When it comes to ice creams, there are two kinds of persons: the ones that order the exact same flavour, and the ones that like to experiment. Personally, even though I have my personal favourites I like to try out new tastes every once in a while, I think it’s fun. Especially when I am trying out new flavours at GeA Gelateria such as the mandarin and kiwi sorbet which is surprisingly tasty or their basil ice cream which is my new favourite.
Carmela and Valeria, its Italian founders, have created a little foodie paradise for those with a sweet tooth and any day becomes happier when you taste one of their ice creams, I promise you. I would probably not have visited the street where they are located so often if it wasn’t for them. And even though sometimes I wish they had a second location by the lake or that they could somehow deliver their ice creams wherever you are in town, I am also relieved that they are keeping high standards when it comes to their ice cream production.
Last time around, we had just finished a late lunch around the neighbourhood – pizza anyone?- and I proposed instead of dessert at the restaurant to go grab a yummy ice cream. Their mini cone with mango flavour dipped in dark chocolate was just the perfect dose of sweetness I was craving for and the rest of the group seemed pretty satisfied as well.
Did I mention that the cone they have is a real and very tasty biscuit which perfectly compliments their ice cream?
A few weeks ago, on a gloomy Saturday morning, I met Valeria on the shop where I took some photos, discussed with her for their ice cream paradise corner and how they decided to create it, and pretty much had ice cream for lunch which I am planning to repeat soon.
The duo behind the project, Carmela and Valeria, founded GeA Gelateria Artigianale in 2012. At that time, they were both working in completely different fields, microbiology and biochemistry. They met in 2009, soon after the birth of their children, and due to their common background, their Italian origins, and their sons being the same age, they quickly became close friends. The idea of founding a typical Italian gelateria came up because they felt that something was missing in Lausanne. Their first shop opened at Rue Marterey on June 2012 -this street has many culinary treasures by the way- and ten months later GeA Gelateria moved into a bigger location at Rue Enning.
The name “GeA” (the Greek god of Earth) recalls the nature and corresponds to the initials of Gelateria Artigianale (artisanal ice cream). What I love about them is that they are determined to make no compromises on using natural, local products and supporting sustainability. Their scientific background is a great bonus when it comes to selecting quality products.
What’s on offer at GeA Gelateria
GeA’s gelato selection, a mix of various ice creams and sorbets, is constantly changing. There are 3-4 flavours that are always on offer, like the dark chocolate, the pistachio, the hazelnut, or the classic “fior di latte”. But there is always a variety of gelati to surprise the clients.
“Our choices mainly depend on the season as we are really trying our best to propose seasonal flavours, the demand (some customers might ask us to make a particular ice cream), or simply our mood! Sometimes we try brand new creations, really original flavours made with vegetables, spices, or even… cheese! It is important to be creative, while always proposing classic flavours for the “purists”. Our ice cream is always freshly made and as artisanal gelato by definition what is on the counter should be consumed daily. As a customer, be aware that a large choice of flavours exposed on the counter of an ice cream shop not always corresponds to freshly made products.” Valeria says.
All of their products are gluten-free, made from natural, local (whenever possible) and seasonal ingredients. There are also 5-7 sorbets every day that are made without dairy and can thus be eaten by lactose-intolerant persons or vegans.
Every spring they make “detox” sorbets, made of various combinations of fruits and vegetables (carrots, beetroots, spinach, etc.) and summer is the perfect season for sorbets made with fresh fruits mainly from the region, like strawberries, peaches or apricots.
Aromatic herbs are their favourite ingredients for creating original combinations (basil ice cream is one of their best sellers during the summer, and I can totally understand why) but spices as well.
Which one is their best seller, I wonder.
“The Cioccolato Fondente (dark chocolate) is probably our best-seller. But you have got to be a real chocolate lover to enjoy that one. The good thing is that this is a sorbet, so it can suit most people, even people with special diets.” Valeria explains. Her own favourite is the hazelnut and pistachio ice creams that are made with 100% pure paste and have a great taste.
Gluten/dairy-free homemade cakes and Italian coffees are also on offer while they import Italian Panettone from an artisanal pastry shop from the Region Veneto during Christmas and Colombe di Pasqua during Easter.
Here is what they told me when I asked them about their main philosophy for GeA Gelateria:
“The alchemy of ice cream preparation has something both magic and very scientific. A correct balance between elements has the power to create a creamy gelato with any ingredient. We only add fresh and natural ingredients, no already prepared mixtures, no colourants or chemical additives. Transparency is really important to us. We want the customers to know that they are eating a quality product. We buy our ingredients daily, we favour local products as much as possible, and when not possible, we choose products with a clear sustainable origin. We want to be able to give answers to people that ask us the provenance of the ingredients. We also use very clear symbols to indicate the presence of any particular ingredient that could cause intolerances, to make sure anyone can taste our gelato.”
For Carmela and Valeria, artisanal gelato means “natural and local (whenever possible) ingredients, high-quality products and savoir-faire”. It’s no wonder that they took lessons with a real Maître-Glacier before opening their gelateria.
“The recipes for ice creams are constantly evolving and need regular re-adjustments. The process to make a really good ice cream, as “stable” as possible, can be tricky and needs thoroughness. We make use of a very small amount (milligrams diluted in litres) of carrube and guar powder, very natural products from plants, to make the different ingredients bind and enounce the creamy texture. We never make use of vegetable fats of any sort.” Valeria tells me.
Each day they decide the exact flavours they are going to make, which often depends on their mood and allows them to be creative and enjoy the process. Probably the best part of their job is that they have to taste all of their products for quality control!
Their favourite foodie/sweet experiences in Lausanne are the small cafés and restaurants that are nearby in the Marterey neighbourhood, one of the best areas in the city where you can still find small authentic businesses.
Tip: every few weeks they are organizing free tasting on new flavours as they love making people explore new regions and recipes coming from Italy, Switzerland or other countries.
Rue Enning 8
Have you tried an artisanal gelato? Do you always take the same flavour or are you the type who loves to try out new ones? What is your favourite flavour?