'Happiness in a cone': Kentish Town gelateria shortlisted for prestigious award
- Credit: Caliendo's Gelato
Less than two years after opening, a beloved LGBT-owned gelateria based in Kentish Town has been shortlisted for a prestigious food award.
Caliendo’s Gelato on Kentish Town Road is set to compete against major brands such as Aldi and Asda in the Quality Food Awards for the best ice cream flavour.
Long-term couple Michelina Caliendo-Sear, 39, and Fiona Bell, 51, described their success as “surreal”, having opened the gelateria in late 2019 to continue a 150-year-old family legacy of gelato making.
Michelina, whose family emigrated to north London from Italy, told the Ham&High: “It’s in the blood. Every generation in my family had been a gelato maker except me, so I decided it was very important to resurrect the family tradition.”
Caliendo’s became an instant hit in Kentish Town, with customers from all over London queuing for up to 45 minutes during the first lockdown.
Discussing what makes Caliendo’s special, Fiona said: “The experience for the customer is as important as the quality of the gelato.
"People come in and they get that affordable luxury. We like to make sure everyone leaves the gelateria beaming – that little bit of happiness in a cone is what we’re aiming for.
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“Thank you to all our customers. Without that constant support, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing.
"Keep coming in and keep supporting local businesses.”
The parlour was shortlisted for the Quality Food Awards after a panel of more than 50 judges highly commended Caliendo's Bronte Pistachio ice-cream.
According to Michelina, the flavour is so popular that customers are no longer allowed to buy more than half a litre of it at a time.
With 59 glowing online reviews, Caliendo’s boasts a stellar 4.8-star rating on Google, with one customer writing: “Just had my mind blown by the best gelato I've had in years. Light years better than anything else I've tried in this city.”
Caliendo’s Bronte Pistachio is one of seven ice cream flavours shortlisted for the award, but is the only family-run local business in its category.
Competing products are judged on a variety of elements, including the quality of ingredients used and value for money, as well as the food’s flavour and texture.
Winners of the Quality Food Awards will be announced in an online ceremony on the week commencing November 15.