Il Gelato opening a gelato cafe in Kahala Mall




Rendering for the new gelato cafe in Kahala Mall's center court, formerly Panini Grill

"The thing is, Italians brought gelato to Germany in the '60s, but the Germans developed it further," says Il Gelato's Dirk Koeppenkastrop, the German guy making gelato in Hawaii.

You'll get to taste for yourself the tempting and quirky heights Germans take gelato when Il Gelato opens its first gelato cafe in Kahala Mall in August. Think "spaghetti eis," gelato extruded to look like spaghetti and covered with red (strawberry) sauce, and "carpaccio ananas," pineapple sorbetto shaved into thin sheets and fanned out. I can't wait for the gelato panini, in which cold gelato and jam or chocolate is sealed within hot brioche.

Koeppenkastrop is modeling the cafe after the many gelato cafes throughout Germany that specialize in coppa, sundaes with innumerable combinations of gelato and sorbetto flavors, layered with sauces (think housemade caramel, chocolate, pureed fruit, espresso), fresh fruit and lots of whipped cream. It will be a welcome treat in Hawaii, which I've found to be a sundae desert.


From left to right, top to bottom: pistachio, dark chocolate, guava sorbetto, dragonfruit sorbetto, pineapple mint sorbetto, raspberry sorbetto, strawberry lemonade sorbetto, cherry cheesecake, lilikoi sorbetto, saffron, garlic (yes, garlic), Hawaiian gianduia (mac nut swirled with dark chocolate), gianduia, hazelnut, Kona coffee

The cafe will also offer easier access to the many flavors of Il Gelato, which churns more than a hundred flavors for restaurants, various retail outlets and events such as Eat the Street.

Knockout flavors include:

- pistachio: Il Gelato imports Sicilian pistachios from the Bronte region for this ultra-smooth and silky gelato that tastes of pure pistachio
- dark gianduia: dark chocolate mixed with hazelnut results in a creamy texture and nutty flavor like Nutella on dark chocolate steroids
- dark chocolate: like a fudge-y brownie in smooth gelato form
- pineapple sorbetto: tastes of pure, summer pineapple. Koeppenkastrop achieves an almost chewy texture by keeping all the pineapple fibers in the sorbetto (because of a high-powered mixer, the fibers have broken down, lending heft but not stringiness to this dairy-less scoop)
- guava sorbetto: the creamiest of Il Gelato's sorbettos (all dairy-less), thanks to the natural texture of guava that Il Gelato sources from the Big Island. It has a sweet-tartness reminiscent of li hing.

Koeppenkastrop, recently tapped to be part of Team USA in the World Gelato Championships (what, you don't already have tickets for the event?) plans on bringing the dragonfruit and pineapple sorbettos to the competition in January.

Until the gelato cafe opens in August, you can get gelato straight from the production facility at 501 Sumner St. (542-9276, facebook.com/ilgelatohawaii) and at restaurants including Roy's, Cactus, Pint and Jigger, Real a Gastropub and more.

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