are Espresso Flake, Salted Caramel, Nocciola, Raspberry Sorbetto, Hedge Hog, Spumone, Stracciatella, Green Tea, Mango and Coconut.
Marco Polo We know that, along the years you received a lot of awards, can you mention few?
Mario LoScerbo A lot of the awards we have received have been related to the Georgia Straight, the Westender, The Vancouver Sun, community gelato/ice cream contests and taste tests completed by our local food experts. We have consistently won the “Best Gelato in Vancouver” for many years and hope to continue to achieve this in the future.
Marco Polo Where does the gelato you produce go?
Mario LoScerbo Mario’s Gelati is our wholesale gelato manufacturing facility that produces gelato for restaurants, hotels, airlines, schools, super markets, etc. Our retail shop, Amato Gelato Cafe offers our full line of products from novelties, to custom cakes, portions, take home containers. We have 72 rotating flavours in our retail shop to choose from if you want a classic scoop on a cone.
Marco Polo You are an active member of the Italian community in Vancouver, did you receive any recognitions or support from the community?
Mario LoScerbo I have been involved with the Italian community since I moved to Vancouver and I’ve made a number of friends within the community that have been strong supporters of me until this day. I in turn like to support them in any way I can. I often supply gelato for local Italian community events and have been a sponsor of many children’s and youth sports teams within the community.
Marco Polo What is your life philosophy?
Hard work, dedication, passion and innovation will lead to success.
Marco Polo What is your message for our readers?
Mario LoScerbo After over 40 years in the gelato business, we are most thankful to our customers and long term employees who have supported us. They are very much a part of our gelato family and we believe that they are very much a part of our success. Together, we have been able to produce delicious gelato, putting smiles on faces in Vancouver and across Canada.
Thank you Mario for taking time to chat with us!