How two Michelin-starred chefs founded a thriving gelato brand by creating a frozen treat that can be enjoyed all year round

How two Michelin-starred chefs founded a thriving gelato brand by creating a frozen treat that can be enjoyed all year round

The owner of a gelato company has discussed the year-round demand for his frozen dessert.  Sam Newman told Insider that pre-pandemic, December was the best month for Hackney Gelato. He attributes the success to the fact that his product is more of a dessert than a seasonal treat.  Loading Something is loading. One of the…

  • The owner of a gelato company has discussed the year-round demand for his frozen dessert. 
  • Sam Newman told Insider that pre-pandemic, December was the best month for Hackney Gelato.
  • He attributes the success to the fact that his product is more of a dessert than a seasonal treat. 

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One of the owners of London-based gelato company Hackney Gelato says his frozen desserts are winning fans in all seasons, not just summer.

In an interview with Insider, Sam Newman said it’s all about creating a product that can be enjoyed come rain or shine. 

According to Newman, Hackney Gelato is more of a dessert than ice cream and that sets the brand apart from its competitors. “The typical British style of ice cream is light and cold,” compared with Hackney Gelato’s products, which are more of an indulgence, he said. 

Newman said the UK lacked top-quality ice cream and that as a result of his and co-founder Enrico Pavoncelli’s Italian heritage, the two were able to spot a gap in the market. 

The pair, who founded the company in 2015, first met as chefs working in London’s Michelin-starred restaurant Locanda Locatelli. After months of discussions, trips to Sicily, and meetings with gelato masters, Newman said the idea to build a premium gelato brand was born. 

Hackney Gelato

Hackney Gelato’s Brown Bread and Marmalade flavor made exclusively for London’s Michelin-starred Brat restaurant.

Hackney Gelato


“We want to push consumers to understand that this is an indulgence that they can entertain all year round. It’s great obviously if it’s sunny in the park, but it’s also fantastic if you’re watching


Netflix

in the middle of November,” Newman added.

Summer is a busy month for Hackney Gelato, Newman said, but before the pandemic, December was its best month of the year.

Hackney Gelato operates as a stockist, supplying its carefully crafted product to restaurants, corner shops, various UK-based food-delivery services like Gorillas and Ocado, as well as supermarkets including Tesco and Waitrose.

Newman said his company had a strong restaurant presence pre-COVID due to Christmas dinners, and concessions during the festive season where they served curated Christmassy treats like mince-pie flavored gelato. “It’s not like it goes completely dead for six months,” Newman continued.

Hackney Gelato

Hackney Gelato’s Mince Pie ice cream flavor.

Hackney Gelato


The decision to move the business into retail, however, was beneficial during the pandemic. This is because the hospitality sector took a huge hit due to fewer people dining out amid lockdowns. “It gave us another way to get to the consumer despite restaurants being closed,” Newman said. 

With consumers staying at home more often as a result of the pandemic, it’s affected the way people order, Newman said. “People can now get their dessert at any time of the day, in 10-15 minutes online, and that’s something we’ve been very careful to jump on board with and have the right product for.” 

As two acclaimed chefs, Newman said he and Pavoncelli ensured their gelato product was of the highest quality. “We’ve always used the best possible ingredients and traditional Italian techniques to make something that’s incredibly rich, smooth, and great to eat,” Newman said.   

Freshness is a big part of the brand too. “We use fresh fruit, fresh milk, fresh cream. Everything is made from scratch in our kitchens,” Newman added. This plays a big part in the flavor and texture of the gelato.

As for his future plans, Newman said he hopes to expand the business to international markets too, specifically the Middle East, due to its appreciation for British goods, among other reasons. 

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