Memphians will get a taste of what Nashvillians have been raving about for some time now: Bravo Gelato.
Last weekend, Bravo general manager Noel Glasgow came to town to meet with some restaurateurs and pitch the product.
The meeting went well. Starting Saturday, the gelato will now be on the dessert menus of Sweet Grass, Interim, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, and Restaurant Iris.
“We’re super-excited to be in Memphis, to grow and improve the business,” says Glasgow.
Bravo Gelato, an off-shoot of Christie Cookie Company, was founded about 8 years ago by Glasgow’s stepfather. Before starting the venture, there was much consulting to create a “true Italian gelato.” Many trips to Italy and some feedback from the “Professor of Ice Cream” later, there are now three stores, and its products are served in 40 restaurants in Nashville.
The road to getting Bravo Gelato to Memphis was a straight one. Glasgow had met Restaurant Iris’ Kelly English, who expressed interest in adding the gelato to his menu. English then gave Glasgow names of other Memphis restaurants that would also be a good fit.
Glasgow is returning to Memphis this weekend for more meetings, one of which may result in the gelato being sold in pints at a local market.
“We share the same ideals,” Glasgow says of his new restaurant partners, meaning that like Bravo Gelato, these places are locally owned and put an emphasis on ingredients.
“We’re a family business,” Glasgow says. “We don’t want to be Baskin-Robbins.”
Bravo Gelato, while not organic, does use all-natural ingredients. They make a single batch at a time and offer around 180 flavors. They do a lot of alcohol-based gelatos, according to Glasgow. There are a couple using the Nashville-based beer Yazoo, as well as gelatos using Jack Daniels. There are traditional Southern flavors, too, like apple pie and pecan pie. There’s even a S’mores gelato.
They’re also open to requests. “Whatever you mind comes up with, we can do,” Glasgow says. If that’s a roasted parsnips gelato, then that’s what they’ll make. (Bravo Gelato did make the parsnips gelato, which Glasgow says wasn’t his thing but which the chef who requested it really loved.)
The Memphis-bound batches will be made on Friday for Saturday’s delivery and include a classic vanilla as well as more exotic flavors like olive oil and sea salt.
For those unfamiliar with gelato, Glasgow notes the three main differences between gelato and ice cream. First, gelato is milk-based rather than cream-based like ice cream, which means half the fat. Second, according to Glasgow, gelato offers a lot more product and, thus, a lot more flavor than ice cream because there’s a lot of air in ice cream. Finally, gelato is all-natural, so no coating of the tongue, which tends to interfere with flavor.
Now that Bravo Gelato’s foot is firmly in Memphis’ door, Glasgow says that he does hope to one day open a store here. But he’s planning on seeing how things go first. “Obviously, it’s not going to be any time soon.”