Gelato and a Dream

Francesco and Carlo Brown. Photo: Trademark Property/La Marmotta.

By Barry Scher

Walk through the frozen dessert aisle of any grocery store and you will find a vast variety of ice creams, frozen yogurt, sorbets, plant-based frozen desserts and other products. But if authentic gelato is what you crave, you may have trouble finding it.

Gelato is a frozen dessert from Italy made with 6 to 10 percent butter fat, which is lower than other frozen desserts and requires different temperatures, churning speeds, and sugar content to get it just right. Which makes finding it a challenge. But you can find it in Chesapeake Country thanks to Francesco Brown and La Marmotta Gelateria. Brown has been tempting guests this summer at the Annapolis Town Center with his scoops of hazelnut, stracciatella, mango and more, in cups and cones.

La Marmotta’s gelato cart is now set- ting up at pop-up events at Annapolis Town Center on Wednesdays and Thurs- days from noon to 8 p.m. in front of True Food Kitchen and also at the center’s special events. You can also find them at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery.

Their gelato is scooped from a custom-made refrigerated cart and Brown’s brother Carlo is often the friendly face handing out the cones. It was Carlo who helped inspire his brother’s business.

“With my background in marketing and entrepreneurship, this experience inspired me to create a business that could provide work and community for my brother and other individuals with Down syndrome. Taking into consideration my skills, my Italian heritage, my passion for high-quality food, the DC market, and the needs and talents of my brother and other people with Down syndrome, I settled upon the idea of an Italian gelato business”

“Starting a new business was difficult so I’ve started small and today employ four individuals including my brother at my processing facility. Working together, we sell freshly made gelato products from traditional Italian recipes that use high-quality ingredients and organic, locally sourced milk,” Brown says. Their sister Veronica is also helping with the new family business.

So far, it has been a delicious success.

“The pop-up has been incredibly popular,” says Catherine Brady, director of marketing at the Annapolis Town Center. “Our guests and residents love them, and their gelato is delicious. It is especially important to the Annapolis Town Center to be able to support local businesses and the disabled community.”

Learn more and find their next pop-up around the region at: