Many would say ice cream, or gelato, is a way of life. It has been a go-to dessert in my family for decades and a permanent offering even before the reality hit that gluten was not my friend. I was sure however, that ice cream would still be a safe sweet treat and easy to source, given its presence on almost every restaurant menu. But sadly, ice cream, like so many other things, often contains hidden gluten and other allergens. This should not be the case though, DeLepel Dolci & Gelati founder Massimo Caroti told me. “Real gelato does not call for grains, gluten or a lot of the other unpronounceable ingredients we see on so many labels today,” he said.
Massimo, a self-taught Italian gelato artist who moved to Amsterdam one year ago, set out to create an entirely natural gelateria and that is most certainly what he has done. Located on Ceintuurbaan in the trendy Brooklyn-esque De Pijp neighbourhood, DeLepel opened its doors to gelato enthusiasts on April 1, 2017. Already a hit with Amsterdam residents and foreign visitors alike, the up-and-coming gelateria is by default entirely gluten and processed ingredient free, thanks to the way in which this all-natural gelato is prepared. This was no easy task however, taking Massimo two months to locate a chemical-free cream for the base of his gelato alone.
DeLepel currently offers up to 24 different flavours of ice cream and dairy-free sorbet, six of which change on a weekly basis depending on seasonal availability and creative urge. The gelateria also produces a number of chilled gluten free desserts, including tiramisu. “A lot of gluten free and dairy free customers will come into the shop and their positive reaction is what makes this job even more special for me,” Massimo said, adding that his history with allergies and intolerances was part of the motivation behind his project. He described being angry or upset when cross-contamination was not taken seriously in the past. “This results in people having to miss out on delicious things,” Massimo said.
The proof of Massimo’s hard work really is in the product and the overall experience you have when inside DeLepel. I knew upon entering that I was in wonderful hands and did not hold back when ordering a double cone, filled with classic chocolate and Italian custard flavoured ice creams. The gelato was rich, fragrant and not overbearingly sweet, accompanied perfectly by a crunchy gluten free cone.
I would urge any of you reading this to put DeLepel high up on your must-visit list for Amsterdam. However, I am sure that you will be seeing this name in other cities across the Netherlands in the not too distant future. This hard-working five-person team and the fabulous ice cream they produce are sure to go far.
DeLepel: Ceintuurbaan 320, 1072 GP Amsterdam, Netherlands
Black and White Photo Credits: Phil Yisrael