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Be Chill: Gelato Store Changes Hands

Chill’s window on State Street. Photo by Chris Therrien.
Chill Vermont Gelato, Montpelier’s go-to spot for Italian-style ice cream has new owners. Amanda and Alec Long have purchased the business from Nora and Theo Kennedy, who opened the State Street shop in 2012 and ran it with the help of their three children, Patrick, Aine, and Sasha, for over nine years. The shop closed last December, just before the Kennedys sold it to the Longs in January.

The Longs moved to the area from Boston last year. Since then, along with relocating to Vermont, they acquired Chill and got married. Their nuptials, coincidentally, were officiated by Theo Kennedy, who, in addition to formerly co-owning Chill, also happens to be a justice of the peace. 

 “I love ice cream/gelato a lot and come from a family of ice cream/gelato fanatics, so I had already thought of opening a store in Montpelier before we moved,” Alec Long said. “When I saw that Chill was already here, I abandoned the idea since it’s such a great shop and that niche was already filled . . . that is until I was in Chill and Theo mentioned that he and Nora were thinking of selling the place, and the rest is history!”

The Kennedys trained the Longs in making gelato, and the Longs attended a course at Cattabriga, a company that sells specialized gelato equipment. Chill relies on the Cattabriga Effe Gelato Batch Freezer for producing small batches of gelato in about 10 minutes. The advantage to such a machine cannot be understated in terms of freshness, quality, and experimenting with new flavors. As a side benefit, the machine gives customers (especially curious children) a view of how artisanal gelato gets made.

Although gelato is enjoyed throughout Italy, there are regional differences. A good rule of thumb is the farther north in Italy, the more butterfat the gelato contains. Chill serves Sicilian-style gelato, which means, in addition to low butterfat content, the recipe contains no eggs. Gelato is technically not ice cream (although everyone refers to it as such). This is because it has a low butterfat content. Whereas the percentage of butterfat in American ice cream begins at 10% and can go as high as 25%, gelato ranges between 4% to 9%. Gelato also has less air churned into it, yielding a denser, more flavorful product versus American ice cream, which tends to be smoother in texture and tamer in taste. 

Expect to see Chill Vermont Gelato’s grand reopening with a fresh coat of paint and new faces sometime in April.