Boho Gelato won ‘Best Producer’ at the recent Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards. Nick Mosley talks to owner and gelato maker Seb Cole about his success.
Your background is the printing industry – how and why did you make the leap to ice cream maker?
I started out in food and drink, but it was a diversion into printing which took me to Italy where I discovered Gelato and decided to return to my food roots. I wanted to make a product from scratch and thought Brighton was lacking in good quality ice cream at the time, so I used the Italian connections I had already made to learn the secrets.
Briefly, what’s the difference between ice cream and gelato? And sorbet and granita?
Gelato is based on whole milk and also often doesn’t contain eggs, as opposed to ice cream which is usually cream and egg heavy. The lower fat content of gelato means that you don’t need as much sugar in your recipe and the result is a much denser, fresher and softer product. Also being less sweet and custardy, gelato is a more neutral starting point than ice cream for creating flavours. Both sorbet and granita are water ices, and dairy free. However, unlike a sorbet, granita is un-thickened and should have the texture of soft snow as opposed to sorbet’s more creamy texture.
How many flavours are there in your repertoire?
We have made well over 500 since we started seven years ago, but we usually feature between 50 and 100 different flavours in the shops on a busy week. Our choices are ever changing and usually reflect the seasons or whatever we are buzzed about making at the time. Nowadays there are quite a few top sellers that we have to stock or we will be in trouble with some customers.
What’s the process of coming up with new flavours?
Can I say that they just pop out?
Many of your products are vegetarian or vegan. Is that particularly in Brighton, and does it impact on the flavour and texture?
All of the products in all of our shops are vegetarian and we try to ensure that at least 30% of the flavours in stock are always vegan friendly. Our vegan flavours are every bit as good as the dairy ones and there really is very little difference in texture – if anything there is more flexibility making vegan flavours, as the starting point is even more neutral than a dairy gelato due to the lower fat content.
You’ve been a regular guest at the Nivarata festival of granita in Sicily – how does it feel to be accepted by the home of granita?
It feels great to be able to go to the spiritual home of granita and gain the trust of the locals as a custodian of the tradition and quality of their recipe. Its also brilliant fun to be involved and I have made so many great friends there.
With two shops in Brighton plus Weymouth and Worthing, have you more plans to expand further in 2018?
We do have a couple of new projects bubbling at the moment for 2018 although its all top secret for now – watch this space.
What are your Christmas flavours for people to take home and enjoy over the festive season?
We will have favourites in stock from 9 December; Christmas Pudding, Mulled Wine Sorbet, Rum Saffron and Canditi and Stollen to name a few. We also have some very special collaboration flavours from local food and drink businesses over the weekend of 16-17 December for our Christmas Flavours of Brighton – definitely not to be missed.