Sigona’s + Gelato Massimo – the rest of the story
Pulling into the parking lot of the Gelato Massimo factory in Watsonville may make you wonder where Massimo keeps all his amazing sorbet and gelato creations, but this is new 3,000 sq ft. building is where all the magic happens. What’s behind the doors could be considered a “Wonkaworld” filled with any flavor of gelato or sorbet imaginable.
While his gelato tastes like it’s crafted by the hand of someone who has made gelato all his life, Massimo Caporale hasn’t always been a master gelato-teer. Massimo, originally from Padua, Italy, was educated in hotel and hospitality management and began his professional years as a pastry chef. Massimo also, by way of curiosity, is a former hang glider and catamaran sailmaker in Italy, and even lead the Italian national hang gliding team.
After 25 years in the water and sky sporting business, Massimo was hungry for change, and took on an apprenticeship with a true Italian gelato maker. Long story short, Massimo soon had a new skill under his belt and found himself debating a move to start a gelato business in a new location. Because of a suggestion from an acquaintance with a brochure from Santa Cruz, Calif., Massimo, in January 1987, packed up his belongings and headed to the California coast, determined to open a gelato business in an area where local ice cream makers dominated the world of sweet treats.
The gelato production room, which lies down a corridor just beyond the giant freezer (kept at -10◦ F) is practically clutter free with only a few pieces of machinery lining the walls. Making gelato and sorbet is actually a relatively easy process and requires few tools. An entire batch (28 pints) literally ta kes only 5-10 minutes and is packed by hand right out of the machine. The recipe, flavor development and tests, tests and more tests, though, require a great deal of time and effort.
Gelato flavors are not created over night an d Massimo has the recipes perfected to the exact measurement and ingredient to ensure each pint’s flavor, right down to the delicate and creamy goodness of the mix, is consistent with the next.
To help ensure flavor consistency, Massi mo chooses only the best ingredients. Some of his base ingredients, such as essences and flavors including lemon, hazelnut, coffee and mango paste are straight from Italy to stay true to bring the authentic Italian-gelato style. Most of the fruits though are sourced from local farmers, including heirloom Blenheim apricots or figs from Fresno.
Besides the fantastic taste, one of the best things about gelato is that it is remarkably low in fat; with a half cup serving having as many calories as a large banana (the sorbets are even lower.) By comparison an equal sized serving of Haagen-Dazs ice cream has twice the calories, half of which come from fat.
Sigona’s is excited about developing new and exclusive flavors with Massimo and we are, as always, appreciative of his partnership and our relationship.