Beaches are for ice cream. But for an ocean town that’s a summer destination for tourists, Virginia Beach has been a little shy on local-made ice cream up to now – at least until you dip south into the farmland.
But this is about to change in a big way. By the time summer hits, three new all-Virginia craft ice cream shops are set to open locations in the Beach.
One is a 35-year-old Richmond tradition with five locations. One’s a new artisan shop from Roanoke. And one is entirely homegrown...
In Hilltop, Steve and Kim Rosser plan the first location outside Richmond for Gelati Celesti, a 35-year-old Italian-style ice cream company. A decade ago, the husband-and-wife team took over the original ice-cream shop from their friend Peter Edwards. They’ve been in expansion mode ever since, growing to five shops in their hometown and opening a new production facility.
But the Rossers have roots in Virginia Beach, too. Kim Rosser spent part of her childhood at the Beach, and Steve Rosser has been vacationing in the area since childhood.
The shop will have 36 flavors on hand at all times, including their two most popular: a fudgy Chocolate
Decadence the restaurant describes as being as being as thick as brownie batter, and their Just Ask, made with white chocolate, peanut butter and oreos.
According to Steve Rosser, what differentiates their ice cream from others is the cream they source from farms in Pennsylvania, and a proprietary process they borrowed from the Italians to whip much less air into their ice cream. This leads to a denser, richer base. In essence, their ice cream is a bit like gelato, but made with cream instead of milk.
“The FDA has rules on how much air can be in ice cream,” Rosser said. “The rule is it has to weigh 4.5 pounds per gallon. We’re about double that.”
At the grand opening on May 24, Rosser said, the shop will give away “one large scoop” of the shop’s 14-percent butterfat ice cream to every customer who rolls in. Mayor Bobby Dyer will also be on hand to cut the ribbon.