Italian-born Huntington Beach transplant Chef Filippo Cianciosi makes cool CBD treats.
Gelato and ice cream have a lot in common. Both are rich with flavor and set at freezing cold temperatures. But don’t confuse the two. Italian gelato tends to have less fat than ice cream, and it has a silkier texture. It’s also more difficult to make — and few understand that better than Gelato Chef Filippo Cianciosi. You could say gelato-making is an inherited talent.
Born and raised in Italy, the Huntington Beach transplant travels the world teaching people the authentic execution. He spent his youth working in his father’s gelato shops, learning the process firsthand, and then attended pastry school. He’s now embarking on two new cool endeavors: creating a selection of keto-friendly gelatos for folks watching their carb intake, and a line infused with CBD, primarily designed for cancer patients.
CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, and it’s been making its way into the culinary scene for the past couple of years because of it’s benefits. CBD has been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression, promote pain relief, and alleviate some of the side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
“My goal for CBD gelato was to create a product that brings a little bit of joy and happiness to someone who may be facing one of the most difficult challenges in their life,” says Cianciosi, who operates an eponymous gelato and pastry consulting service.
The best part of his job, he says, is exploring tastes, and trying out different varieties of foods in order to discover more. While still seeking to unravel new flavors and combinations, he acknowledges the significance of a classic rendition: Sicilian pistachio and Belgium chocolate. they’re his go-to flavors for gelato. For sorbet, he chooses the fruits of the season.
CBD-infused or not, the process of making gelato is a sacred practice for Cianciosi. Ingredients are curated based on freshness, and great care is taken to achieve the perfect balance among components. Understanding how each ingredient plays on the other is essential to the flavor. His pistachio gelato, for example, really tastes like pistachios. “I use a ton of pistachios,” he notes. “You wouldn’t believe how much pistachios it takes to make it taste like that.”
Food styling by Dina Marciano