Polynesian Spa proudly supports Hannah Wood, the award-winning Little Lato gelato owner. Her innovative flavour combinations are served fresh every day at 88Ra cafe
Hannah Wood shares her journey and passion for creating bespoke gelato
Hannah went to Italy in 2015 on a scholarship through the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology, to attend a course at the Carpigiani Gelato University. This was a scholarship she had applied for, which gave a worthy New Zealander the ability to develop personally through overseas travel.
While over in Italy, Hannah loved the gelato course, learning anything and everything about gelato manufacture and the fundamental principles of creating authentic Italian products. They definitely take their gelato seriously over there!
This was also where she was first inspired to start a business – seeing how massive the market for gelato all around the world is, but how small the market is in New Zealand, especially at the time. She found this surprising, given that New Zealand is one of the biggest consumers of ice cream per capita.
In Hannah’s opinion, once you’re hooked on gelato, you will never look at ice cream quite the same again!
Innovative flavour creations are one of her favourite parts of the job
At the heart of her flavour philosophy is curiosity and surprise, and the imaginative fusion of ingredients. Hannah honed her skills around the fundamentals of creating authentic Italian gelato in Italy, which means that all of the products made at Little Lato are bespoke recipes made from scratch.
Hannah says that some companies use bulk powders that can be imported from overseas and used to make quick gelato. At Little Lato, the process starts off with fresh milk and cream and a variety of different sugars which are finely balanced for that particular flavour.
This means that Little Lato can achieve authentic Italian products but create all sorts of weird, wonderful and iconic Kiwi flavours! It also means Little Lato can collaborate with ingredient suppliers, top brands and local artisans, creating recipes that showcase the best New Zealand has to offer.
The dairy-free / gluten-free recipes are something that was initially developed for friends who had allergies. This took a bit of innovation, plus a bit of experimenting with different ingredients. Some of the dairy-free (plant-based/vegan) recipes are now some of the best-sellers! They are crafted in such a way that they are as indulgently delicious as the dairy alternatives, so a customer would never even realize it was dairy-free.
These include some of the award-winning flavors: Peanut Butter Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Sorbet, Mango Lassi and Raspberry Dark Chocolate
Hannah’s Little Lato story!
Find our more about the difference between Gelato and Ice Cream? Click here