When we broke the news about Vancouver’s well-loved gelato shop Bella Gelateria being abruptly put up for sale in August, there were a lot of questions about whether the local business near Canada Place would continue.
Even though two of its sister locations no longer exist (one in Yaletown and one that was in development in Olympic Village), the flagship Coal Harbour storefront (1001 West Cordova Street) remains and is still serving up its tasty treats under new ownership and gelato-makers.
Andrés Bermúdez is the general manager and one of two new gelato masters at Bella Gelateria, which is now owned by James Feng Wang. Bermúdez learned how to create gelato in Miami, Florida and has 10 years of experience making this popular frozen treat. The company’s other newly named gelato master is Eric Dorval, who received a certification from the Carpigiani Gelato University near Bologna, Italy.
Both maestros have worked under the helm of James Coleridge, who was previously Bella Gelateria’s gelato-maker, shareholder, and face of the company. Coleridge initially owned the renowned dessert shop with his estranged wife, Anna, who was also a shareholder and most recently the sole director.
“People come here and they think that just because James is not here, the quality of the gelato will [have decreased],” Bermúdez told the Straight in a phone interview. “But on a day-to-day basis, I was the one making the product that the public has been eating.”
Bermúdez emphasizes that the main changes at the gelato shop is only in management.
“We have been working with the new owner since early October, making new flavours, and keeping up with the demand of seasonal flavours and experimenting with new things that we can bring to the public,” explained Bermúdez.
One of the featured October gelato flavours was pumpkin cheesecake. Upcoming seasonal flavours include the Black Carrot (carrot and black cardamom) and Jack on Jack (jackfruit and honey Jack Daniels).
“I think Vancouver should be curious and interested about what Bella will be bringing to the public,” said Bermúdez . “We are going to keep the same quality, but we want to try to make it better in terms of innovation, flavours, and new products.”
The new maestro also tells us that the Wang has plans to expand next year and open two more locations in Vancouver and perhaps others across Canada in the future.
Although James Coleridge has not been involved with or represented the downtown gelato establishment since September 2017, he is gearing up to make a big comeback to the city’s frozen-treats realm.
“I wish [Bella Gelateria] well,” Coleridge told the Straight by phone. ”But I plan on coming back to Vancouver in the gelato scene for summer 2018 as James’s Gelato. Wait until you see what I’m going to do.”
We reported that Bella Gelateria’s previous gelato master claimed to have been kept in the dark about the sale of the company a few months ago, which resulted from a family feud that got messy. But Coleridge tells us that he has since received plenty of strength from Vancouver, especially from local individuals who are also in the frozen-dessert marketplace.
“I’ve been honoured and humbled by the love and support I’ve received since the director of the company took away my dream,” said Coleridge. “I can tell you that I am very excited about the future like never before. With the foundation and support that I have, you can take away my assets of how to make gelato, but you cannot take away my passion and my spirit."
Beyond the fact that complications can arise from running businesses, one thing is certain: Vancouver will never be short of delicious frozen desserts.More