Jesse Oloroso made a name for herself as the pastry chef at the late, lamented Scylla restaurant in Bucktown. Ever since it closed, she's been creating unique flavors of gelato, and selling it to all kinds of local food shops and grocery stores, as well as to chefs, who wanted to carry some of those delicious flavors on their dessert menus.
Oloroso is now preparing to open up her very own store in Wicker Park. ABC7's Hungry Hound caught up with her to see how she creates these one-of-a-kind flavor combinations.
In the right hands, milk and rhubarb form the basis of an exquisite, springtime gelato. But Jessica Oloroso sees things a little differently. As the owner of Black Dog Gelato, she's spent the past few years selling her creative flavors at farmer's markets and in local restaurants. But she recently opened her own store, which will allow her to expand her wholesale business.
"I give people a list of flavors that I'm currently working on, or that I've done in the past, and they can choose something off that list or I can work with the chefs to design a flavor particular to what they're doing in their restaurant," said Oloroso.
All of her gelatos begin the same way, with a vanilla base. Egg yolks, cream, evaporated milk and vanilla are gently heated. The base then serves as a canvas for other flavors, like sweet corn - a current request from a local chef. Even her chocolate could easily morph into a Mexican version with a hint of hot chile.
"I still do pistachio and hazelnut and chocolate and vanilla, but I also try to get a little bit more creative with some of my flavors - the goat cheese, cashew caramel, sesame oil fig with chocolate chips, the sweet corn. So I really try to branch out a bit," Oloroso said.
Oloroso says she's always looking for new flavors and inspiration.. but there are some things that just don't work well together.
"Onions..no matter how hard I try to sort of bring out the natural sweetness in the onions, no matter how I've cooked it; I just can't make it work," she said.
Oloroso expects the store to be open in about a week or so, depending on her final inspection from the city.In the meantime, you can find her one-of-a-kind gelato at stores like Provenance Food and Wine, or at the Logan Square Farmer's Market this Sunday.
Black Dog Gelato (note: should open first week of June, but call first)
859 N. Damen Ave.
also available at:
1543 N. Damen Ave.
2258 West Erie Street
and on the dessert menu at these locations:
3800 N. Clark St.
1401 W. Devon Ave.
5900 N. Broadway
The Drawing Room
937 N. Rush St.