My friends can attest how much I love ice cream. They always scold me for eating too much of it! One friend suggested I try gelato because she was told "it’s like eating healthy ice cream." I have since enjoyed the occasional scoop or two, until a week I was told I was not eating "real" gelato. I went back to eating ice cream, but was careful in choosing the brands, picking homemade ones over popular brands, while I wait for an authentic gelato brand to come along.
I was so thrilled when Bono Artisanal Gelato finally opened. They have a wide variety of flavors to choose from, but my personal favorite is the Chunky Ube. Ube has always been my favorite flavor, which means I pretty much have tried all sorts of ube flavored ice cream or gelato. By far, Bono’s version is the best for me. You can taste all of the flavors you want in every spoonful, something absent from other brands wherein I end up eating a pint just to get satisfied. In Bono, one scoop (two if you feel like indulging) is enough to send you home happy.
I am lucky that Chef Zarah Zaragoza-Manikan is one of my best friends, so I personally know how much hard work is put daily to ensure that whatever is served is the real deal and nothing less. For you out there who want to know more, Bono’s Rea Gomez-Harrow zeroes in on seven things you need to know about Bono.
What does 'Bono' mean?
"BONO" was derived from "Buono" which means good or great in Italian. It is a proudly Philippine made brand.
What makes a real gelato, and why is Bono considered a real gelato? What makes you different from the other gelato shops in the country?
We are the first truly authentic Italian gelato brand in the Philippines. We make all our gelato from scratch with fresh ingredients. We use real Italian machines & technology from Cattabriga & Carpigiani brands. We learned from real Italian Maestro Gelatieres. We also studied in the world-renowned Carpigiani Gelato University, and regularly consult with Maestro Gelatieres from Italy. Maestro Gelatieres, in the gelato world, are considered the "Top Chefs" who are multi-awarded, much like the Michelin stars. We are also the first and only gelateria to use the Pozzetto or Pozzetti cabinets.
Who makes your gelato and how do you make your gelato?
We have a trained crew who make the gelato daily in-store and customers can come and watch them making the gelato everyday. Our whole process takes more than 3 days though; however, we do most of this in our commissary. We believe in the slow-food movement, which is why we take the time and make the effort to do what we do. We could do it the fast and easy way, but that just wouldn't be good enough.
How do you come up with your flavors?
We are inspired by many things: classic Italian flavors, fun flavors that are popular around the globe, and slowly, localized Philippine flavors. We have a very talented R&D team who are like mad scientists in the Laboratorio, toiling day and night to come up with the best possible gelatos for everyone to enjoy.
What are some of your one-of-a-kind flavors that you cannot find elsewhere?
This day and age, it's really hard to say that anything cannot be found anywhere else but, we do know that we are [as of writing] the only gelato brand with a Speculoos flavor, Strawberries & Prosecco, Chunky Ube, Cioccolato (which is dairy-free, and made of pure very dark chocolate). We are also very sure that even if we have flavors that are available elsewhere, like Pistachio, ours is probably the best. We use real roasted, toasted pistachios to make this flavor. We don't scrimp on ingredients.
What do you mean when you say you use 'all natural ingredients?' If Bono makes for a healthier choice, why is that?
This simply means that our gelato is made from our gelato base, which is milk-based, and not cream-based, hence it is low fat compared to ice cream plus the flavoring ingredient. As mentioned earlier, our Pistachio flavor is made with real roasted pistachio nuts--- nothing more. We don't add any food colors, which is why it isn't intense or neon green colored, as with most others, emulsifiers to make it thicker, or taste enhancers. When you get a scoop of our Fragola flavor, it is just like getting fresh strawberries and mashing them with milk as you probably do with real fresh strawberries.
Pozetto cabinets ensures Bono's gelato of the least amount of air and light contamination
Lastly, we make our gelato fresh daily so we don't put any preservatives or stabilizers that usually increase the shelf life of a food product and you don't get any freezer taste or freezer burn.
Bono gelato is low fat and in some cases, absolutely fat-free. We use nothing artificial or chemical so you can feed it to babies too and it isn't stored in freezers. All of these make our gelato a healthier choice. With all that in mind, why eat something that isn't real, right?
Are you considering coming up with gelato flavors for the lactose intolerant?
We actually have two already, Cioccolato and Strawberries & Prosecco. We will continue to churn out more dairy-free options and other "healthy-er," "healthy-ish" flavors soon!
Photos by Hermin Belo.