Legato gelato brings Italian sweetness to Nashville

If you are one of those Nashvillians who has always wanted a taste of Italy but find that budget, time or both seem to always stand in the way, forget the plane ticket because your solution may lie no farther than Edgehill Village.

A storefront laced in vibrant shades of peach and lime green is nestled between Nashville’s popular Taco Mamacita and Olia Zavonzina. Two European-style café tables sit directly out front, shaded by a pair of elegantly relaxed umbrellas.

If customers aren’t feeling relaxed already, a step inside Edgehill Villages’s newest sweet-tooth hot spot Legato Gelato is sure to do the trick.

Since Legato Gelato’s grand opening 10 months ago, the quaint and attentively decorated shop has already begun to make a name for itself among students and locals alike.

“I used to be a loyal Ben & Jerry’s fan,” said self-proclaimed ice cream connoisseur Dave Pittman. “After my first trip to Legato Gelato last year, there was no question my allegience had shifted.”

Legato Gelato owner Terriann Micholls describes a long-felt passion for frozen desserts as the inspiration behind the store.

“I’ve always had an obsession with ice cream, going all the way back to my childhood,” said Micholls. “When I first discovered gelato in Spain I thought it was absolutely fantastic.”

However, despite her deeply ingrained passion, Micholls was not always on the path to owning her own gelato shop. In fact, just several years prior to the opening of Legato Gelato, Micholls was working in finance in New York.

“When we moved down to Nashville I knew that I wasn’t going to do what I was doing in New York,” said Micholls. “I saw the move as an opportunity to change careers and do something that I was passionate about and this was the first thing that came to mind.”

The vision Micholls had created for Legato Gelato took into consideration the numerous local competitors and ultimately focused on the aspects that would set the shop apart.

“There are lots of places to get ice cream in Nashville, from the supermarket to a couple specialty shops in town, but what separates us from the other guys out there is that we really make everything fresh, every morning. That’s not just a marketing tactic.”

Not only is Legato Gelato’s gelato made fresh each morning, but the actual recipe used sets it apart from traditional ice cream in a number of ways.

“The base of the recipe is milk, not heavy cream so it is a lot lower in butter fat,” explains Micholls. “Most people think fat tastes good but it actually blocks flavor. That is why the flavors in gelato are a lot more intense. Gelato also has less air pumped into it and is served at a lower temperature. Those three differences make gelato taste richer and creamier than traditional ice cream.”

Legato Gelato offers a little something for everyone when it comes to the flavors made on any given day, ranging from classic favorites to flavors actually invented in the tiny kitchen in the back of the shop.

“Our most popular flavor is dark chocolate,” said Micholls. “A lot of folks won’t try it because it’s not milk chocolate and they aren’t dark chocolate fans, but I think it’s our signature flavor. Our second most popular is the one I think everyone should try. It’s a crowd pleaser and is called stracciatella. It is essentially the Italian version of what we like to call chocolate chip.”

Micholls describes these as the hallmarks of a good gelato shop and find that the classics are what most people come into the store for. However, Micholls has experienced recent success with a number of her own creations including a goat cheese and local honey flavor as well as buttermilk and berries, and basil.

The newest member of the Legato Gelato staff, Samantha Haber was drawn to the job by the gelato itself.

“I was a customer first, I would come here every single day,” said Haber. “I would find an excuse to come and eat gelato. There is something you can just taste in how it’s made every day. You can taste the difference.”

Currently, Micholls describes her future plans for the store as based on the desires of her customers.

“We listen to our customers and we try to accommodate their needs,” said Micholls. “Right now we’re able to produce all the gelato we need out of our very, very tiny kitchen, but if that changes in the future then we’ll have to change.

Micholls has committed her efforts to the quality of her product and finds that the care put into creating the gelato is an essential element to her continually growing customer base.

“Our customers come repeatedly because they can taste the difference. We use amazing ingredients and we make everything fresh so it just doesn’t get any better than that.”