Who doesn’t love gelato? If you do, then you also have to love the person who was crowned “Gelato Queen” by the Griffin Report’s Women of Influence in the Food Industry.
Donna did not come by this title by inheritance, but rather by her hard work in the food industry. From a career founded in sales and marketing, she landed at Fabbri, a family-owned Italian company that all started with an Amarena Cherry tree!
Donna has been with Fabbri for 15 years, where she started as a sales representative for the Northeast region. She then became the marketing director for Fabbri USA. Donna is currently the Director of Product Development and Education, and also does research and development. Which means, experimenting with the wonderful pastes and syrups produced by Fabbri.
Donna comes from an Italian family. Her Nonna used to make gelato when she was a kid. Donna started experimenting on her own. Fabbri has their own school, which Donna attended and then taught at, along with studying under a master gelatician. She is also an American Culinary Federation pastry chef. Now, she conducts seminars on the art of gelato and pastries across the US.
For those who are unfamiliar with gelato, Donna explains that it is Italian ice cream, with less fat and air, resulting in a creamier texture with flavors that are vibrant! It’s also served at higher temperature than ice cream, usually 12 degrees F versus 0 degrees for ice cream.
Donna also earned the title of Purveyor of the year 2014 by the Epicurean Club of Boston, the oldest chef’s organization in the United States. The New England Ice Cream Restaurant Association awarded Donna the Lifetime Achievement Award.
When asked what is her favorite recipe that she has ever created, the answer came quickly. Fig Newton Gelato. Ingredients included biscotti flavoring and caramelized fig marbling. Yum! But an Orange Tequila Sunrise Cake gets honorable mention.
Donna speaks passionately about the 113 year-old company and its products, which feature delipastes – natural flavoring pastes. They can be used in cakes, cookies, mousses, gelatos and other pastries, as well as savory dishes. The Fabbri products are all natural, contain no corn syrup or palm oil are non-gmo, gluten free and certified kosher and halal.
With her wealth of experience and product knowledge, Donna loves helping her customers create mouth-watering dishes for their restaurant menus. In the near future, J.N. Kidds will be creating an on-site test kitchen, where Donna will work with their corporate chef to train the sales staff on the Fabbri product line and invite chefs in to do demonstrations on pastry techniques.
When asked about the newest products offered by Fabbri, Donna mentioned that the company has come out with a number of vegan products that can replace animal products used in cakes and cookies, such as an egg replacer and a thermoreversible pectin. They also offer bake proof jams. Then there’s the pannamousse – a natural cream stabilizer. Apparently it’s the rage right now!
Another favorite is the Hazelnut and Cocoa Marbling, which is similar to a Nutella but with no palm oil. It’s bake proof, excellent for making a Hazelnut and Cocoa Tart, ice cream or gelato, in croissant, etc.
Many favorite recipes can be enhanced with the Fabbri products with some simple adjustments. For every 2 oz. of the delipaste, take out 1 oz. of sugar and 2 oz. of water or other liquid.
As far as future developments, Donna mentioned additional uses for the Fabbri products in pastries. How does an Amarena Red Velvet Cake sound? Or Amarena brownies and scones?