It was a trip to Italy and living on Vancouver’s culturally diverse Commercial Drive that inspired what would eventually become Nelson’s Little Miss Gelato.
Owner Amy Robillard didn’t have a background in the culinary or pastry arts before she took on gelato production.
“I was in public relations and then I was an English teacher in Japan,” she said. “I wanted to come to Nelson but I knew the job market was slim pickins and I’d also heard that it was really supportive of entrepreneurs.”
Seeing that Nelson didn’t have locally made ice cream or gelato, Robillard thought Little Miss Gelato might be a good fit for the community.
“I took a course in Vancouver but it was a lot of trial and error to get the recipes down pat,” she said.
She had even bought her ice cream machine before knowing how to make the product.
“The first batch was OK, actually. I met a man over the phone from New Jersey who was a gelato guru and via email he responded to a lot of my questions,” she said.
Robillard first considered having a storefront for Little Miss Gelato but instead found a few local businesses like Grounded and Save-On-Foods to give her new product a try.
“I basically started off with six flavours like chocolate, coffee, strawberry and lemon mint,” she said. “Now depending on the time of year I have anywhere between six and 25 flavours going,” she said.
Instead of having all the locations that carry her product stocked with the same varieties, Robillard tries to make sure everyone has different flavours.
“Pixie Candy only has stuff for Pixie Candy and Grounded has stuff that is only for Grounded,” she said.
Little Miss Gelato has now expanded into Kaslo, the Kootenay Co-op, and Robillard will also be at the Cottonwood Market.