Buffalo gelato cart opens at Toby’s

David Briggs
A new buffalo-milk gelato cart debuted outside Toby’s Feed Barn last weekend. Read about its origins and four flavors in the news briefs.
05/29/2014

Last weekend marked the inauguration of a gelato cart stationed outside Toby’s Feed Barn. Its creamy merchandise is made not from cow milk, as most gelato is, but from the milk of water buffalos raised at Double 8 Dairy, north of Tomales. (Christian Caiazzo of Osteria Stellina manages the cart.) Double 8’s owner, Andrew Zlot, a former hedge fund manager in Asia, said he saw a possible market in the Bay Area for the milk, which in Italy is used to make fresh mozzarella. The idea to make gelato from buffalo milk came to him at a party at a Valley Ford farm; two gelato makers who live in Gualala—one an Italian who learned to make the dessert in his home country—had brought their product, made from Jersey cow milk. Impressed by the taste and texture, Mr. Zlot convinced them to share their secret recipe, and they agreed on the condition that he share it with no one else. Compared to ice cream, gelato typically has a lower fat content, but less air whipped into it, resulting in a denser texture. Mr. Zlot said the cart gives people an opportunity to easily try a frozen confection whose source might give them some hesitation. Last weekend he sold four flavors—raspberry, coffee, hazelnut and fior di latte, which translates to milk’s flower. “One of our top selling flavors… is a flavor with no flavor. We call it fior di latte. It’s literally milk flavor,” he said. Since buffalo milk contains twice as much fat as cow milk, no eggs or cream are needed, and the clean, sweet flavor of the milk shines through the almost impossibly creamy texture. Robin Carpenter, a food writer and KWMR host who had a serving of the gelato on Monday, described it as “like silk and velvet got together and had a baby.” Mr. Zlot, who scooped for much of the weekend, said some suspicious Italians came by but were impressed by the quality of the gelato. He plans to sell it by the pint at the Palace Market starting in June. The cart is open Thursdays through Sundays.