by Amy Scattergood
Los Angeles Times
April 11, 2007
Gail Silverton, who opened Gelato Bar with partner and fiancee Joel Gutman in September, is just as obsessed as Bulgarini, but she leaves the gelato making to Allessandro Fontana, a gelato specialist who came to Los Angeles from Venice in August.
Silverton creates the gelato flavors in consultation with Fontana. Some are her takes on old favorites, like the beautifully perfumed strawberry sorbetto made with strawberries she gets from local farmers markets. “Some we just invent,” Silverton says. Like cinnamon basil or black sesame gelato, or a vanilla gelato with ribbons of dark chocolate and candied orange peel. Or the creamy chocolate sorbetto that Silverton loves to pair with a blood orange sorbetto Fontana makes with the oranges from his backyard tree. “That’s my favorite combination.” Silverton says.
Silverton’s original plan was to make her own gelato. She’d just completed a gelato-making class given by Carpagiani, an Italian gelato machine manufacturer. When she learned her new storefront wasn’t equipped with enough power to run her gelato machines, the Carpagiani people put her in touch with Fontana. He makes Silverton’s gelato at a facility in Burbank, though the two have been talking about opening a shop of their own. “Of course we want to make it in-house.” Silverton says. “We’ve wanted that since the beginning.
Silverton’s Studio City shop reflects not her childhood in Los Angeles as much as her adulthood, much of it spent in Umbria. The ambience is all Italy: tiled floors, an indoor stone fountain, marble-topped counters, cafe tables and, on Thursday afternoons, free Italian lessons given by the same expat Italian woman who gives Silverton her lessons. Though Silverton’s background is in education, not food, (she runs the Neighborhood School, a private preschool in the San Fernando Valley) gelatomania seems to run in her family. At her sister Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza, all but one of the desserts involves gelato, made on site by Nancy and pastry chef Dahlia Narvaez.