Ciao Bella's New Novelties Debut in Time for Summer

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Ciao Bella, "America's Gelato," recently introduced Belgian chocolate s'mores and blueberry passion sorbet bars. The novelties retail for $4.99 to $5.99 a box.

The Belgian chocolate s'mores have a staple graham cracker outside, which, as one might imagine with a frozen product, was a little soft and crumbly around the edges. They come four to a box; each square is 88 grams. The chocolate gelato might not be as smooth and soft as that found in a gelateria, but it is tasty, creamy, and satisfying. The swirls of marshmallow are a tease.

The blueberry passion sorbet bars -- three 75-gram pops per box -- are a refreshing combination of flavors of the aforementioned fruits, which contain antioxidants.

"Antioxidants," the creator of this treat proclaims, "have been linked with anti-aging, anti-cancer, and heart-health benefits. Blueberries and lemons are highest in antioxidant capacity per serving because of the high content of vitamin C and anthocyanin."

There is good fruit flavor (without being too tart) and a soft, vivid consistency. Perhaps aiding in achieving that consistency is the use of tapioca syrup as opposed to corn syrup. The tapioca syrup "is a natural, clean, starch that is used to add thaw stability in frozen application, because of its binding capability and ice crystal inhibition it helps the texture and the mouth feel in the finish product," says Chef Zecchin. Fat free and dairy free, another plus is that each bar is only 70 calories.

Zecchin lent an idea of the process. "After the brainstorming of ideas takes place, it can be a week or months, depending on if we are able to find the right ingredient that fits the quality and standard that our products require... After that, I work to define the flavor, intensity, personality, balance. That for me is still the key point. When I control the structure of the new product, I will need to work in the final appearance detail and the technical issue related to the logistic of production." And we just care if it tastes good.

So what are some of the products that never made it out of the kitchen? Zecchin shared, "Something too extreme like 'Pears and Gorgonzola Cheese Sorbet' or 'Mustard Gelato.' Or (something) too expensive like a 'Persimmon Sorbet' or 'Matsuke Mushroom Gelato.'"

Ciao Bella's products can be found locally at The Fresh Market and Whole Foods. You can check online for a store near you.

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