The VIXI Story
VIXI meaning in Latin: I have lived
In 1895, Giovanni Ratazzi –a former sailor—opened a gelato parlor in his home city of Genoa, one of Italy’s most famous cities and birthplace of the great seafarer Christopher Columbus. Just over a century later, Giovanni Rattazzi’s great granddaughter Melissa discovered her Italian ancestry and a shared passion for gelato.
After Melissa’s research revealed her Italian great grandfather and the gelato connection, she gave up her high-flying career as a Product Manager at one of Europe’s top Business Schools to pursue a very different one as an authentic gelato maker.
Melissa has a law and marketing degree and an MBA, so she has a strong foundation for building a successful business. Added to this, she’s a self-confessed foodie, but a health- conscious one. Melissa says: ”I wanted to create a gelato without any artificial additives, using only fresh natural ingredients.” She also wants to show anyone who shares her passion for eating gelato and her love of a healthy, sporty lifestyle that gelato can add sweetness to your life without lots of sugar and artificial ingredients.
Now the founder of VIXI is bringing her passion for gelato to Miami and her professional skills in making it, which she learned from Italian master ‘gelataios’ in Bologna and Rimini. You can discover the details of her ‘gelato education’ at the VIXI store.
VIXI is the fulfilment of Melissa’s dream to bring authentic and healthy Italian gelato to Miami. All VIXI’s gelatos are ‘fatto a mano’; that’s handmade with the production space open and visible to all those curious to see how the gelato is being made . Its delicious flavours include the more traditional ones such as chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and mango. But VIXI’s breaking the mold with the addition of innovative sweet and salty recipes such as cream with lemon zest, rum raisin, sea-salt caramel or ricotta cheese with lemon and orange that will wow you.
VIXI gelato is also available in gluten and lactose-free recipes.
VIXI promises you a theatrical experience and a taste of the ‘old world’. Watch us making the gelato and experience a little bit of ‘Teatro Italiano’ in Miami.
Melissa invites you to share her passion, which is why everything is transparent at VIXI: our production area, our gelato ‘pozzetti’ (pots) and our ingredients.
We can truly say that VIXI is “the gelato with nothing to hide.
VIXI opens the door to a new world of gelato in Miami. Our gelato is not only ‘artesanal,’ which in English means that it’s hand crafted, it’s also the gelato that offers you Miami’s wholly healthy option. Our gelato may follow traditional methods of making this truly Italian speciality, but we’re bringing it to you with modern European flair and sophistication.
Our interior design combines clean, white lines with wood to create a minimalist but cosy, warm vibe. At the heart of VIXI is the glass-enclosed ‘laboratory’ where you can watch us make the gelato daily from scratch, using only top quality, fresh ingredients.
Wherever you travel in Italy, every gelateria stores its gelato in traditional ‘pozzetti’ pots. These preserve the temperature and texture of the gelato in a hygienic way. VIXI has sourced the most modern, hygienic display cases invented for gelato from contemporary Italian designers Modalita. Our pozzetti display is totally transparent, unlike that most other gelaterias: they’re ultra-modern without sacrificing the authenticity of the older-style pots.
Our gelato flavors range from the classic vanilla, pistachio, mango, raspberry and chocolate varieties that are the backbone of Italian culture to modern mash-ups like pineapple and mint sorbet or funky savory flavors such as gorgonzola with walnut and pesto with a basil sauce.
VIXI also serves great Italian coffee, so when you want to combine an espresso with your favorite gelato to have an amazing ‘affogato,’ you’ve come to the right place.
Nor have we forgotten that there may be times when you don’t fancy gelato. Check out our ‘coffee shop menu’ of croissants, crepes and a delicious acai granola that we suggest you combine with our homemade Greek yogurt to start your day off with an ‘Ooomph!’
Also, our menu shows you all the ingredients we put in every flavor, and where we offer vegan and lactose-free gelato.
Visit us for a taste of VIXI – pure pleasure that’s good for you!
VIXI Gelato – The Health Story
At VIXI we don’t expect you to just accept our claims that gelato is a healthy treat – we want to explain why it is. Some of the reasons we’ve touched on at our Gelato vs. Ice cream page.
1. No Trans fats / no hydrogenated
2. No coloring
3. No Artificial flavors
4. No preservatives
Take a look at our list above. You’ll notice that the first negative thing on the list is ‘trans fats.’ Fats have had a bad press for some time and while there are new debates over whether fat is the baddy it has been made out to be, trans fats are still no good for you.
Trans fats and hydrogenated fats
The Mayo Clinic says that trans fats are the worst type of fats you can eat. They raise your LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower your ‘good’ cholesterol. A high LDL level increases your risk of heart disease.
While meat and dairy products have some LDL in them, we consume most trans fats through the industrial manufacturing process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil. The alternative name for trans fats is ‘hydrogenated fats.’ Baked goods, snacks and fried foods are sources of trans fats.
Also, it’s worth remembering that if a product contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat it can be labelled as containing 0 grams of trans fat. Hidden amounts of fat can mount up quickly, but with gelato you can enjoy a treat without fear of consuming trans fat.
Preservatives give food a longer shelf life. Some preservatives also give food more taste and flavor. But, avoiding foods with preservatives is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy. Preservatives, such as sulfites are a known cause of respiratory disease and wheezing.
Coloring additives are also harmful to your health. They’re also widely used, and not just in food products, medicines contain them as well. Unfortunately, we’re used to coloring additives making food look a certain way, which we’ve come to think of as more attractive. But, sadly, most of these dyes can be traced as the cause of a range of health problems, so at VIXI, we prefer to leave them out. Our gelato may not look quite as ‘bright’ as you’re used to, but that’s because we’re keeping it free of food dyes.
No artificial flavoring
Mass produced food products use chemicals to create flavors that enhance the taste of their product. For example, instead of using fresh strawberries, manufacturers combine cinnamic acid with methyl alcohol to get methyl cinnamate, which smells alike strawberries. It is much cheaper to use this artificial flavoring than the real strawberry. Also, artificial vanilla flavoring is created from the waste products of paper mills and petroleum. VIXI’s vanilla is from vanilla pods.
Gelato vs Ice Cream
You may be under the impression that ‘gelato’ is ‘ice cream.’ Actually, for Italians, the term ‘gelato’ means ‘frozen’ and essentially any sweet, frozen confectionary is ‘gelato’ in Italy. But, the gelato of the gelateria is a specific product that, while it is creamy, has a denser texture to ice cream and is often lower in calories, fat and sugar.
Dairy Fat Content
American-style ice cream has a higher fat content than gelato because it contains more cream. Gelato that contains dairy milk typically has about 7-8% fat compared to 10% fat in ice cream.
Air plays a significant role in ice cream and gelato making. However, ice cream has a much higher air content than gelato. Ice cream has around 50% –the technical term for air in ice cream is ‘overrun’—whereas professionally produced artisanal gelato has about 15-20%. Air gives the products structure and scoopability. But, too much air reduces flavor and body, which is evident in mass-produced ice cream. Less air gives you a smoother texture and a creamier sensation in your mouth. Ultimately, gelato is denser, has a more intense flavor and is better value for money.
We all know ice cream contains sugar, but then so does gelato. Plus, amounts of sugar vary wildly in individual recipes, so it’s harder to define the difference between gelato and ice cream sugar content. On average, a 3.5-ounce serving of vanilla gelato contains 90 calories, 3 grams of fat and 10 grams of sugar. A typical 3.5-ounce serving of vanilla ice cream contains 125 calories, 7 grams of fat and 14 grams of sugar. However, because the lower fat content in gelato means your taste buds can experience flavors more intensely, gelato does not need as much added sugar as ice cream to produce the same sweet flavor.
Gelato is served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream, so its texture stays silkier and softer. Because it has a lower percentage of fat than ice cream, the main flavor ingredient really shines through.
Texture is an important difference. All good quality handmade gelato should be much softer and smoother than traditional ice cream.
Gelato is served with a spatula (one for each flavor), as opposed to a scoop, which is the traditional implement for serving take-away ice cream. The spatula prevents cross-contamination of flavors. Most importantly, it prevents water droplets from forming in the gelato, which happens with ice cream because a scoop needs to be washed between scoops.
Traditional, handmade gelato is made fresh daily on-site in a small batch freezer. By contrast, commercially produced ice cream is made in a central manufacturing facility with a large continuous freezer, stored and then shipped.