Gelato — In A Convenient, Totable Bar

New Bar Gelato treats: Grapefruit, TCHO Chocolate and Blue Bottle Coffee.

From now on, I’m seriously going to have to put blinders on when I stroll past the freezer case at Whole Foods.

That’s because the supermarket chain has just started selling fabulous gelato bars by the Bay Area’s Naia that if left to my own devices, I could eat daily.

Forget those lickable ice cream bars of childhood, which were enjoyed mostly because of their creamy coolness, not their flavor. These gelato bars are made with primo, local ingredients including Oakland’s Blue Bottle Coffee, San Francisco’s TCHO Chocolate, Oakland’s Numi jasmine tea  and Alameda’s St. Georges Spirits single malt whiskey.

Yeah, I thought that would get your attention.

Gelateria Naia (pronounced “NIGH-ah”) was founded in Berkeley in 2002 by Chris Tan and Trevor Morris, world travelers who studied with artisan gelato makers in Italy. The two now have two retail scoop shops in Walnut Creek and San Francisco.

Unlike ice cream that is made mostly with cream, gelato is made mainly with milk. While ice cream has a legal minimum of 10 percent fat, gelato weighs in with 4 to 8 percent. Gelato is also churned at a lower speed, creating a denser texture.

Naia’s Bar Gelato offerings ($1.99 per 3-ounce bar) have some of the most intense flavors you’ll ever experience in a frozen confection. They’re all hand-made in small batches. Nine flavors are available: Pistachio, Blue Bottle Coffee, St. George Spirits Single Malt Whiskey, Nocciola (hazelnut), Madagascar Vanilla, TCHO Chocolate, Numi Jasmine, Kiwi Sorbetto, and Grapefruit Sorbetto.

The kiwi bar, made with fresh fruit (note all the seeds); and the fabulous St. George Single Malt Whiskey bar.

The sorbettos are dairy-free, with about 90 calories per bar. They are made with whole fresh fruit, too, not purees or frozen fruit. The kiwi one, made with fruit grown in California and New Zealand, is lovely green with plenty of real seeds in it. It tastes like pure kiwi to the 10th power.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite flavor, as the samples I tried recently were all incredible. The dairy-based bars run about 137 to 170 calories each. The whiskey one is downright wicked. Made with 10-year single malt whiskey, it’s got a sweet, malty, vanilla-y taste. With the milk added to it, it’s almost like a White Russian on a stick.

The Blue Bottle one has a very pronounced coffee flavor that’s super smooth. The TCHO one is like the best fudgesicle ever. The jasmine tea one is floral, almost like a milky Asian bubble tea without the bubbles. The pistachio bar is made with hand-roasted nuts from Fiddyment Farms in Lincoln, Calif., which have been in business for more than 40 years. Its texture is creamy, yet grainy from the massive amount of pulverized nuts in this bar, which is powerfully nutty and toasty tasting.

Look for the bars at stand-alone Bar Gelato freezer boxes in Whole Foods stores in Northern California. Then, just try to resist.

More: A Visit to St. George Spirits in Alameda

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Date: Friday, 17. June 2011 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chocolate, Fruit, General, Great Finds, New Products, Spirits/Cocktails/Beer

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  1. 1

    Oh my. A gelato-lover like me shall try those :D

  2. 2

    The pistachio bar was the most flavorful pistachio anything I’ve ever had! Truly wonderful, as was the chocolate bar. The Jasmine one was okay, but not worth a second go (luckily, since it’s already hard enough to resist the others, and I certainly don’t need more vices!). BTW: great photos, Carolyn!

  3. 3

    oh my gosh. i PRAY my whole foods has these. i am a gelato addict.

  4. 4

    Oh boy, must have been a tough day for you when you got the box of gelato bars to taste test. Poor you, hope you got a brain freeze! JK. I can’t decide if I’d rather have gelato fresh, and not frozen, but some of these flavors sound so interesting (i.e., whiskey, coffee, TCHO) that I may need to stock up my freezer for the summer!

  5. 5

    Great write up and photos! Gelateria Naia has a scoop shop in Berkeley in addition to the ones in Walnut Creek and SF. I always bring a mini cooler with ice packs to Whole Foods when I’m stocking up on Bar Gelato!

  6. 6

    I loved the jasmine and pistachio flavors….need to test the other flavors before I give the verdict. ;)

  7. 7

    omg..i love paletas!! perfect summer treat! thank you for sharing!


  8. 8

    Now , you got me excited! I hope I am able to find them. :) thanks.

  9. 9

    Geez, I wish you hadn’t told me about these!

  10. 10

    Mmmm I wonder if I’ll find a Whole Foods near where my mom lives this summer?

  11. 11

    I wonder if they import these all the way to NYC! I hope so because I really want to try one!

  12. 12

    Yet again I say (with all due affection, of course) “D@mn you, Carolyn Jung!”

  13. 13

    I’m glad I didn’t read this post before I went to WF today – these look like a summer must-have!

  14. 14

    Oh I can’t wait to try these, especially since they are pretty low in calories. I’m all over the TCHO choc & Blue Bottle Coffee! I just love Whole Foods.

  15. 15

    This new gelato bar development is going to be so so dangerous for me! I cannot decide which flavor I want to try first. I tell you, your food news is making me more and more happy to be heading back to Berkeley soon:)

  16. 16

    I’m not much of a whiskey drinker but you’ve sold me on the whiskey one! :D

  17. 17

    Ditto on the whiskey! That’s a great flavor to serve in a frozen bar.

  18. 18

    I’m wishing these would find their way to our Whole Foods stores. In this heat, I need a constant supply of frozen treats, and these options sound fantastic!

  19. 19

    […] Other Cool Treats: Bar Gelato […]

  20. 20

    Oh, I wish this was a national Whole Foods treat! I’m totally jealous of anyone that has eaten the pistachio bar. I’m coo coo for pistachio!

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