Transparency is important. We want to know what’s in our food, and go to great lengths to make sure that the ingredients we use in our gelato fit our high standards for taste and integrity. We're meticulous in our efforts to source the premium ingredients we use and are happy to share the details with you.
Conventional (tahitensis) and Organic (planifolia)
How it is made: Ah, vanilla. A wondrous spice. It grows on an orchid that must be individually hand-pollinated. Then when the beans are ripe, they are hand-picked, dried, fermented (this is where the flavor develops), and sent to the US for further processing. Once here, they are either ground into powder or macerated and cold-extracted in alcohol for weeks before being bottled and shipped to us.
Why we use it: Despite its incredible expense (there's been an ongoing shortage for the last few years), there's nothing like it. What we get is some of the best vanilla in the world, and we use a lot of it. The quality of flavor is noticeably superior and comes through richly in the finished gelato.
How it is made: Did you know that cashews grow attached to an edible fruit (called the cashew apple)? And that their shells are poisonous? So it takes some effort to get them into a usable state. But in short, they’re removed from the fruit, the shell is steamed or otherwise cracked off, and then they are cleaned and packed. These are then stoneground to a smooth paste before they arrive to us.
Purpose in gelato: It helps form our creamy base.
Why we use it: It has a much better health and environmental impact than traditional dairy! Note, this is an ingredient that has had reported issues with poor worker conditions at the processing plants. Our supplier gets their cashews from small family farms in Vietnam and has confirmed that the processing plants they use adhere to a code of ethics protecting workers' welfare.
How it is made: There are a few different ways of capturing essential oils (for more on what essential oils are, click here). Citrus oils are cold-pressed from the peels. Spices and herbs -- like the peppermint oil we use -- are typically steam extracted.
Why we use it: Essential oils are very potent – they are what make many foods taste the way they do – and using this concentrated essence help us make for consistent flavors. It also reduces our shipping footprint since a small quantity goes a long way. On top of that, they have many reported health benefits.
How it is made: Ripe alphonso mangoes have the skin & pit removed. The pulp is pureed, pasteurized, and packaged aseptically (a fancy word for “germ-free”). That’s it!
Why we use it: One taste and you’ll know!
Organic, Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade
How it is made: The single-origin beans we use are from JavaVino, owned by Steve and Heddy, a husband-and-wife team in Atlanta. The ultra-sustainable Selva Negra farm in Nicaragua has been in Heddy’s family for six generations, so they truly get it direct. We get the green beans and have them roasted, ground, and cold-brewed to order before using it in our gelato.
In other words, the supply path goes Selva Negra Farm (mother) => JavaVino (daughter) => Revolution Gelato (us)
Why we use it: First of all, we love the flavor these beans give to our gelato -- it’s the same coffee we drink every morning. And second, we love their story and want to support other small family businesses like this.
How it is made: It’s made by taking the juice from sugar cane and boiling it down so the water evaporates. It’s then spun in a turbine (like a big salad spinner) to remove some of the molasses. The process stops before going through the bleaching and refining process that regular white sugar does.
Purpose in gelato: It makes it sweet (obviously) and is critical to creating the right texture.
Why we use it: Well, sugar definitely is not healthy…but after exploring the options we think it is a better choice than any of the alternatives currently on the market. It is less processed and more sustainable than traditional sugar. That said, we do have significantly less sugar in our gelato than in traditional dairy gelato, and continue to explore options for reducing our sugar content in the future.
How it is made: Dried organic coconut (aka “copra”) goes through a press that extracts the oil content. It is then filtered and steamed to remove the coconut aroma.
Purpose in gelato: It helps form our creamy base
Why we use it: It has a much better health and environmental impact than traditional milkfat! Coconut oil provides a clean flavor and rich texture. And even compared to coconut cream -- which is ~75% water and ~24% coconut oil -- it further reduces our ecological footprint (no need to ship water around the world).
How it is made: Cacao beans grow in pods and are separated from the sweet fleshy fruit when ripe. They’re left to ferment which begins to develop the complex flavor compounds. Then the seeds are hulled and ground to a paste called “cocoa liquor” or “cocoa mass”, which forms the basis of all chocolate products. To get cocoa powder, this paste is pressed to separate the cocoa butter and the cocoa powder. For chocolate, it gets further ground with the addition of sugar and extra cocoa butter.
Why we use it: Every chocolate manufacturer makes different grades of product. For our chocolate gelato we use the highest quality dark chocolate and premium natural cocoa powder. Most ice creams are made with “dutched” cocoa powder (you'll typically see that on the label as "cocoa processed with alkali"). What's the difference? Well, dutched cocoa has had one of 11 alkalizing agents added to it. This does a few things: (1) it darkens the color (2) it removes the acidity [and some of the naturally fruity flavors] (3) it removes a lot of the antioxidants (up to 90%).
How it is made: It’s made by taking cassava (aka yucca, manioc) -- which is a root vegetable and the world’s third largest source of carbohydrates -- pulverizing it into a starch, and then using acid or enzymes to break the starch down into sugars. (The sweetness level can vary depending on the use). We use both a low sweetness and high sweetness tapioca syrup, depending on the recipe.
Purpose in gelato: It provides some sweetness and helps with creating the right texture -- soft, chewy, and smooth.
Why we use it: Along with cane sugar this is not exactly health food…but using the combination has allowed us to cut our overall sugar content significantly while keeping the wonderful taste and texture that helps our gelato stand out. That said, we continue to explore options for reducing our sugar content in the future.
How it is made: The guar bean (aka cluster bean) is a legume consumed widely in India. Guar gum is the ground endosperm of that. Allow an explanation by way of analogy. Flour – the stuff that makes bread – is the ground endosperm of wheat. So guar gum is to guar bean what flour is to wheat.
Gum Arabic (aka acacia gum/fiber) is the dried, powdered sap from the Acacia tree, which is native to Africa. The production process has changed very little in thousands of years (collect, dry, grind, sift). It's pretty much pure fiber, and is less processed than almost any other sap product (even maple syrup)
Purpose in Gelato: Together these two plant starches help keep the texture right, not just when it’s made but also as it goes through the distribution chain until it reaches you. Gum Arabic is an emulsifier (like egg yolk) -- it helps keep fat and water molecules from separating. Guar gum is a stabilizer -- if the gelato thaws and refreezes, it helps minimize ice crystal growth.
Why we use it: There are many choices when it comes to stabilizers and emulsifiers, ranging from synthetic chemicals (= gross) to none at all (= poor product performance). Guar gum and gum arabic are two of the few we're comfortable using – from all the research we've done they're at worst completely innocuous and at best have some positive effects – and it makes for a much better product.
How it is made: Collect sea water. Evaporate water.
Purpose in Gelato: Makes the flavors pop
Why we use it: Nicer flavor and no additives like in table salt.