James Coleridge's fancy "coast to coast" gelato may have a vanilla base, but it's anything but plain.

The innovative gelato flavour from the owner and gelato maestro of Bella Gelateria earned him a special mention award at the Gelato World Tour Challenge in New York City in May.

He credits his fans in Vancouver for inspiring him to compete in New York.

"They encourage me to be the Willy Wonka," he said. "But more so, they appreciate quality. They don't want artificial flavours."

Coleridge crafted the "coast to coast" flavor by trying to achieve balance between four taste profiles: sweet, sour, salty and umami.

He started with vanilla beans from Tahiti and Madagascar then added candied lime zest, candy sauce (sour), Vancouver Island sea salt, lime-infused pistachios, spirulina from Hawaii and bull kelp from Vancouver Island.

"It goes from the East Coast to the West Coast to the Gulf of Mexico, I brought all of the ocean-based components together," he told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC's Our Vancouver.

What goes into Bella Gelateria's Coast to Coast

James Coleridge shows what goes into Bella Gelateria's Coast to Coast gelato: (L to R) spirulina, pistachios, sea salt, candy sauce, lime zest, and (not pictured) vanilla beans and kelp. (CBC)

Coleridge brought some seasonal flavours of Gelato, including raspberry, yuzu lemon, and mango lassi, to indulge in and to help illustrate the differences between ice cream and gelato. 

"There's a lot less fat, a lot less sugar, a lot less calories and it's a lot denser, smoother," he said. 

Watch James Coleridge discuss Bella Gelateria's flavours with Gloria Macarenko as she samples their gelato in the Our Vancouver video above.