Salvatore Albelice, born in Catania and raised in Milan at a very young age opened his first “gelateria” in Milan. Then, in 1982 he decided to move to USA where he first open Sunbelt imports,inc., a local distributor of Italian-branded coffee and coffee equipment and in 2014 he opened the first Italian Cafe in Houston. If you enter at Fellini Caffé ((http://www.fellinihouston.com ) the whole shop feel very Italian and the cafe has become a bit of a gathering spot for Italian ex-pats in Houston.
I first discovered Salvatore’s Ice Creams when he donated few flavors of his Ice Cream for an event at the ICCC. His ice cream was unlike anything I have ever tasted in Houston, and as Salvatore explained, it is because no one else makes ice cream the way he does!
As a fan of Salvatore’s work, I was so excited to interview him.
How this adventure begins?
The inspiration for Fellini Caffè began a long time ago when I first entered Houston. I could not find anything that resembled the cafes I was used to from back home in Milan. After patiently waiting for years for something to come along, I decided to finally open my own place so that other Italians could also find a little piece of home here in Houston.
Of course the classic gelato flavors like nocciola, pistachio and lemon are staples in any Italian inspired gelateria, but there’s always the excitement of seeing what new creations and flavor blends I can come up with and see what our customers think about it. Alongside our traditional flavors, you can find alcohol infused sorbets such as blackberry merlot, peach champagne, etc. To keep your passions going, you always have to branch out and try new things.
One of the things I love about Salvatore’s is that everyone at the store encourages customers to try different flavors and to come up with different combinations. What is your personal favorite ice cream combination?
I’m a purist at heart and nothing can compare to a good cup of hazelnut or pistachio gelato. But when it comes to combining flavors, almond with fig ranks high on my list!
How did you convince your clients that the premium ingredients and quality is worth the price and different of any other Ice Cream sold in town?
I really didn’t have to convince anyone. I let them try whatever they like and my gelato speaks for itself.
If you could go back now, and give yourself advice as you were just starting out, what would it be?
I would tell myself that if I felt like Houston needed a real Italian bar here, then other people surely felt the same as I do and the best time to do it is now.
Everyone here in Houston wants to know if there will be more stores opening in Town. Do you have any future openings in mind?
Fellini is attracting a lot of interest and Houston has welcomed the café with plenty of enthusiasm! Keep a look out.
Tiziana Ciacciofera Triolo