For those who have experienced the Gelato Fiasco flagship store in Brunswick, stepped in to wield the well-known red spoon at the company’s Portland location or picked up a pint of GF at the grocery store, you know about the magic of this gelato.

Since Gelato Fiasco’s frozen, creamy elixir was created to be shared, owners Josh Davis and Bruno Tropeano, along with cookbook author Cynthia Finnemore Simonds and photographer Jessica Keener, have put together the gelato bible, “Gelato Fiasco: Recipes and Stories from America’s Best Gelato Makers.” Yes, now gelato fans everywhere can master the art of making their own chilly confections, copycatting favorite flavors or creating something original.

It’s easy because Josh and Bruno put together this book to not only tell their story, but to inspire us with their big ideas and generous hearts. Because sharing the experience of gelato is so important to them, they have divulged their “top secret” recipes. Walking everyone through making gelato at home with family and friends is an extension of their seemingly limitless hospitality and is in keeping with the mission of Gelato Fiasco.

The delightful process of transforming basic wholesome ingredients such as milk, sugar, and cream into dreamily delicious gelato is a wonderfully satisfying experience. Using the duo’s tips and tricks that include careful measuring and a bit of patience, you can do something magical in your very own kitchen.

Published by Down East Books, the cookbook’s 150 pages contain over 70 gelato recipes and nearly 40 sorbetto recipes. These recipes begin with “mother bases” that include classic white (fresh cream), rich yellow, decadent chocolate, milk chocol-lite, vegan coconut and sugar base for sorbetto. All your favorite flavors are in there, too: wild Maine blueberry crisp, whoopie pie, mango, dark chocolate noir . . .

And if this isn’t enough, Josh and Bruno have also included the recipes for their waffle cones. Added to the list are brownies, oat crisp, truffles, cookie dough and the sweet silky toppings that make their gelato so extraordinarily delicious.



With the aid of a few simple tools, along with basic fixings and a plethora of flavorings, you can transform your kitchen into a gelateria. Besides the obvious saucepan, spoon and bowl, you’ll need a fine-mesh strainer, a candy thermometer and most importantly, a kitchen scale. The most consistent results come from weighing, rather than measuring, ingredients so it’s worth doing.

A whisk works for blending, but if you prefer to use an immersion blender, mixer or regular blender, that’s fine, too.

A metal gelato spade is nice to have and, yes, it’s best to have an ice cream maker, but the book also walks you through the steps of making gelato without one. It can be done. All it takes is some extra time and patience.

No matter what gelato base and flavorings you choose, EVERYTHING MUST BE THOROUGHLY CHILLED. That includes ALL inclusions (the yummy bits and pieces such as cookie chunks, candy, nuts, etc.) and ALL your tools right down to the bowl and spoon. Yes, the ice cream maker parts should be really cold, too.

In case you’re curious, egg yolks are used in some of the base recipes, but stabilizing guar gum can be substituted in the classic white base and is an additive to the sorbetto base. This substance is a natural gluten-free thickener found in the natural foods section of the grocery store or at the health food store. Bob’s Red Mill is one brand. Skim milk powder is good ol’ Carnation Instant Non-fat Dry Milk.


Another tip: For those who like fruity flavors and jammy swirls, when making the gelato the amount of sugar needs to be adjusted to accommodate the natural sugars in the fruits.


In just a month or two, nutter fluffer gelato, a delectably smooth peanut butter gelato with toothsome tidbits of chewy marshmallow and buttery pound cake, will be released as Gelato Fiasco’s newest national flavor.

However, you can have a debut right at home. Make this for your New Year’s gatherings or scoop it into bow-topped containers for gift giving, paired with a copy of the gelato book, of course!

“Gelato Fiasco: Recipes and Stories” can be purchased at Gelato Fiasco stores, many area book stores and through Down East Books and Amazon for $26.95. Be sure to grab one for yourself and before you get down to business, take the time to enjoy each and every page. It’s a great read.

Writer and editor Karen Schneider has been a regular contributor to the Lewiston Sun Journal for over 20 years. Contact her at with your ideas and comments.


This new recipe book, along with a few simple tools and an ice cream machine, will turn your kitchen into a gelateria. (Gelato Fiasco submitted photo)

Lucy, the author’s granddaughter, has grown up with Gelato Fiasco. She first stepped into the Brunswick store when she was just a toddler. Here, she samples Nutter Fluffer, especially made by co-owner Josh Davis. (Karen Schneider photo)

Nutter Fluffer gelato

Makes 2 pints

4 cups (32 ounces) classic white gelato base (see recipe below)

1/2 cup (4 ounces) smooth natural peanut butter


1/2 teaspoon sea salt

5 ounces pound cake, chilled and chopped into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup (4 ounces) Marshmallow fluff or similar marshmallow cream, heated in a bowl 30 seconds in the microwave

In a large bowl, whisk together warm gelato base (see below), peanut butter and sea salt until smooth and thoroughly combined. Cool to room temperature as quickly as possible. Place in a covered container and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours. Once the base has chilled, churn it in the ice cream maker until desired consistency.

Scoop half of the gelato into a chilled stainless steel bowl. With a chilled metal gelato spade, fold in one half of the pound cake chunks, then fold in half of the Marshmallow fluff (heated just enough to be pourable), creating swirls and ribbons in the peanut butter mixture. Repeat with the remainder of the gelato, the cake pieces and the fluff. Place in airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

Classic white gelato base aka fresh cream gelato


Makes 3 pints

1/2 cup (5 ounces) cream

3 cups (25 1/2 ounces) whole milk

7/8 cup (2 ounces) skim milk powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup (8 ounces) sugar


1 teaspoon guar gum OR 3 egg yolks

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup sugar with guar gum or with egg yolks. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine cream, milk, milk powder, remaining 2/3 cup sugar and salt.

If using the guar gum mixture, whisk it into the milk mixture while it’s still cool. If using yolks, slowly pour a third of the hot cream mixture into the yolks and sugar while constantly whisking. Then quickly whisk this mixture back into the pan with the remainder of the cream.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking often and cooking until the sugar and milk powder dissolve completely, about 5 minutes.

Turn heat to medium-low. Continue to stir gently. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon and the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 180 degrees, pour it into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer.

Continue with nutter fluffer recipe (above).

If making fresh cream gelato, cool to room temperature as quickly as possible then cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours. If flavoring the plain gelato base, whisk in the flavorings before chilling.

Once chilled, it can be churned in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Chilled inclusions can be folded in.

Slightly warmed Marshmallow fluff is swirled into peanut butter dream gelato to create the popular Nutter Fluffer. (Karen Schneider photo)

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