Belvedere Vodka’s Founders Move into Frozen Territory; Partner with Talenti, America’s First Luxury Gelato and Sorbetto

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–When Eddie Phillips and Steve Gill launched Belvedere Vodka in 1996, they sparked an industry revolution. They transformed an obscure Polish vodka, steeped in tradition of the finest craftsmanship and ingredients, into one ripe for a “super-premium” class of vodka in the U.S., upping the established “premium” class of brands in quality, taste and appeal. “Luxury” vodka was born; hoards of imitators followed.

Following their sale of Belvedere to luxury goods company Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy in 2005, Mr. Gill and Mr. Phillips sought the ideal opportunity that would bring to bear their worlds of experience in luxury brand-building. Today, they announce their partnership with Talenti, a gelato and sorbetto company with a foundation as compelling as Belvedere, and their plans to create a new category in the frozen dessert marketplace: Luxury Gelato and Sorbetto.

Steve Gill, Talenti’s new Chairman, said, “We immediately saw tremendous potential in Talenti, from its talented executives, founder and CEO Josh Hochschuler and Vice President of Sales Kenny Chandler, to the incredible quality of the product and the market opportunity. In 2006, the ice cream and frozen dessert industry as a whole generated nearly $23 billion in sales; currently, gelato and sorbetto sales represent less than one-tenth of one percent of that market.” Gill added, “With Talenti’s commitment to using only the finest quality ingredients from around the world, along with consumers’ willingness to trade up to enjoy luxury, artisanal food, we are certainly excited to bring Talenti to the palettes of consumers across the country.”

Talenti is produced with the inspiration of Italy’s Bernando Buontalenti, a famed Florentine artist and architect with a penchant for fine food. “Talenti,” as his friends called him, delighted Duchess Catherine de Medici’s court in the early 1500s with a frozen dessert he called “gelato.”

Talenti exudes luxury. As the first gelato to appear in the famed holiday catalog of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, Talenti defies convention. Its elegant, transparent packaging sets itself apart from the ordinary paper containers that fill grocers’ freezers. While many frozen dessert companies inject air into their product as “filler,” Talenti does not. The result is the densest and most flavorful gelato on the market.

Talenti uses only the world’s finest ingredients. Talenti incorporates only the freshest ingredients available and goes so far as to import the finest products from around the world to enhance its recipes. While most ice creams sold in the U.S. market use condensed milk or buttermilk fat, Talenti’s gelatos use only freshly pasteurized milk that is free of the controversial growth hormones, rBGH and rBST, found in traditional milk products. As opposed to the high fructose corn syrup used in most ice cream brands, Talenti uses extra-fine pure cane sugar. Talenti also uses fresh fruit and nuts straight from farmers rather than canned, pureed or packaged ingredients. While many U.S. ice creams include powdered chocolate or syrup, Talenti’s recipes feature real blocks of Belgian chocolate, melted on the premises. All of its sorbettos contain three primary ingredients: water, pure cane sugar and fresh fruit. The result: freshly made and all-natural Talenti gelato and sorbetto that is uniquely creamy, intensely flavored and surprisingly healthy. A few select flavors and their ingredients include:

  • Tahitian Vanilla Bean: Vanilla beans are imported from Papua New Guinea, the premier growers of the Tahitian variety of vanilla bean, then split and scraped by hand to guarantee freshness and a richer, creamier flavor;
  • Belgium Milk Chocolate: The deep, exquisite flavor uses only chocolate from a master chocolatier in Belgium: Callebaut;
  • Caribbean Coconut: Coconuts shipped from the Philippines are ground by hand to produce coconut pieces that are perfectly shredded for gelato;
  • Argentine Dulce de Leche: Using the world’s finest caramel, produced in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a special recipe designed only for Talenti gelato, our Dulce de Leche is produced without the potassium sorbate preservatives used in traditional caramel recipes, yielding a pure, natural caramel without any additives or preservatives;
  • Sicilian Pistachio: The traditional favorite uses pistachios shipped from Sicily.

Founder and CEO of Talenti, Josh Hochschuler, said, “I am honored to have Steve Gill and Eddie Phillips as business partners; they bring an unmatchable level of experience and expertise to our company. With our new partners, we are now poised for tremendous growth and success. Building on the regional successes we’ve experienced with the help of Kenny Chandler, with Steve and Eddie, Talenti now has the opportunity to redefine the gelato and sorbetto category on a national, and eventually global, level.”