Latella Gelato founders Erik Dietrich and Jeanie Shaffer are gearing up for the summer season with a wide range of gelato flavors, including the launch of a new line of wine-infused gelatos.
While the Carolina Beach business remains open year-round, the off-season provides owners time to experiment with new flavors and concepts.
“We currently have over 300 recipes we’ve developed,” Jeanie Shaffer said, of the business that was launched in the spring of 2017. “I’ll be getting into bed at night and an idea comes to me, and the next day I’ll be in the kitchen trying to figure out how to make it work.”
Shaffer told the Greater Wilmington Business Journal in a 2017 interview that Latella bases a lot of recipe development on customer feedback, as well as suggestions from employees. She said that while not every idea is successful, it sometimes takes a failure or two to come up with something great.
Now, Latella is keeping up with an industrywide trend of incorporating wine and spirits into ice creams, sorbets and gelatos.
Mercer’s Dairy of Boonville, New York, one of the pioneers of the movement, has been making wine-infused ice creams since 2006. Earlier this year Häagen Dazs announced the launch of infused ice creams incorporating spirits such as bourbon and Bailey’s Irish Cream, and in February, the Cincinnati-based franchise Buzzed Bull Creamery announced it would be opening a Wilmington location this spring.
Latella is currently serving four wine-infused gelato flavors on weekends only. These flavors are kept in a separate case from the rest of the non-alcoholic gelatos in order to prevent any possible mix-ups, and patrons must provide ID proving they are over 21 years old to purchase the infused gelatos.
Some of the flavors created so far include blackberry merlot, raspberry lemonade moscato, strawberry and banana daiquiri, and mango and pineapple mimosa.
With the permit that allows Latella to incorporate wine into its recipes, the establishment can also sell wine by the glass and by the bottle. Latella is also able to offer other wine-based libations, including smoothies, milkshakes and slushies, which they refer to as “sloshies.” Current sloshie flavors include strawberry rosé and white wine pineapple.
Coffees and hot chocolate can also be served with a shot of wine, but all alcohol-infused drinks must be consumed on the premises so as not to violate open container laws.
In addition to the wine-based gelatos, Latella carries a rotating selection of 12 gelatos daily. The shop is open from noon to 9 p.m. daily, and summer hours will expand to 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. beginning Memorial Day weekend.
Latella Gelato is at 11 Boardwalk Ave., Suite 110, in Carolina Beach.
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