With a beaming smile, the Italian Silvia Martinelli welcomes customers to the newly opened Vasa Vasa Gelateria in Abu Dhabi’s Al Muneera residences, inside a shop surrounded by the stunning view of Al Raha Beach.
She says the philosophy behind Vasa Vasa, a concept gelato store born in Milan, is creating products made of 100 per cent natural ingredients.
“The ice cream is imported from Italy. We have our own factory in Italy in which we import the raw materials available worldwide,” says Martinelli, Vasa Vasa’s manager.
“After a long period of research and experimentation in Italy, we finally came up with the decision to open a branch in the UAE.”
Before opening the shop, Martinelli, 39, says she must have visited and taste-tested all the ice cream shops in the UAE. “I’m confident that Vasa Vasa is different in taste and flavour,” she says.
A component that contributes to the quality of Vasa Vasa’s ice cream is the type of machine the shop uses for production: one by the Italian manufacturer Cattabriga that’s said to make ice cream softer and creamier than other machines.
Vasa Vasa serves chocolate, vanilla, pistachio and hazelnut flavours. There’s also a cassata variant, inspired by the traditional Sicilian dessert that features candied or dried fruit and nuts. The shop also offers baked goods and Italian coffee.
“Pistachio is often displayed as a super-green ice cream in shops,” says Martinelli. “But we serve the original pistachio that comes in a light yellow colour.”
Some customers have asked her about the different colour, she says. “I explained to them that it’s because we do not add any artificial ingredients.”
Mostly, though, she’s received a positive response. She says that a few days ago, an Emirati woman told Martinelli: “The taste transports me back to Italy.”
Martinelli adds: “I have customers who buy ice cream here every day. It makes me extremely happy when I hear the ‘mmm’ sound while they’re eating the product.”
Vasa Vasa has two shops in Milan and three in Singapore. There are plans to open a branch in Dubai soon.
• Vasa Vasa Gelateria is located in Al Muneera, Abu Dhabi. Each scoop of gelato costs Dh17. For details, call 02 555 6484. It delivers from 4pm to 8pm daily. For more information on the Vasa Vasa franchise, visit www.vasavasa.it