O ne of the shops planned for the new Maple Valley Town Square will serve treats that are hard to find in this neck of the woods: gelato and sorbetto.
Amy Shadd, a Maple Valley mother of three, is working with a Seattle-based architect to design The Nutty Squirrel. Shadd and her husband, Wayne, have enjoyed gelato for years and wanted to bring it here.
“We were noticing that we were driving all the way to Seattle to get gelato because there isn’t any around here,” she says. When they heard excitement building around the new Town Square development, they decided to sign a lease. They are aiming for an August opening date.
“We’re hoping for a late summer this year” with gelato-friendly warm weather into September and October, Shadd says.
The parents of Shadd’s business partner, architect Alev Seymen, have operated the Fainting Goat gelato shop in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood since 2009.
The Nutty Squirrel is being designed to feature a small amount of indoor and outdoor seating as well as a small children’s play area. The shop will share an outdoor courtyard with Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza near the southwestern corner of the Town Square development.
Shadd hopes the shop becomes a neighborhood hangout.
“The gelateria in Italy is a community gathering place where people can come and visit with neighbors,” Shadd says.
Shadd will be making the gelato herself on site with fresh ingredients — and local ones when possible. The shop may also offer treats such as chocolate and pastries, she says.
To learn how to make the frozen treats, an Italian speacialty, Shadd trained at Carpigiani Gelato University, based in Bologna, Italy. Shadd trained at the U.S. location in North Carolina, but her gelato maestro, or teacher, Gianpaulo Valli, is from Bologna and was featured in Time magazine a couple years ago.
Gelato is a milk-based frozen dessert akin to ice cream but with less water, air and fat. Sorbetto is the fruit-based version, more like sorbet or sherbet. They are typically concocted and consumed on the same day for maximum freshness.
“Gelato is a really great treat for families,” says Shadd, whose kids are 8, 5 and 3. “It has wholesome ingredients.”