I was raised in a chef’s kitchen. My mother taught cooking classes and she taught me how to experiment with ingredients until you get the perfect balance of flavors. As a family-proclaimed foodie who traveled extensively to Europe, I became hooked on gelato. So much so that when the entrepreneurial itch got me, I fled the high-tech world for an apprenticeship with gelato maestros in Florence. They taught me how to make gelato like the greats made it, where it’s a time intensive ritual performed onsite everyday. They also gave me the nickname Tèo. Which is short for Matteo. Italian for Matthew.
Back in Texas, I opened my own Italian caffè on 38th Street in Austin. Where, in 14 years of business, we’ve gone from local darling to worldwide acclaim. Here’s why I’m able to say that. In 2014, after being selected by an Italian gelato committee to compete in the Gelato World Tour’s North American bracket, I advanced to the World Finals in Rimini, Italy, where the Italian public voted Tèo one of the Top 5 gelatos in the world, beating out 20 other gelato maestros in their homeland. All while wearing a Gingham shirt and cowboy boots.
In 2015, I entered HEB’s Quest for the Best contest, which recognizes quality brands being made and sold here in Texas. And Mama Mia! I was chosen the Grand Prize Winner and now a Primo Pick in 30 stores around Austin. Thanks HEB! Then in 2016, I entered the Chicago World Tour of gelato makers, where I took home the People’s Choice Award. I guess you could say I have award fever, but I’m proud of the gelato I make and it brings me joy to be able to share it with the world.
So why is our gelato so good you ask? Because it’s made locally by hand using market fresh, seasonal Texas fruits and locally sourced nuts and milk. We use only pure cane sugar, never high fructose corn syrups or added hormones in our milk or cream. And most gelato makers use a pre-made or powdered base for their recipes. Not us. We mix a homemade base from scratch every morning, a necessary discipline for creating the richest flavor and creamiest texture.
I invite you to visit the freezer aisle of your local HEB to give our gelato a try. Then feel free to stop by Tèo on 38th Street.