Italian gelato, sorbet, coffee, and paninis have made their way to Denver by way of Venezuela. That not-so-natural progression started more than a decade ago when the team behind Pozzetti Gelato & Coffee opened shops in Venezuela and Equador. Leo Vetancourt, the general manager and one of four owners of Pozzetti, and Adriana Mejia, manager, both worked in the Venezuela location prior to moving to the United States. Vetancourt had visited Colorado before and loved it. So when he thought about where to open a U.S. location. Denver and Stapleton were his first choice.
Vetancourt envisioned kids and families filling the colorful restaurant at 5094 Central Park Boulevard. “With all of the families and growth in Stapleton, it was a natural match,” he says.
The name of the shop, Pozzetti, comes from the traditional Italian cold case where gelato is stored in cylindrical containers. Vetancourt and Mejia have a newer version of the traditional cold case in which they store their sorbets. Next to it is yet another kind of cooler containing billowing swirls of gelato, which greet visitors as they walk in. Vetancourt says it’s traditional for gelato to be displayed in artful ways, but admits they go a bit over-the-top in presentation.
“Gelato and sorbet differ from ice cream and custard in that gelato has less air, less sugar, is denser, more intense in flavor, and has no added fat beyond what is naturally in the whole milk or cream we use,” explains Mejia. Sorbet has no dairy and is water based. All of their products use only natural ingredients for flavoring and color.
Guests can watch Vetancourt and Mejia as they make the gelato and sorbet from scratch daily. “We have a lot of competition in the area,” says Vetancourt, “which is why we make everything in front of the customer so they know how it’s made, 100%.”
Vetancourt and Mejia received their training from an Italian chef who created the recipes specifically for Pozzetti and taught them the art of making gelato, sorbet, paninis, cakes, and Italian coffee drinks.
The shop serves more than 20 flavors of gelato in rotation—and eight flavors of sorbet. Several popular American flavors of gelato will always be available such as Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, and Salted Caramel—as well as traditionally Italian gelato flavors like Tiramisu and Cinnamon. And Venezuelan sorbet flavors like mango and passion fruit will be in the mix. Pozzetti will also offer seasonal flavors, such as the vividly-hued purple Sweet Potato option.
Eventually, Vetancourt would like to open more shops. But for now, he and Mejia are happy remaining small, getting to know neighbors, fundraising with area schools, and catering local events. And making those pretty gelato swirls.