Ice Cream News
Dallas gelato startup featuring fun Filipino flavors hosts first pop-up
There's a new Dallas-based artisanal gelato with a Filipino twist. Called Sorbetera, it's a startup that delivers gelato and frozen desserts to your door, and is about to host its very first pop-up.
The concept was founded by pastry chef Cessy Mendoza and marketing/operations manager Kai Ayala, both natives of The Philippines who moved here in their teens.
In the Philippines, a "sorbetero" is an ice cream street vendor, typically manned by men. Sorbetera with an "A" is their twist.
"We want to offer a product that embodies Filipino flavors and brings nostalgic memories of back home," Ayala says.
They offer gelato in scoops and cups to-go, plus what they call "ice-candy" popsicles, featuring ingredients such as jackfruit, ube, and calamansi, the Philippine citrus that evokes flavors of kumquat and mandarin, purchased at local Asian markets.
"With Filipinos, word about authentic items spreads quickly, and about half of our business is in the Filipino community," Ayala says. "But the other half of our customers are a diverse, adventurous mix."
- Ube: Purple yam with latik (caramelized coconut curds)
- Taho: Silken tofu, brown sugar syrup, and sago (little tapioca balls), typically served hot, which they transformed into gelato
- Calamansi: Their first sorbet
They distribute weekly to a growing group of fans, with varying dropoff points that change, depending on who orders.
"We currently don't have a permanent zip code, but we service all of DFW by organizing local meet-ups/drop off points and concentrating them where most of our clients order from," Ayala says. "They vary week over week."
They offer two sizes: 8 ounce for $9 or 4 ounce for $6. If you bundle flavors, there's a discount: three 8-ounce servings for $20, or three 4-oounce servings for $15.
Mendoza comes from a family of caterers and has worked at acclaimed restaurants including Nobu Las Vegas, where she started her career as well as Nobu Dallas, Nobu Houston, Abacus, Georgie’s, Villa Azur, and the W Hotel.
Ayala has a background in corporate technology, and is also a food blogger. Their skills are complementary: Ayala leads marketing and operations while Mendoza oversees menu creation, which changes monthly.
For example, during May, they created two sweet flavors that were dedicated to their moms:
- Abokado at Kondensada: "Tita Chit (Kai’s mom) loves everything avocado. She grew up eating it with sugar or condensed milk, just like our gelato! Tita Chit is a cancer survivor who continues to find comfort in eating all things avocado, including our gelato."
- Turon (Banana and jackfruit in a spring roll wrapper and caramelized with sugar): "Tita Letty (Cessy’s mom) is a chef of her own right. Cessy learned how to cook and bake by watching her. Our Turon flavor is inspired by her. Tita Letty continues to be a huge influence in Cessy’s visions for Sorbetera."
On June 17, they'll do their first pop-up with a booth at Queens Market, a semi-regular event at Vector Brewing featuring 30-plus women-owned small businesses. They'll be offering two flagship flavors: Taho and Ube Halaya, plus, two of their "ice-candy" (popsicle) flavors: Cantaloupe with evaporated and condensed milk; and Maiz con hielo IE, iced sweet corn. Admission to the market is free, but they suggest reservations; find information online.