Via Gelateria to open next month in Solvang
Known for all things Danish, the town of Solvang is about to get a taste of Italy.
That will happen next month when Via Gelateria opens to sell gelato in mouth-watering flavors like pistachio and lemon zest, roasted coconut and white chocolate and honey and lavender, along with popular flavors like vanilla bean, salted caramel, tiramisu, dark chocolate and espresso.
The owners are Alessio Carnevale, an Italian expat, and his wife Nicole Carnevale, a graduate of UCSB.
“When I was a child, I helped my uncle in his gelato shop in Calabria. That was where I was first introduced to making gelato, and I love those memories,” said Mr. Carnevale.
“Gelato, which is Italian for ice cream, is much creamier than traditional ice cream. It’s ironic because you use less cream and more milk when making gelato vs. making ice cream.”
His wife pointed out another difference during a phone interview from Solvang.
“Gelato isn’t served in perfectly rounded scoops like ice cream. It is traditionally served free form in cones or cups,” said Mrs. Carnevale, who met her husband in Rome during a year of study abroad in Italy while earning her bachelor’s degree in global studies at UCSB.
The couple, who were married in 2010, live in Buellton with their 10-year-old twins, Luca and Chiara, and just-turned-1-year-old, Giulia.
“The original name of our business was Gemelli, which means twins in Italian, Gelato. But after Giulia was born we changed it to Via Gelateria,” she told the News-Press. “The twins are our official taste testers.”
Choosing a location for their first brick-and-mortar shop was a top priority for the couple.
“We have always liked Solvang. We love the European influence. It’s already a pastry destination for visitors, and it’s a unique place to provide great foot traffic and a perfect fit for a gelato shop,” said Mrs. Carnevale.
Via Gelateria is located within the new PARC Place redevelopment project, across from the park.
The shop’s open concept will allow customers to watch Mr. Carnevale at work, with two store entry points — one opening to a front patio on Mission Drive and the other opening to the commercial development’s shaded courtyard.
Mr. Carnevale began experimenting with crafting his own gelato in the Santa Ynez Valley in 2014. Shortly thereafter, he started to supply S.Y. Kitchen with gelato for the restaurant and bar dessert menu, namely for its popular affogato dessert cocktail.
“The affogato dessert cocktail is a scoop of vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso poured over it. It’s a very popular tradition in Italy,” said Mrs. Carnevale.
Nella Kitchen & Bar in Los Olivos currently features an eponymous-to-Alessio dessert, Alessio’s Belgian Cookie Gelato, which is served with a chocolate glaze and fresh berries.
“Alessio also creates custom desserts for events, both small and large,” said Mrs. Carnevale. “After Via Gelateria opens, he will continue with his catering and events and pop-up appearances.”
Asked if she had a favorite gelato flavor, Mrs. Carnevale said, “Definitely pistachio, and our baby loves strawberry sorbet.”