Galactically Delicious, Lactose-free Gelato
What makes our gelato “galactically delicious?” The secret is the uniquely delicious taste of the sugar “galactose,” which is formed enzymatically by breaking the lactose in our dairy with lactase enzyme. Back when we started making gelato, a friend of Jules asked if he could make a lactose-free gelato so that lactose intolerant people could enjoy it more easily. Little did we know that it would make our gelato taste better too!
Milk solids contain nearly 50% lactose by weight, and gelato is typically enriched by adding extra powdered skim milk for a richer flavor and higher protein content. Of course, the extra lactose in that milk powder can make gelato harsher on the stomach for those with lactose sensitivity. Now consider that lactose isn’t really very sweet and has very little flavor. Once we started breaking the lactose, our gelato got sweeter and we needed to remove a little bit of the regular sugar (sucrose) from our recipe.
As time went on, our regular customers would come back from Italy only to tell us “Yours is at least as good and probably better than anything we had in Italy.” We scratched our heads for a while thinking we couldn’t possibly be doing anything better than the Italians. Then it dawned on us: it’s the galactose! People just really love the taste of galactose and that sets our gelato uniquely apart from our competitors in the gelato world….even Italy.
Our flavors: Italian at the core, with a South American flare!
We don’t use the standard gelato formula: White or Chocolate goo + milk + canned flavor paste à freeze à top with canned flavor. When Sam and I first started looking into making gelato commercially, the local food distributor said: “you’ve got to meet with xx. She sells all these flavor pastes for gelato.” What we learned is that everybody wanted us to buy pre-made bases and flavor packages with long lists of ingredients. Simply blend and freeze. We always joke with the suppliers “we’re in the 25% who don’t do it that way” and they always responded “more like the 10%” in disappointed tones. Perhaps we could’ve made our lives easier and cheaper that way, but then, our gelato would be full of lactose and artificial ingredients, and we certainly didn’t want that.
A number on our flavors are very expensive to make, and that does cause us to charge more per pint for them. Pistachio, hazelnut, and gianduja are flavored by roasting raw nuts and grinding them to nut butters. Sanbayon (Zabaglione) and tiramisu gelato are both made by cooking egg yolks with sweet marsala wine and adding it into the base.