On Market Street resides a gelato shop adorned in teal and white. Having been in business for the past three years, Gemelli has quickly become a notable location in the West Chester, Pennsylvania dessert scene.
Visitors can enjoy the gelato, tea, coffee, milkshakes and cakes that are available for purchase at the front counter. Headed by chef Vincenzo and his wife Julianne who works as Gemelli Creative Director, Gemelli is a location the two invite everyone in West Chester to visit.
The two met in Italy where Vincenzo lived while Julianne was studying abroad in Milano. Vincenzo was visiting a friend in Milano at the time and by chance met Julianne, the two fell in love and after she finished her semester abroad she returned to Philadelphia.
They maintained a six-month long-distance relationship before he moved to the United States to be with her. Since then, the two have established a gelato shop they are proud of and do their best to ensure customers get the best products.
Their website boasts that ingredients used at Gemelli are fresh, local and organic. Specifically, they “use only organic, grass-fed fresh milk, cream and yogurt from local farms in all [their] desserts. [They use] the best local, organic produce, jams, cheeses and raw honey, using what’s in season to enhance [their] creations.” None of their treats use “any pre-made, artificially flavored gelato pastes or powder gelato mixes like others in the area do.”
Furthermore, the team at Gemelli handcrafts their desserts from scratch everyday. This includes their peanut butter, caramel and other topping sauces.
Vincenzo detailed that making gelato in the “traditional way” includes making a base, pasteurizing the base and adding any flavoring like fruits or other topping sauces they prepared. Everything added to their gelato is handmade or found locally.
Vincenzo said he likes the Pennsylvania area because “it’s similar to the region I’m from [in Italy] . . . It made the transition much easier. The fact that there are so many farms and so much cultivated land around here . . . It’s just good that you can find all of this fresh, local produce which is what we work with.”
Vincenzo also noted the nutritional complexity of the gelato he makes. He said, “The way gelato is supposed to be made, you know you have your proteins, you have your vitamins, you have dairies in it, it’s a complex product nutrition-wise as well. It’s not just junk food . . . For us in Italy that’s not classified as junk food. For me that’s the challenge. It’s kind of like graduating gelato in America to a product that’s a little better for you as well.”
Vincenzo and Julianne also channeled the energy they bring into their gelato into the layout of the Gemelli’s shop. Vincenzo said that as opposed to ice cream shops which are often stands where customers walk up, order their food and eat outside, he wanted to create a nice indoor area with a café-like, warm environment where individuals of families can hang out and have a nice conversation.
When asked about what the most fulfilling part of his job as a chef at Gemelli is, he said: “It’s bringing something that is authentic and that is dear to my heart. It’s something that I grew up with, you know, so that’s why I opened Gemelli. To share those things, those ingredients, those emotions, those products to people who might not have the chance to go to Italy or they go to Italy and then they come back and they miss that.”
Gemelli is also in the process of altering parts of their menu for the holiday season. They want to keep offering new, unique options for customers that they likely will not be able to find anywhere else.
To West Chester University students, he also wants to point out that they do “have a large space [for students] to study, to work . . . it’s a good place for you to get some treats that are made with love and completely made from scratch for once.”
Gemelli is open Tuesday through Thursday between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m., Friday through Saturday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. They are located at 12 West Market Street, West Chester, Pa. 19382 and can be reached at email@example.com.
Halle Nelson is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in deaf studies and English literature. She can be reached at HN824858@wcupa.edu and on Twitter @Halle_N_Nelson.