Just last year, Del Sasso was working at his family-owned shop in his hometown when one of his best customers, a vacationing American who had been frequenting his shop for more than a decade, presented him with an interesting offer: bring his sweet-treat expertise stateside.
That man was Alberto Zamperla, the owner of Zamperla, Inc. and Central Amusement International, and that initial conversation eventually evolved into the opening of Coney’s Cones in May, Del Sasso’s own shop on the boardwalk where he produces 21 flavors of gelato to increasingly long lines.
And while his new Brooklyn environs might have presented a bit of a culture shock (“It’s very different here,” he says), Del Sasso’s gelato production in Brooklyn is much the same as it was in Italy, utilizing machinery straight from Italy and the same recipes he’s been using for years.
“It’s a different product,” he said of his gelato and the traditional American ice cream. “The taste, the sweetness, the texture, the balance of the ingredients.”
He said that at first, visitors to the shop were a bit hesitant to try something different from the traditional American hard ice creams or soft serves.
“Coney Island has many visitors, and sometimes they’re a little bit scared when they come to the store,” he said. “But after we give them a sample, they’re happy. Once they try it, they always end up buying something.”
As more and more visitors are braving long summer lines for a scoop of the gelato, Del Sasso and his business partners say they’re already looking towards the future. New stores could potentially be on the radar, and the gelato could be sold in grocery stores and at restaurants one day.
As of now, Del Sasso is focused on brainstorming seasonal flavors for his roster of choices, with new flavors and even a frozen yogurt every once in a while rotated into the mix of core flavors every few days.
Thus far his favorite flavor, he said, was a frozen take on the classic Milano cookie.
“I like many flavors,” he said. “But I think that’s my favorite, and a favorite of the people.”