Raised in Brazil by Italian parents and educated in France, Antonio Biagi has been making internationally-influenced gelato for nearly a decade. Two years ago, he decided to leave the world of finance and pursue his passion full time by setting out to open a gourmet gelato shop. His namesake spot, A.B. Biagi, finally opened its doors a few months ago. We stopped by to see how, while tending to front-of-house, Biagi makes all of his flavors from scratch using ingredients sourced from all over the world. Along the way we learned about Affogato, unique Brazilian ingredients, tea shops in Brooklyn and more.
"Our flavors change every day and I make everything from scratch myself. We always have at least one vegan flavor and I try to use as many Brazilian ingredients as possible, while basic ingredients, like our organic milk, is sourced from local farmers."
"These are tonka beans. They're the seed of the Tonka Tree, a large rainforest tree native to South America. Their fragrance is reminiscent of vanilla, almonds, cinnamon and cloves. I like using native ingredients for my gelato and these beans are said to lighten one's mood so it's a great one. I like to say they are an aphrodisiac. Hermes uses these beans in some of their parfums!"
"This is organic sugar from Brazil. It comes from my family's sugar mill in upstate Sao Paulo where I grew up. The city name is Ribeirao Preto."
"All of our tea is from Bellocq in Brooklyn."
"These are the ingredients for the Vegan Peanut Butter Gelato: fresh ground peanut, fructose and almond milk."
Gelato How To
"To make our gelato, I combine pasteurized organic milk (in the image it's being put into the pasteurizer), cream, three different sugars, dry milk and a pinch of salt. You age the mixture for 24 hours. Then you make the flavor by adding, for example, pistachio paste or hazelnut or chocolate pieces. The mixture then gets put in the batch freezer."
Sorbet How To
"To make sorbet you combine three different sugars with fresh organic fruit, mix and batch freeze it.”
"This is our famous Affogato. It's the perfect way to enjoy gelato when the temperatures drop. A scoop of gelato, stracciatella in this case, is drowned in warm espresso."