Story by Sara Smith
Repeat after me: “There’s a new gelateria in Paia.” It’s a phrase you may find yourself humming like a mantra, once you taste one (or three) of these velvety cool confections and construct flavor trios you’ll want to catalog for future visits: blood orange, chocolate, coconut . . . pistachio, sour cream, raspberry . . . hazelnut, cappuccino, stracciatella (vanilla/chocolate-chip). . . .
Ono Gelato Company, whose doors opened last December, is an import—from Italy by way of Canada. Owners Stefano Mosi (a third-generation gelato-maker from Turin), his wife Melissa, and partner Valerie Kane sold a burgeoning bakery business in British Columbia to seek a simpler life. Having bid arrivederci to pastry, they now focus solely on creating perfect gelato.
An Italian version of ice cream, gelato has a milk or water base, and is denser than its American cousin. It’s traditionally served at a slightly warmer temperature, so its flavor is more intense. At Ono, everything gets made fresh every day: twenty-seven flavors, made in five-liter batches.
The move to the tropics brought inspiration by way of amazing new produce, and the trio quickly befriended local growers. In addition to classic flavors like gianduja (chocolate hazelnut), they now source fresh coconut, pineapple, citrus and more from farmers across the island. Depending on the season, persimmon, strawberry papaya or fresh mango may make it into the case, and a customer recently piqued their interest in Surinam cherries.
Ono moved in as good neighbors by streamlining towards sustainability. They use organic milk; biodegradable tasting spoons, cups and bags; and ship in as few ingredients as possible. (They even use Maui-grown sugar).
And if they ever get stumped on a new flavor, Stefano is well connected. Uncle Guido back in Turin is just a phone call away. Satisfy your sweet tooth at 115 Hana Highway in Paia. Or visit Ono online at www.onogelatocompany.com