It’s called the Gelatoccino, and it’s available in Casa Italia Cafe.
When it comes to quality coffee and a place to hang, medicine and law students are probably the early adopters in this category. We usually see them in Starbucks, nestled in a tight corner of the shop, a Venti on the table, highlighting their thick books, typing their reports. Curiously, a few of these early adopters have found a different nook, still plowing through their books, but enjoying – what in my very honest opinion – is a way better drink.
Singapore-Based Coffee and Gelato Franchise
Casa Italia Cafe is a franchise of Singapore’s Gelateria Italia 1962. The coffee and gelato place was founded by Fox Hardegger and his wife, an Italian couple that moved and eventually settled in Singapore. In 2014, Casa Italia Philippines CEO Jay Tan and his wife met the Hardeggers, expressing their desire to bring Gelateria Italia to the Philippines. Other business groups from the Philippines have also shown interest in bringing the brand to Manila, so Jay wrote to Fox an essay about his vision of Casa Italia.
“At that time, [the Hardeggers] were planning to expand their brand into a full-service restaurant, but rent in Singapore is very expensive, so they did not commit to it just yet,” Jay told me as I happily sipped on my Dark Truffle Gelatoccino. “Even without talking about it, Fox and I had the same vision; it was the reason he awarded us the franchise. The BGC branch was the first Casa Italia restaurant cafe; the amazement of the Hardeggers when they visited was indescribable.” Their vision fulfilled, Gelateria Italia was officially renamed Casa Italia.
So what makes Casa Italia’s gelato a cut above the rest? “Most gelato shops here use a lot of sugar and artificial colors and flavors,” said Jay. “We only use natural ingredients sourced from around the world mixed into our fresh [cream] base.” Casa Italia’s bestselling dark truffle is made with Valrhona chocolate from France, as most of their chocolate-flavored gelato are. Their pistachios are sourced from Sicily, and their macadamias from Ecuador.
Casa Italia refrains from using unnecessary sugar in their gelato. If need be, they prefer to use honey over sugar. Their must-try pistachio gelato is a testament to this: a full, nutty flavor without a hint of artificial sweetness. A personal recommendation is their Forest Berries, a sour medley of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Quirky must-tries include their durian gelato and their green mango gelato topped with bagoong!
With 50 flavors to choose from – some of which are infused with alcohol – you’re bound to find that scoop you’ll fall in love with.
That’s what makes the Gelatoccino such a clear winner. Instead of blending cold-brewed coffee with powder, milk, and ice, full-bodied coffee is blended with scoopfuls of gelato, resulting in a remarkably smooth, consistent blended drink. While they have a list of recommended flavors, Case Italia lets you choose from any of their gelato flavors to be blended for your Gelatoccino. They also have their dairy-based Gelato Frappe for non-coffee drinkers. Among the must-tries, their Dark Truffle Gelatoccino is a dark chocolate lover’s dream come true, while their After 8 Gelato Frappe is a fresh, minty pick-me-upper without the caffeine. The best part: Grande is only 190 pesos!