A Vancouver gelateria will be home to the first North American branch of a prestigious Italian gelato university. 

Carpigiani Gelato University is opening up shop at the new Yaletown location of Bella Gelateria, which is founded by Vancouver gelato maker James Coleridge.

Select graduates from CGU will have a chance to apprentice in the tiny, open kitchen.

 "You're actually going to be able to watch and see people making gelato from scratch," enthuses Coleridge.

"Whether they're from Asia or from Australia or South America, they're going to come to Vancouver and we're going to teach them how to do it right." 

Coleridge is himself a grad of CGU, and seems to have learned his lessons well.

He's won numerous international awards, including top prizes at the Florence Italy Gelato Festival (2012), International Fair of Artisan Gelato (2014), and Gelato World Tour North America (2014).

'Cool' school

Coleridge says the partnership grew out of an overwhelming demand, fuelled by his accolades.

"We're blessed here in Vancouver and [at] Bella Gelateria by having a lot of attention around the world, so we get a lot of requests [for internships]," he says. 

'It has to start 100 per cent with passion. There is a science you are restricted to. But passion is the only thing you own in this industry."'- Vancouver gelato maker James Coleridge

That's why Coleridge approached the school to create the new program. 

Potential students must first attend all the courses at CGU in Italy.

Then, of the up to 500 students who complete the program each month, Coleridge selects the top three students for internships that last anywhere from 10 days to two months.

After all, Coleridge says, "You can't just walk off the street and learn how to make gelato. It's not an easy process."

An old world art

Coleridge says great gelato takes time.

He hand-chops seasonal ingredients and lets his mixtures of milk, sugars and flavours "mature" in special equipment imported from Italy.

The base is then slowly churned in small freezers based on old world technology.

Gelato typically contains much less fat than commercial ice cream.

Thanks to the slower churn process, gelato is comprised of only 20 per cent air, compared to the 80 per cent of ice-cream.

Coleridge says regardless of the flavour, great gelato must contain one essential ingredient.

"It has to start 100 per cent with passion,' he says. "There is a science you are restricted to. But passion is the only thing you own in this industry."

Bella Gelateria Yaletown officially opens on Aug. 28.