We are often asked how we come up with all of our flavors. The inspiration comes from many places, dinner out at a restaurant, seeing a product in a grocery store, even a regular cookbook. Our favorite inspiration comes from when we meet another local food artisan and collaborate on a flavor or two.
Our first collaboration was with John Scharffenberger at Scharffen Berger Chocolates back in 2004. More recent collaborations include working with James Freeman at Blue Bottle Coffee, Michael Recchiuti at Recchiuti Confections, the team at TCHO Chocolates and Ahmed Raheem at Numi Tea.
Our current collaboration is with Semifreddi’s Hand-Crafted Bread & Pastries.
Here’s the story:
We were exhibiting our gelato at the Fancy Food Show this past January and a friendly man yelled at us from down the aisle, “Hey, Naia! I love you guys.” I said I loved him too and asked who he was. That is how we met Tom Frainier, of Semifreddi’s. We talked about bread, gelato and the Bay Area food scene. We told him we wanted to do a gelato with bread in it and he thought we were crazy. We liked him right away.
Tom and his brother-in-law, Michael, invited us to tour around their beautiful new facility in Alameda. Michael and Tom are not only smart and clever, but wise. We learned a lot from them that day. We also shared some really nasty gossip that I can’t repeat, as much as I would love to.
We left with a huge assortment of their products to experiment with and try to craft a few flavors out of. They still thought we were crazy about the bread and gelato idea. Chris and I took all of the samples back to our kitchen and tasted and tested. We chopped and blended, cut and diced, froze and thawed and tasted some more. It was pretty obvious to us that Semifreddi’s was going to work really well for us.
Our first go-around back at Semifreddi’s was fun. People were eager to see what we had made. We discussed the 14 flavors we brought and narrowed a few things down. They were impressed and surprised that gelato and bread do go together quite nicely.
The second tasting at Semifreddi’s was used to pick the final recipes for the new flavors. Finally, we got all the Cinnamon Twist Bread, Biscotti and other ingredients we would need and got down to business. On a sunny and hot Friday Cinnamon Twist Gelato hit our stores, and sold out. Now Biscotti is there, too, and soon it will be followed by more Semifreddi’s surprises.