Kiwis love gelato
On the slopes of Mount Maunganui, in New Zealand, there is a gelato shop of a true Italian calling: Monte Gelato. The shop has built its success on a wise mix of traditional recipes, carefully selected ingredients, a close-knit team and a bubbly owner, Lyn Skidmore.
The shop opened in 2008 when Evan Skidmore, returning from a work trip to Germany, tells Lyn how he was swept away by the delicacy tasted for the first time during that trip: Italian gelato.
Ripe with enthusiasm, they decide to try and introduce this product unknown by the local consumers. Evan took a training course in Italy to learn the bases of making gelato. From Italy, they imported all of the machines for the production laboratory as well as the showcases.
It took nearly three years before the Kiwis (an informal way to reference native New Zealanders) appreciated this unprecedented proposal. Now they all love gelato and the shop does advertisement mostly through the word of mouth of its satisfied customers.
The shop is open seven days a week, all year round. During the winter season, Lyn manages nearly everything by herself, whereas in the summer she hires a dozen girls, mostly at the beginning of their work careers.
With patience and dedicated, Lyn teaches her team everything they need to know: from contact with the clients, to how to make, present and sell the gelato. Monte Gelato aims to satisfy all the demands. “I try to vary my offer in the display case, and I let my girls decide. Among the best-selling flavours is ‘Pineapple Lumps,’ a typical snack from this area, made with pineapple and chocolate. I believe that you cannot make mistakes with gelato, and if you do, give it a new name and you have a new flavour! When we create a new flavour, we give free tastes to our clients and we see what they think.”
In the showcase, there is a dedicated section for lactose- free products, perfect for those with lactose intolerances, vegans and those clients that want to follow a healthy lifestyle. It is mostly fruit-based flavours, often accompanied with other options such as chocolate.
In the shop, they also sell coffee. “In this area, the cafes close pretty early. So, we decided to introduce coffee, with which we also make affogatos.”
Regarding the projects for the future? “For the moment, I only have one shop and I am not planning on opening any more. I prefer to have one shop and to take good care of it, maintaining a high level of quality.
We are thinking about updating it a bit, even with new showcases. I won’t install pozzetti: I prefer to display the gelato, because for me, it is like entering a candy store. You need to see the gelato, so the clients are attracted by it. Especially children love to see the gelato and point to the flavour they want to enjoy.”