La Dolce Vita in the Bay

Carello del gelato, which opened in Oriental Parade last December, has as its slogan ‘la dolce vita’. The sweet life, for founder Nathan Meyer, is his large range of ice creams, now sold throughout New Zealand.

Nathan’s working life had always been in hospitality – he used to run a café in Cuba Street before setting up Carello’s. But a business trip to Italy in 2003 totally changed his focus. He discovered, and relished, the creamy more intensely flavoured Italian ice cream. He also discovered that Italy – Palermo in Sicily in fact was the birthplace of his great, great-grandfather who had emigrated to Christchurch in 1860.

The two discoveries gelled and he made the decision to bring gelato to New Zealand. He based himself in Newtown on his return and went about gathering the best local and Italian ingredients for churning handmade batches of gelato. When it was ready, he built a ‘carello’ or cart to sell it on the streets and at events and festivals.

Carrello’s gelato was a hit at Wellington’s 2004 Italian Festival. In 2011, Nathan entered it in the New Zealand ice cream awards for the first time. Its mango sorbetto won gold. (Gelato comes from the Italian word for frozen. The word sorbetto is said to be derived from when fruit was blended with snow!).

Carello’s range is wide. Italian classics like stracciatella are included. So are the berry variations, sourced locally where possible – berries from Te Horo, for instance. Unusual combinations, like honey and thyme are offered. Others are green apple sorbet, liquorice, gingernut and hokey pokey – the last two being traditional Kiwi favourites.

Carello ice cream is now sold throughout New Zealand and Nathan estimates that there are some 50 outlets in the Wellington region alone. In the Oriental Parade store, pizzas (following the Italian theme) and coffee are also served. Children enjoy the beanbags that are a feature in part of the café with more traditional table and stools in the main area.

 JCD, Bay View newsletter 68, November 2016