Dario Babić, the only gelato master in BiH: You do not have to go to Italy; you can find the real gelato in Sarajevo

Dario Babić PHOTO: KEMAL SOFTIĆ

If you want to try the real gelato, you do not have to go all the way to Florence. You can taste this famous Italian delicacy in Sarajevo, thanks to Dario Babić, who is the real example of how a man who has not been trained to be a confectioner can become an excellent master of sweet snacks.

Thirty-six-year old Sarajevan, completed elementary school and gymnasium in his hometown, then life rook him to Canada, where he enrolled at the IT Faculty. He did not graduate, because, as we are told, due to private obligations, he had to return to BiH. He did everything, from the delivery service, through the pizza master, to the traveling salesman.

Original recipes

But it did not bother him to succeed in what he had always dreamed of, which is to open his own little candy store where he would offer cakes, prepared in a healthy way, and of course – a gelato which one could only taste in Florence and its surroundings, from where this delicacy actually comes from.

His desire came true, and he opened a catering facility near the National Theater a few months ago and called it ‘Marshall’s Gelato’.

Dario’s working day starts at 6.00 am every morning and lasts until late in the night, because, except for the preparation of cakes, gelato and candy shop, for the past two years he has been working in the company that sells catering equipment for hotels and restaurants.

-I work in the company from 8 am to 4 pm, and then I dedicate myself to what I love most. I enter the kitchen and prepare cakes and gelato. After a busy day, this job relaxes me and prepares for a new day – says Dario.

Within a few months, Marshall’s Gelato has attracted many Sarajevans, and frequent guests are, as revealed by pastry staff, tourists from all over the world who visit our city.

The secret of why guests of Marshall’s Gelato are returning, lies in the original recipes of sweets, prepared in a completely healthy way, from the finest foods like Belgian chocolate, hazelnuts coming from Piedmont, pistachios from Sicily and Iran, spices from France…

– The love for gelato was born 16 years ago, quite by accident, while I traveled through Italy. I tried it and from that moment, I just wanted one thing – to learn how to prepare it. Later, I often went to Italy, visited the gelateries, which are really numerous in that country, talked to many of the recognized artists who made it there, but my goal was not to copy. I learned all the ingredients, I have learned a lot about the machines that make it, but in Italy, no genuine master of this delicacy will disclose the recipe. You have to learn this yourself. I just did it, visited, recorded, read books … – says Babić.

At first glance it looks like ice cream, but gelato, says Dario, has nothing to do with this ice dessert, and if you find yourself in Italy and you call their delicacy ice cream, there is a chance that every proud Italian will give you a little lecture on their national gastronomic treasure.

-Ice cream and gelato are two different desserts. In the shortest, ice cream is a complete chemical product, full of aroma and color, while gelato is prepared from natural raw materials – he explains.

Dario prepares 90 types of gelato. Of course, this does not mean that every day you will be able to try all 90, but 18 surely, you will.

Quality and Price

-Season is not an obstacle to eat gelato; you can eat it in the winter, because it’s not completely frozen delicacy. We have several kinds that we can say are requested more often than others are. First, it is ‘violet’, and I prepare it from chocolate, blueberries and cardamom. Particularly requested is the one with strawberries and basil, then a mixture of chocolate and menthol, forest fruits, gelato with salty pistachio. I am particularly proud of the gelato with forest strawberries, which even because of the high price of these fruits, neither the Italians prepare, but also on the gelato with lemon and rosemary … – says Dario.

However, everything good costs more. The quality has its price, so gelato scoop in the Marshall’s Gelato cake shop costs from 1.90 to 2.40 convertible marks.

At first, I was a bit skeptical about how Sarajevans will adapt to it. My first idea was that I would go on the amount – I’ll make and sell a lot, so I’ll make some money. Nevertheless, our people are becoming more and more informed, they are becoming more and more appreciative of the quality and healthy products, and then they want to pay more money for such a thing – explains Dario.

Well-known persons from our country and the region often stop by for a scoop of ‘Sarajevo gelato’.

– As we are near the National Theater, actors often come to us. Emir Hadžihafizbegović is our favorite guest, and from Ella Dvornik, who was in Sarajevo in August during the SFF, we received a compliment that she did not try a better gelato outside of Italy – Babić boasted at the end of the conversation.

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