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Trentino Gelato, Marcelo Kreindel 09.21.2013

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 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 20 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 (RDG + Bar Annie) and Anita Jaisinghani (Indika / Pondicheri). Kreindel often hand-crafts a unique gelato flavor to a particular chef’s specifications. This past year Trentino launched “The Chef Series” in Houston and Austin and will soon debut in Dallas.  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.”

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