A different kind of cool
Gelato chef DeGiovanni finds her niche in Oconomowoc

By Josh Perttunen - Enterprise Staff

April 17, 2014

Marina Degiovanni makes the gelato at Golosi Gelato, using closely-guarded recipes
and plenty of native Italian charm.   

Josh Perttunen/Enterprise Staff

OCONOMOWOC - Golosi Gelato in Oconomowoc serves as a reminder that the right kind of cold can still be a treat for everyone. It can be a spoonful of cool chocolate gelato on a warm summer day. Or it can be the taste of the tropical during mid-winter, as creamy coconut gelato melts like snowflakes on the tongue.

For the past eight years, creating the sweet treat has been the calling of owner Marina DeGiovanni, who moved to the area from northwest Italy 18 years ago, along with her family.

In her home country, her dad, Antonio Da Rin Puppel Gadetta, owned a gelato business as a young man, but couldnít keep up with the expensive technological advances as the industry shifted to mass production.

When DeGiovanni decided to open her own gelato store in the U.S., after being unable to find quality gelato, she aimed to capture that same authentic experience. She does have machines that can make it easier than it was for her father, but she rejects the notion of allowing industry to influence her processes.

Gelato really started to catch on in the U.S. a decade ago, DiGiovanni said. She talked to the Enterprise about the authentic Italian flavor she brings to Oconomowoc.


ENTERPRISE: How does gelato differ from ice cream?

DEGIOVANNI: Itís less frozen than ice cream; there is less air. This allows for intense flavors that last longer.


ENTERPRISE: What goes into making gelato? And what makes good gelato?

DEGIOVANNI:  Gelato is fresh milk, whipping cream, sugar and a stabilizing agent. We make it the traditional way here; I donít use an industrial mixer. Some places make it with water and a pre-mix; we donít do that here.

And we use fresh ingredients. Ingredients such as hazelnuts, pistachios and almonds are imported from Italy.

Everything about gelato is in the taste, not how it looks. Sometimes it looks fabulous, but doesnít taste fabulous. For example, the gelato shouldnít be piled high in the displays. That exposes it to more air, which affects the taste and the quality. The gelato should sit low in the display.

I encourage my customers to go to try other gelatorias and taste the difference. Good gelato is creamy, while bad gelato will have a sandy or icy texture.


ENTERPRISE: What flavors do you have? Do you like to experiment and create new ones?

DEGIOVANNI: There are 36 flavors on display, but I have more than 100 recipes overall. I like to come up with new flavors each summer. Everything is my own personal recipe; I have it in a recipe book that I keep with me at all times. There are blank pages for new flavors.


ENTERPRISE: What is your favorite flavor?

DEGIOVANNI:  My favorite is chocolate. I like all of them, but I always put chocolate first.


ENTERPRISE: What can you tell us about the gelatorias in Italy?

DEGIOVANNI: If customers are going to Italy, I tell them to look for gelato in the suburban areas, not the tourist areas. There could be five gelatorias on the same street in Italy, (all with gelato that is made in a more industrial way.)


ENTERPRISE: Do customers tell you that hearing your accent adds to the experience?

DEGIOVANNI:  They tell me that they love when my husband and I talk in Italian while at the shop. Some look at us with open mouths. Some ask me to say something to them in Italian.

Email: Jperttunen@conleynet.com