The Fatamorgana Gelato shops in Rome, Italy have topped many best-of lists, including our very own Top 5 Best Gelato Shops in Rome. Fatamorgana Gelato is revered not only in Italy but worldwide, which is why the United States considers itself lucky to have one of the franchise’s shops in California. Alessandro Jacchia, CEO of ARALKA Corp. and representative of the Fatamorgana in Studio City, Los Angeles loves sharing the shop’s unique creations with Americans. He is also excited to announce the opening of a second Fatamorgana in Beverly Hills in July 2019.
“The reception has been very good,” Jacchia says. “Differently from Italy, there is an enormous variety of desserts. An Italian knows that eating dessert is only gelato. Here you have gelato, ice cream, frozen yogurt, muffins, cupcakes, and many, many other kinds of things. That being said, it was a big surprise the passion our clients [have]. We decided to buy the massive franchise for this product in Los Angeles in 2016 and we opened the first manufacturing plant in ‘17.”
The name, Fatamorgana, translates into English as “mirage.” Perhaps it is named that because it seems too good to be true, or maybe it’s because of the extremely imaginative nature of the flavors that come from their vision. The Fatamorgana in Studio City carries 66 flavors each day out of 350 possible recipes. 26 of those flavors are vegan and the entire line is gluten-free. And the Studio City gelato shop doesn’t just bring its clientele the best of Italy (like pistachios straight from Bronte, Sicily); it has introduced an entirely new world of flavor, importing ingredients from all over the world.
“We adapted to the cultures that are here in L.A.,” Jacchia explains. “We have certain flavors that are inspired by Asian communities, Persian communities, Mexican communities. There is one [flavor], for instance, that is called Chamoy. Chamoy is something that every kid in Mexico will have immediately after school. Chamoy is made of tamarind. So we do tamarind with a little bit of lemon and a little bit of chili and it’s a spicy-sweet mixture that would never fly in Italy. But here, we’re responding to the public so we’re adapting with creative recipes.
"The way we manufacture this gelato is exceptional because we don’t follow the
“To give you an example,” he continues, “in Italy you don’t have ripe avocados. In Italy, you don’t have a lot of the tropical fruits that come from Mexico or South America. We make traditional flavors and some exotic and novelty flavors. We always have at least 14 chocolates at the same time. People go nuts with it.”
A few of the chocolate flavors that Fatamorgana Studio City has on hand are Rosemary Chocolate, Orange Chocolate, Wasabi Chocolate, and Single Malt Whiskey Chocolate. But no matter how outlandish the flavor, they always use the same traditional Italian process for making gelato: real ingredients, from scratch.
“We do everything from scratch without any sort of bases or semi-processed or processed bases,” Jacchia says. “Additives, thickeners, emulsifiers, conservation agents, colorants, flavorizers—we don’t use any of that. That’s 98 percent of anybody who does gelato or ice cream in this country. The way we manufacture this gelato is exceptional because we don’t follow the common way.”
Gelato also has much less air than ice cream and only a small percentage of the fat. That’s what makes it so dense and flavorful.
“That is the reason that if you go into an ice cream store, you will find the ice cream store loaded with toppings, because the ice cream has very little flavor, in fact. Gelato stores don’t have toppings. Ice cream uses cream, gelato uses milk. From that comes the texture. To make this, once upon a time you had chefs that would make the recipes to create this product by using milk, honey, sugar, fruits, nuts, chocolates, herbs and spices. Today, [people] go out and buy tubs of base, dried milk and thickeners, and tubs of paste. The majority of what you buy at the supermarket is made with chemicals. It never sees vanilla, chocolate, fruits—it only sees flavorings. The higher end [stores] still use the bases and the pastes, but sometimes to make it more potent they use some real marmalades or fruits or nuts to enhance the product. Very few in the whole United States make their products like it was done once upon a time, from scratch.”
Fatamorgana has managed to keep the fairytale alive and well, using only natural ingredients and hard work. This gelato brand clings to the old Italian ways while bringing their dessert into the future. The Fatamorgana shops in Los Angeles also provide customers with the taste of authentic imported Italian Coffee.
So what makes the incredible expenses and hard labor worth it? Jacchia says, “Seeing the smiles on my clients faces.”