Summer is just around the corner, and what better way to welcome it in than with an ice-cold treat! We met up with the owner and gelato king himself, Joel Caplan, for a peek inside the operations at Cafe Gelatohhh. All-natural and often locally-sourced, the gelateria serves up authentic Italian gelato and sorbet – with a southern twist.
Gelato, an Italian-style ice cream, differs from typical ice cream in both its production and ingredients. “The machine doesn’t pump air into it,” Caplan explained. “Gelato is very dense… And we serve it a higher temperature so it has a better feel to it.” Gelato is also made without the addition of egg yolks and with minimal heavy cream, creating a more low-fat and flavorful, rich dessert. “By using very little cream, milk and no eggs we remove about 90 percent of the fat that would be in regular ice cream,” he said. In this way, “you get to taste all the favors you aren’t used to tasting.”
Flavors such as Tiramisu, Banana Pudding, Strawberry/Basil and Death by Chocolate. Cookies and Cream, Green Tea, Amaretto and Cheesecake. Peanut Butter Cup, Honeycomb Crunch, Green Apple and Kiwi. Cafe Gelatohhh strives to carry organic and local ingredients to make their product, and thus the flavors often change with the season. “We always have 24 flavors out and have 60 total, but I’m always rotating them,” Caplan said. “There are certain ones I like to have all the time, but in the fall I make pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan and peppermint in the winter. I’m thinking of doing a mint julep gelato for summer.”
Along with serving up gelato, the cafe also makes its own sorbet, which also contains organic ingredients and a multitude of flavors from which to choose.
The Dish: authentic Italian gelato and sorbet
What’s Special About It? - Joel Caplan: “I have the only organic gelato in the area. Our gelato tastes better because it’s made with good ingredients,” Caplan said. “We’re almost 100 percent organic. And the food is, too. All the meat and vegetables are all organic with grass-fed beef.”
How Is It Made? - Joel Caplan: “I am constantly thinking about flavors. What can I say? I look at both Italian and American desserts for inspiration. Savannah is rustic, and people want what they want and what they’re used to. Hazelnut, pistachio, chocolate hazelnut, ricotta and fig – I make the classic Italian flavors, but I also come up with other things and what southern flavors are expected, like butter pecan.”
What Do People Say About It? – Joel Caplan: “Getting them in the door to taste it – that’s great. They walk out and will come back and tell us it’s the best ever… Sometimes people are standoffish at first and sometimes they embrace it. Like the ricotta and fig? They love it. You never know what will sell in Savannah.”
202 West Julian Street