The Wonderful, Italian Ice Cream Flavors of The Vermont Gelato Company

This is the first in a two-part article series about Southern Vermont resident Peter Solley. A renowned musician and record producer – having performed and worked with such bands as Procol Harum, Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Motorhead and The Romantics - Peter now resides in Southern Vermont and owns his own specialty food company called The Vermont Gelato Company, which produces a gourmet line of the smooth, Italian-style ice cream flavors.


Article by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of The Vermont Gelato Company

BRATTLEBORO, VERMONT – Peter Solley has created two uniquely different ways of make a living in his lifetime and in fact, two entities you would not normally connect; professional musician/record producer and gourmet ice cream producer. As for being involved in the music industry as a keyboardist and producer for over 30 years, we'll save that story for the second article in this series, as we now take a look at The Vermont Gelato Company.

It all started when Solley and his wife made the decision to leave the faster life of South Florida and move to “the most beautiful, natural and progressive state in the union”... Vermont. “We came to Vermont from Florida in 2002 after buying a property in Newfane as a summer home,” Solley said in a recent Standing Room Only interview. “However, the more we stayed here the more we liked it and in 2005, we moved to Vermont full-time.”

Once in the Green Mountain State permanently, Peter and his wife decided to open the Newfane Cafe & Creamery and this is where Peter began producing gelato from scratch, utilizing fresh, local ingredients. Although the cafe would be phased out of their plans after a year, the popularity of the Solley's homemade gelato continued to grow.

“We thought our gelato would be a nice addition when we opened up the cafe,” Peter said. “I had been making gelato at home for a while and after we sold out and cut ties with our partner at the cafe, I attended a course in New York to hone my skills and then went to work. We started to make our gelato for local restaurants and a few stores in the Brattleboro, Vermont area.”

As The Vermont Gelato Company's business continued to increase, the Solley's decided to take the next step and acquired a space at the Cotton Mill in Brattleboro, while also purchasing a much larger gelato machine in order to increase production. “The gelato took on a life of its own and over a few years time, we went from operating one dipping cabinet in Newfane, to a full production facility in Brattleboro with a concentration on selling wholesale pints to restaurant suppliers throughout three states.”

Vermont Gelato is only manufactured with local, natural ingredients including milk from Vermont cows. They are also licensed through the Vermont Dairy Department as a “milk handler,” allowing for their gelato to be created from scratch with an in-house pasteurizer that meets federal standards. Each small batch of gelato is made from their own recipe which includes fresh ingredients from Vermont, as well as genuine ingredients direct from Italy. “Our recipes, however, are a secret and if I told you... I'd have to kill you,” Peter added with a wink and chuckle.

“We believe that you can taste the difference in our artisan gelato, a genuine Vermont essence of whole ingredients including fresh organic fruits and milk from grass-fed cows. Of course, we also use a Carpigiani Italian gelato batch freezer to achieve the genuine article, a large, heavy machine that is traditionally used to freeze the gelato base.”

Vermont Gelato's reputation and customer base continues to expand and several fine restaurants and retail stores throughout Brattleboro and the surrounding area are now carrying the gourmet ice cream, which includes some 40 flavors such as Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Apple, Peppermint Crunch, Mango, Root Beer Float and Guinness. “Our best seller is Fresh Ginger, created with fresh-juiced raw ginger and completely unique, as far as I know. Our Fig Brulee is also quite popular... fig gelato with burnt bits of sugar glaze mixed in... very decadent. (Editor's note: Sounds delicious!)

“We are expanding the wholesale part of the business and adding more outlet stores every month,” Peter concluded. “We are in roughly 30 stores and adding dipping cabinets in several new locations and high-end restaurants. It is amazing how this has taken off without any advertising or public relations. It's growing organically and at a manageable pace. I can see us growing expediently over the next few years and I personally, take great pride in our growth.... this second career for me; first as a music producer and now a gelato company. Both are great art forms.”

To learn more about the many flavors and where you can purchase gelato from The Vermont Gelato Company, please visit their website at www.vermontgelato.com. Please watch for part two of this article series, coming soon to Standing Room Only