Fresh ingredients add flavor in new gelato creamery

Emory Telios scoops out some sorbet from a selection of flavors.

Up to 20 pans (about 30 servings in each) of gelato are produced fresh daily in ISU Dining's new creamery. Pictured behind assistant manager Emory Telios are the machines used to age the gelato base (right), then mix the ingredients (left) for about 15 minutes to produce the frozen dessert. Photos by Christopher Gannon.

When The Hub reopened last month, gelato made its campus debut. Tucked away in the basement of Friley Hall is a room ISU Dining repurposed into a creamery, where fresh gelato and sorbet are produced for the venue.

Emory Telios, an ISU Dining employee since her undergraduate years, moved from a catering supervisor role to take charge of the one-person operation. She trained with chefs at Carpigiani Gelato University, Chicago, and even won the top prize in her class with a gelato flavor fusion of lemon and black licorice.

Fresh ingredients are the key. Don't expect to see bold colors in The Hub's gelato case, a sure sign of artificial food coloring. Telios uses natural flavors, like fresh-squeezed lemons and oranges, ripe raspberries and espresso from The Roasterie coffee counter, where the gelato is served. The final product is flavorful, dense and creamy.

Telios makes up to 20 5-liter pans of gelato and sorbet each weekday. Six of the eight flavor selections are constant (for now) -- chocolate, coffee, lemon, pistachio, raspberry and vanilla. Two flavors, including a dairy-free option, rotate periodically. This week, it's orange sorbet and salted caramel gelato.

Telios said the flavor possibilities are almost limitless, and with dining and residence staff right upstairs, there are plenty of volunteer taste-testers to provide feedback on her latest creations.

"Everybody volunteers for that," said Jamie Lenz, assistant director of ISU Dining. "They're always asking when we're having another tasting."

"Maintenance requests get fixed pretty quick around here," Telios joked.

Despite record-breaking cold temperatures and Iowa's typical winter weather since The Hub reopened, the frozen desserts are gaining popularity as awareness grows. Lenz said future plans include "gelato pops" and adding gelato to more dining venues.

Emory Telios prepares the sorbet mixture.

Telios mixes the ingredients for the featured sorbet flavor, using fresh-squeezed orange juice, water, sugar and a dairy-free binding powder.

Emory Telios adds gelato base to the machine used to age the mix

Telios prepares the gelato base, which must be aged at least 12 hours. Fresh ingredients are added to the base to create the gelato flavors.