Interview with Gelato World Tour Contestant Josephine Colombo of Vulcano Gelato

The day has finally arrived – the Gelato World Tour has  landed!

Last week, I attended the press conference for the Gelato World Tour where I met one of the geniuses of gelato, Josephine Colombo of Vulcano Gelato.  Colombo is one of 16 artisans in the Oceania stage of the tour competing for a spot in the finals in Rimini, Italy in September 2014. Read more about the competition here.

Josephine was kind enough to answer some questions for me about her gelato journey. I hope you enjoy!

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Interview with Josephine Colombo of Vulcano Gelato – Gelato Artisan Competing in the Gelato World Tour (Oceania Stage)

How did you first become involved in gelato making?

The love affair in all its glory started when I met my husband Gino whilst he was on a working holiday in Melbourne. Gino’s family in Italy have been producing Italian gelato since 1960 when his grandfather Remigio Aiello created his own recipe and opened a gelato bar called Ritrovo Remigio in Vulcano, a small island north of Sicily.

When I travelled to Italy I learnt to make gelato the old-fashioned way by the same gelato artisan working in Ritrovo for over 50 years. That artisan is still there to this day. Whilst I was in Italy I had what you would call a light bulb moment and I just knew that I had to bring this phenomenal gelato secret recipe to Australia!

In 2008 and after being bestowed the secret recipe by Gino’s family, Gino and I opened up the first Vulcano Store in Rye on Melbourne’s peninsula which has since been franchised and is owned and operated by my brother Vince Colombo.

 Have you ever done any studies or courses in gelato making? 

No, I learned it all hands on but of course, I make it my business to always stay abreast of the latest in the gelato and food industries and we are also constantly developing new concepts, flavours, etc.

Vulcano (Rye) was the pilot store and where the Vulcano Gelato brand, product and business operations were developed, finetuned and then franchised. Gino and I continue to be the driving force behind the ongoing development and growth.

I personally would make over 450 kilograms of gelato per day during peak season at the Vulcano (Rye) store! I didnt actually love working in the kitchen, but I loved watching other people love our gelato. I experienced firsthand, the phenomenal crowds lining up for our gelato. I am proud to say that many of our customers have a loyal following and continue to be avid fans.

How did you find out about the gelato world tour?

We keep our finger on the pulse of all things gelato but we initially heard about the GWT first through Facebook!

Why did you decide to enter the competition? 

Why not? We have a true following and even our customers have been urging us to enter!

What flavour have you entered in the competition and can you describe it? 

We have entered our very own iconic namesake signature flavour “Vulcano”. We describe it as being an eruption of layered flavours to blow your mind. Luscious, naughty and unpredictable, Vulcano will tantalise … tease … rumble and build you up to an orgasmic explosion! Gelato never tasted this hot.

Using our legendary 60+ year old secret recipe milk base, the Vulcano flavour that we have entered into the Gelato World Tour is made by hand and consists of 8 individual layers as follows:

1.       Chocolate Gelato using 99.9% cocoa

2.       Crockella  a mixture of cereals, hazelnuts, skimmed cocoa

3.       Toasted Hazelnut Gelato using 99% hazelnuts

4.       Crockella  a mixture of cereals, hazelnuts, skimmed cocoa

5.       Chocolate Gelato using 99.9% cocoa

6.       Crockella mixture of cereals, hazelnuts, skimmed cocoa

7.       Toasted Hazelnut Gelato using 99% hazelnuts

8.       Generous layer of liquid chocolate glaze

 Why did you choose to enter the Vulcano flavour as opposed to others that you have created?

While the foundations of the Vulcano gelato lie in Italy, we have developed many flavours in Australia. Our signature namesake flavour Vulcano was exclusively developed and created by Gino and I. It is not only reminiscent of our great love affair but also reflects our ongoing relationship personified by all the wonderful layers, textures and sensations.

What has been the reaction to the Vulcano flavour? 

The Vulcano flavour is the stand out favourite for most of our customers.

What do you think about the Gelato Word Tour?

We think it is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our brand as well as our infamous gelato. Its also an opportunity to let the rest of the world know that we have arrived. All the hard work has paid off.

 Who do you think is your biggest competition?

We believe Gelato Messina (who works directly with the Carpigiani group in Italy) would be our biggest competition.

What has been the highlight of your gelato career so far?

There have been many highlights. The whole learning process and building something grand that everyone can indulge in. Franchising our business and now, being chosen to compete in the GWT is a great honour and privilege.

Other than at the tour on the weekend, where can we taste your delicious creations?  

We have two Vulcano stores in Rye and in Moonee Ponds.

What is your favourite gelato flavour? 

Coffee is my usual choice but I must say, Vulcano is my sentimental favourite

The Gelato World Tour is on Friday (12.30 pm to 9.30 pm), Saturday (11.00 am to 9.30 pm) and Sunday (11.00 am to 7.00 pm) at Argyle Square in Carlton. 

Gelato World Tour Ribbon Cutting in Melbourne
Gelato World Tour Ribbon Cutting in Melbourne
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