Ciao Bella Gelato Company

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A Ciao Bella Gelato store

Ciao Bella Gelato Company is a company specializing in gelatos and sorbets. It was begun in 1983 in a kitchen in New York City's Little Italy.[1] Traditional recipes from Torino were used. Ciao Bella, as it is more commonly called, was formerly owned by Charlie Apt and F.W. Pearce.


Ciao Bella began as an idea in the summer of 1983 when cousins Jon F. Snyder and Laura Grady were on a summer holiday in Italy. They both were fascinated with the uniqueness of Italian ice creams, having grown up working in their grandparents' Carvel ice cream store in Peekskill, NY. Jon, only 19 at the time, in particular, became obsessed with the idea of bringing a version of gelato to New York City. He eventually quit school, raised $25,000 from family and friends and, with Laura and her sister Christine's help, opened a small shop at 451 broome street in the SoHo area of manhattan, in May 1984. Their focus was on building up a wholesale business as they canvassed NY restaurants with samples, trying to build a sustainable year-round enterprise. In five years, they built a substantial clientele of chefs which included Charlie Palmer of the River Cafe, the "21" Club, the Russian Tea Room, NY's Famous Balducci's market, and dozens of other eclectic NY eateries. Having grown the business to a sustainable level, Jon felt it time to move on and put an ad to sell the company in the NY Times in 1989. Pearce saw the ad. Believing it to be a brilliant idea to buy it, he borrowed $90,000 from his mother- enough to buy the store, a batch freezer, a pick up truck, and the recipes for 60 flavors.[2] In the beginning, everything, from mixing flavors to delivering the product, was done by Pearce and a few part-time employees.[2] By 1993, he managed to bring sales up to $1 million. In the same year, he was introduced to a banker, Charlie Apt, who was the partner he was looking for to expand to a larger market. Thanks to his knack for sales, which included cold-calling countless restaurants and adding colors and logos to the then-white pints, product sales doubled to $2 million within another year.[2] In addition, Jon Snyder, later in 2001, after years out of the ice cream business, opened 'il laboratorio del gelato' on NYC's lower east side, rededicated to servicing NYC restaurants in particular.

The Chef[edit]

A worldwide search was conducted in 1999 for an executive chef.[3] Ciao Bella's owners found Danilo Zecchin, an international chef. Danilo draws many inspirations from his childhood memories of Northern Italy.

The Scoops[edit]

Although the name of the company includes the word "gelato", Ciao Bella also serves sorbet and frozen yogurt. Ciao Bella can also custom make flavors by chef's request. Ciao Bella's gelato is handmade, based on a family recipe, with 12% butterfat and has 20% air by volume [4] (In comparison to up to 50% air found in some ice creams, and 7~8% found in most gelatos).

Awards and achievements[edit]

Ciao Bella has won multiple awards, many from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT). Zagat has also named Ciao Bella as the "Best Ice Cream in New York" in 2002.[5] In addition, the Angeleno magazine has named it the finest in Los Angeles, and it has been chosen to be the House Purveyor for the James Beard Foundation.

List of Flavors[edit]

  • Amaretto
  • Banana
  • Banana Walnut Praline
  • Blackberry Cabernet
  • Blood Orange
  • Blueberry
  • Bourbon Butter Pecan
  • Caramel
  • Caramel Heath Bar Crunch
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate Hazelnut
  • Chocolate (Nero)
  • Chocolate (Valrhona)
  • Chocolate (White)
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Swirl
  • Chocolate Jalapeño
  • Cinnamon Carmel Swirl
  • Coconut
  • Coffee (Espresso)
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Dulce de Leche (Dolce di Latte)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Mint w/Chocolate Chips
  • Fromage Blanc
  • Ginger
  • Green Tea
  • Hazelnut
  • Hazelnut-Biscotti
  • Lemon Curd
  • Lychee
  • Malted Milk Ball
  • Mango
  • Mocha Chip
  • Peaches and Cream
  • Pistachio
  • Prickly Pear
  • Raspberry
  • Red Bean
  • Rum Raisin
  • Strawberry
  • Triple Espresso
  • Turkish Pistachio
  • Vanilla (All Natural Blend)
  • Vanilla (Bourbon)*
  • Vanilla (French)
  • Vanilla (Hawaiian)
  • Vanilla (Low Carb)
  • Vanilla (Tahitian)
  • Zabaione


  1. ^ Ciao Bella Gelato Company: History
  2. ^ a b c One Pint at a Time
  3. ^ Ciao Bella Gelato Company: Our Chef
  4. ^ Ciao Bella Gelato Company: Product Info: Gelato
  5. ^ Ciao Bella Gelato Company: Awards

External links[edit]