After relocating to Houston in 2001, Marcelo Kreindel remembers missing the vibrant gelateria culture of his hometown Buenos Aires almost immediately. While ice cream enjoys immense popularity in the United States, its Italian forbearer – gelato – still remains outside of the nation’s mainstream dessert options.
“In Buenos Aires, gelato shops are a part of daily life,” he says. “They almost always serve coffee and tea as well, so you often meet friends and family there; or even have a business meeting. There are usually several shops in every neighborhood.”
An information systems specialist by training, Kreindel arrived in Texas a more than a decade ago as a software manager for an Argentine company. He stuck with his day job until 2004 when he decided to pursue his dream of creating a vibrant Buenos Aires-style gelato café in Houston. He returned to Argentina to study the trade for a year, learning how to source and combine the best ingredients to create the rich flavors for which gelato is known. “When I returned to Houston ready to open a shop, I found very few locations that had the amount of foot traffic I’d see in Buenos Aires,” he recalls. “This is a different kind of city, and I needed a different approach.”
Instead of following the retail model he’d learned from gelato makers in Argentina, Kreindel chose a wholesale system for his new company, Trentino Gelato.
He started creating his artisan-style gelato in a rented Midtown kitchen and later at a permanent location on the East End while maintaining a regular presence at a number local farmers markets – including Monica Pope’s Midtown Market – before targeting Houston retailers like Whole Foods, Spec’s, and Central Market.
“Gelato has 30 percent less fat than American ice cream and 50 percent less air, which gives it a denser, creamier texture,” Kreindel says. “The lower fat content gives it a more intense taste, so you can really experiment with flavor.”
This willingness to explore different combinations – from strawberry lavender to peanut butter chipotle to olive oil with black pepper – as well as his use of premium local and organic ingredients, has earned Kreindel a solid reputation with Houston-area chefs like Robert del Grande (Cafe Annie) and Anita Jaisinghani (Indika / Pondicheri). Kreindel often hand-crafts a unique gelato flavor to a particular chef’s specifications.
In 2011 Trentino launched “The Chef Series” in Houston, Dallas and Austin. The flavors feature flavors are inspired and developed by some of biggest culinary names in each local market.
“These chefs have been so important to how I’ve developed my flavors over the past five years,” Kreindel says. “I wanted to pay them back for all they’ve done to help me get the company to where it is today.”
As a constant innovator, Kreindel started to create small batches of gelato pops in the summer of 2014. That line of gelato was a huge success among coffee shops and farmers markets all over Houston. That was the beginning of Kreindel’s last award-winning creation: Goat milk gelato pops.
Goat milk is having a moment. For years cows have dominated the immense diary industry and all its delicious facers, but in an age where educated consumers are seeking out locally made provisions, healthy pantry staples and lactose-free alternatives, the goat has risen up to the challenge.
In fact, goat milk is the pivotal ingredient in Kreindel's gelato pops where this delicious milk brings a low-fat, lactose friendly, stabilizer-free, hormones-free alternative to the frozen dessert offerings.
Kreindel has been working side by side with local farmers to source fresh goat milk.
ABOUT FOUNDER MARCELO KREINDEL
Born in Buenos Aires, Marcelo Kreindel founded Trentino Gelato after relocating to Houston as a software manager for an Argentine IT company. Missing the popular gelato cafes of his hometown, Kreindel started Trentino Gelato with the hopes of re-creating unique gelato flavors for Houston. Operating primarily as a producer and wholesaler, with a kitchen based on the city’s up-and-coming East End, Trentino Gelato makes its premium gelatos in small batches to maintain the highest control of quality.