View Full Version : Locally made gelato comes to downtown eateries

04-15-2009, 08:52 AM
The Journal Record - Article (

Bringing Italian delicacy to downtown
by Kelley Chambers
The Journal Record April 15, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY – When she’s not doing people’s taxes, Luciana Simmons can be found making a popular Italian treat in her Norman bakery.

Five years ago Simmons decided to learn how to make gelato, a silky Italian ice cream she first tasted in Venice.“I knew it was too good to leave over there,” Simmons said.

But to make gelato in Oklahoma, she couldn’t just pick up the needed supplies at the corner market. True gelato is made using a special machine and supplies from Italy.

Simmons bought her equipment and flavoring components from Italian company Carpigiana. The company offers a three-day training session at its American office in North Carolina, taught by a master gelato maker from Italy.
During the course Simmons learned the basics of making gelato, but perfecting it took time.

“Everything else you learn as you go,” she said.

Simmons’ gelato kitchen is in a space at the La Baguette bakery in Norman, where she began making gelato under the name Bella Crema Gelato.
Once she felt confident in her product, she took the show on the road.
The majority of Simmons’ business is at spring and summer events, such as Norman’s Medieval Fair and the Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City. She will have her stand at the arts festival next week.

“A lot of people come from downtown offices to the arts festival to eat lunch,” she said. “They always ask ‘where can I get this?’ and now I can point them over to the Buzz.”

The Buzz coffee shop, at 120 N. Robinson Ave. in the First National Center, has started selling scoops of Simmons’ handmade gelato.
Buzz owner Tim Sisson said response has been good, and many have been pleasantly surprised to find gelato available downtown.

“I wanted to be the only guy downtown with gelato,” he said. “If people like gelato and know what it is, they want to try this.”

The supplies and labor that go into gelato makes it more expensive than mass-produced ice cream.

Sisson sells one six-ounce scoop for about $3 and two scoops for $5.
“It costs more because I bring in my products from Italy and I hand-make each batch,” Simmons said. “And I only use natural flavors.”
Gelato is denser than American ice cream and is made with milk rather than cream, which substantially lowers the fat content.

“People think they need a big scoop but they don’t,” Simmons said.
Simmons makes 20 flavors and can make a batch at a customer’s request. She can make a gallon of gelato in about 10 minutes and at peak times produces 20 to 40 gallons per week.

One of her biggest-selling flavors is called Gianduia, a chocolate-hazelnut variety that tastes like the creamy hazelnut spread Nutella.
“That’s the most popular by far,” Sisson said.

The Buzz also carries Simmons’ Caffe Stracciatella, a coffee-chocolate chip gelato, and plain vanilla.

Now in her fifth year in the gelato business, Simmons still does all the work herself.

“It’s an entire one-woman business,” she said. “I do everything from make the ice cream to mop the floors.”

Each year she has added more fairs and festivals around the state, but doesn’t plan to quit her day job as a certified public accountant.
Last year she upgraded from a canopy to a brightly painted red and yellow trailer adorned with her logo to take the gelato to events.

“I have a roof over my head now,” she said. “I’m not just hunkering under an umbrella.”

04-15-2009, 10:31 AM
never tried simmons gelato, but the dolce gelato in moore, is great, and i mean great.