When the owner of one of Austin’s most beloved gelato parlors invites you to stop by his shop in the middle of July, you don’t have to think twice about it. And since we Camille Styles girls have a tendency to travel in a pack, I naturally responded to Andrew Sabola’s invitation with a resounding: Can the whole team come?! He graciously obliged, and a few weeks later, the six of us shuffled through the doors of Gelateria Gemelli.
How does a guy from New England end up making gelato on Austin’s East Side?
“My first apartment in Boston, where I moved for college, was in the North End (which is the Little Italy of Boston.) Before I was old enough to go to bars, my friends and I would hang out in the the cafes on Prince and Hanover Street, drinking cappuccinos and eating gelato. Those days informed my passion for Italian food, slow food, and cafe culture.
I spent 14 years working in finance and spent over 40 weeks out of the year on the road. The whole time I was planning Gemelli, finance was a means to an end and not a career that I wanted to pursue forever. I started coming to Austin for meetings and totally fell in love with the city. Seven years ago, my partner and I made the move, built a house on the East Side and now instead of getting on a plane every week, I ride my bike down the street to Gemelli.”
Andy, I’m not exaggerating when I say that Gemelli is the best gelato I’ve ever had. What makes it this good?
“In the early sketchpad plans for Gemelli years ago, I had a very complicated menu planned, but after traveling to Italy, I learned that good gelato is all about highlighting simple flavors. It’s more about the juxtaposition of flavors than it is about being novel. We’re all about restraint and refinement. You will never find bacon in our gelato. We pasteurize our own base — which is a really important step to making the best gelato possible — and we control our product every step of the way. I spent a full year making gelato base until we found the right combination of sugars and the right milk to cream ratio. We don’t use chemical stabilizers or emulsifiers, which was really important to me but also made the base recipe development very challenging.”
After telling us all about what inspired him to open Gelateria Gemelli (and satisfying our every gelato tasting whim), Andy got behind the bar to mix up what would become our new favorite summer cocktail — The Sgroppino (recipe below).
“Sgroppino has its roots in Venice where it is prepared with vodka, prosecco, and lemon sorbetto. We mix it up a little and prepare it with gin and whatever seasonal sorbet we have in the store, my favorite is blackberry bay leaf, nothing is better on a hot Texas day.” — Andy