In Bologna, Italy, lies the famous Gelato University. Students of all ages, from all over the world, come to this institute to learn the craft of gelato and ice cream making. Some are learning this culinary art for the first time, in the hope of establishing a startup, while others are brushing up their skills so that they may add the dessert to the menus of their cafés and restaurants.
Attending classes in the morning, followed by lab sessions, the students learn everything there is to learn about gelato. It was after a few vigorous weeks spent learning how to perfect the recipe, the husband and wife duo, Natasha and Shahab returned to Lahore, their home city, and opened a soft serve ice cream shop, interestingly called Frosti.
Their tiny Italian themed takeaway outlet stands distinctively separate from the rest of the eateries in the market. Clearly influenced by the country they learnt the craft in, the exterior of the shop resembles that of a house in Italy with bright blue shutters painted on the walls, which is eye catching to the passersby.
There is a takeaway counter, and a tiny space in front of the shop, just enough to host two benches on a raised platform. There is a blackboard on one of the walls, which displays the menu. It ranges from different flavours of ice cream, various sauces to ice cream being served in a waffle cone. Their most ‘expensive’ product is the cake ice cream sundae, which costs Rs150 only.
Frosti came into being after Shahab read an article that mentioned the university. He became obsessed with the idea of learning how to make gelato, and after deciding to finally take the plunge, he and Natasha travelled to Italy in the summer of 2016 to attend the course that would allow them to open up their own gelato shop. Italy seemed like the perfect place to learn the skill, as it is this region which is the hub of gelato making.
The couple already had a passion for making gelato, but once they graduated from the course they decided to come back to Lahore and open up their ice cream shop. “I think that’s the educated way to go about it,” Natasha said.
Shahab, who also has a day job, decided to start with a takeaway ice cream spot in Defence, H Block, where this sort of an eatery existed already. He has bigger plans, and hopes to establish multiple locations not only in the city but all over the country.
Initially, Frosti was open for two hours a day only, but then they expanded their operations. They plan on doing this by introducing new ice cream based desserts.
Frosti mainly sells gelato, which is a relatively healthier dessert, consisting of less sugar and fat. It also has a homemade ‘touch’ to it.
This seems to go along with the rest of their theme which has a personal touch to it too — even their waffles are handmade, and Natasha bakes the cakes at home that go alongside the ice cream sundae.
Their menu, although simple and limited, stands separate from their competitors, using top-tier ingredients. Their focus is on quality items at low prices.
As personalised as Frosti is, I do hope that they introduce other options catering for those with special dietary needs, such as gelato made out of specific ingredients for the lactose-intolerant people, or sugar-free gelato for the diabetic or obese.