From Palermo to Wellington

In 2003, Nathan Meyer flew to Italy on a business trip for a Mediterranean food supplier. For reasons he couldn’t explain at the time, he felt right at home there – a country he’d never visited before in his life. Its beauty, history, culture, food and wine, felt both exciting and familiar.

What Nathan discovered later was that Italy was the birthplace of his great great-grandfather. His name was Vincenzo Almao, and he was a millner born in Palermo Sicily who emigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1860.

Nathan’s trip to Italy came almost 150 years later. A former restauranteur and committed foodie, it wasn’t long before he tucked into a cone of gelato. It was love at first bite. Creamier and more intensely flavoured than the ice cream he was used to back home, the gelato also had less fat and sugar in it, and – because it was churned more slowly – less air. Nathan loved everything about it, from the taste and texture to the colour and presentation. He immediately began making plans to bring gelato back with him to New Zealand.

When he found out later about his great great-grandfather, Nathan realised what had happened. He explains it like this: the gelato had flirted with the Italian in him and he’d been unable to resist.

On his return, Nathan based himself in Newtown, Wellington, and went about gathering the best local and Italian ingredients for churning handmade batches of gelato. When it was ready, he built a ‘carrello’ or cart to sell it on the streets, and at events and festivals. Carrello debuted at Wellington’s Italian Festival in 2004. It was a hit.

Gelato was new to New Zealand, but it didn’t take long to catch on. Soon restaurants and other customers began asking where they could source Carrello for themselves. Nathan introduced five litre catering tubs, followed by one-litre retail tubs, and then began to experiment with different flavours.

In 2011, Carrello moved into single-serve tubs, and entered the New Zealand ice cream awards for the first time. It won Gold for its Mango Sorbetto.

In 2012, Carrello continues to be stocked by a growing number of wholesale and retail outlets throughout New Zealand, and the brand continues to grow. New packaging and an upgraded website are launched.

In 2015, Carrello opens its very own gelato, pizza and coffee store right on Oriental Parade – perfect for a hot summer’s day on the beach.

In 2016 Carrello has launched an exciting range of ice blocks, Mr Pops made with the finest ingredients New Zealand has to offer. Carrello also began exporting to Singapore.

The love affair continues…