We started making gelato in 2002 in a little shop on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, California. Because of our success there, we grew to open stores in San Francisco and Walnut Creek as well. But we didn’t just add stores. We also began to take the process of making gelato a lot more seriously.
In the beginning, we imported the very same ingredients that the gelaterias in Italy use. The problem was those authentic ingredients were cans of goo and bags of powder. Believe it or not, cans of goo and bags of powder is how most gelato in Italy is made. In a sense, that had sadly become the authentic Italian way to make gelato. Here in Northern California, we are surrounded by high quality, local ingredients. Why buy pistachio goo from Italy when amazing pistachios are grown right here in California?
Starting with Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker in 2004 we began crafting our own flavors and forging new friendships. Today, our ingredients are almost exclusively grown or made in Northern California. For us, local isn’t just a marketing gimmick. We work directly with people who also craft their own product. Lance and Dave at St George Spirits taught us how to better incorporate alcohol into our gelato. Brad at TCHO Chocolate taught us about source ingredients. Michael Recchiuti encouraged creativity. James at Blue Bottle inspired us to create a new process for making coffee gelato and ice cream. Tom and Mike at Semifreddi’s gave us confidence in our business. And the list of local partners continues to grow.
Our gelato production for the foodservice market grew by a leap in 2007 when we began selling our gelato to Whole Foods Market. In 2011 we launched our first grocery product, Bar Gelato, which became an instant hit. By 2014 we were selling Bar Gelato in over 300 locations and we were getting pretty good at driving all over Northern California in our freezer trucks. This led us to start a new business segment to deliver not only our own products but other small and medium sized ice cream brands. NaiaDSD now carries over 100 different frozen dessert items.
Our growing experience and expertise in making and formulating gelato and ice cream products has led to our work in creating, improving and growing other ice cream brands including St Benoît Creamery, Clover-Stornetta Farms, and New Barn.