Top-rated artisan gelateria to open a branch in Witney
Italian-born Lewis Ratto had such fond memories of eating ice-cream in his hometown of Rome that when he moved to the UK he decided to start a food truck. Mr Ratto has had planning permission to redevelop the unit formerly occupied by Whittard in Marriotts Walk since last year but has been held up by technical issues. He said: “The Witney branch should be going ahead soon.
We hit a roadblock a long time ago with the signing of the lease but it’s finally back on track and I’m hoping to get the keys in the next couple of weeks and start the work shortly thereafter.” He hopes his artisan gelateria will open some time later this summer.
Mr Ratto – whose middle name is Alfonso – relocated to the UK in 2010. READ ALSO: Lib Dems plan for West Oxfordshire District Council After finishing his degree in chemistry in 2015, he began experimenting with ice cream recipes.
Flavours he has tried out to date include vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel, hazelnut, pistachio, lemon cheesecake, dark chocolate, banoffee, coffee, tiramisu and nutella. In 2018 he launched a food truck on Banbury Road in Oxford’s Summertown which earned him five stars on Google reviews. Beth Kamen said in a review online: “My partner and I started going to Alfonso when we were working from home last summer – it was the perfect treat at the end of the day and we couldn’t stop going back.
“The gelato is absolutely delicious (certainly the best we have tried in Oxford), my favourite flavour is Mango but there are always amazing new specials to try too. “Lewis, the owner, is lovely and we are very lucky to have authentic Italian gelato here in Oxford.” READ ALSO: Police deploy new drone to stop rural theft
The food truck was so popular Mr Ratto opened his first shop in Woodstock in December 2020. His numerous flavour creations are now available at Victor’s restaurant and bar in the Westgate, Lyall and Co in Eynsham, in the cafe at Burford Garden Company, The Rabbit Hole in North Oxford and Belgian chocolatier Coco Noir in Headington.
The company also caters events for up to 1,500 people and can bring their own vintage food truck.
Mr Ratto said: “This is my business – my dad works at Royal Mail – my parents are both very supportive and I think they are impressed with how it’s going so far.
“The business is ‘unseasonal’ and although sales rocket during a heatwave, customers also buy gelato in the rain and snow.”