Teo Gelato

Every time I go to Austin, it seems like I’m running into town, doing a class, then racing on to the next city. So this last time, I slipped in under the cover of darkness, and arrived a day early. Sure I wanted more time to gorge on Texas bbq and Mexican food.

But what I really wanted to do was spend some time at Tèo, lapping up gelato.

Teo Gelato

The Lee family has become, I’m sure much to their chagrin, part of my extended family. Or more likely, I’ve become part of theirs. I’ve known Matt Lee’s mom for years and when she told me her son owned an authentic gelato parlor, I dialed my lawyer and had him draw up the adoption papers.

Let’s hope they sign.

Teo cappucino

Matt, aka Matteo…aka, Tèo…learned his craft in Florence at Vivoli, and his gelato is the real deal. You won’t find him in the back dumping mixes into a machine.

His gelati are made fresh daily and low in fat; most of the flavors he churns up are made with whole milk, no cream or eggs. He opened his shirt to show me his defibrillator, so I knew he was telling the truth. (Sorry, no pics on that one.)

pb nutella gelato

With plenty of time on my hands, I had beaucoup d’opportunities to taste everything. And taste I did. I was a kid in a candy store, wielding a wooden spoon. I loved them all, but my favorite was the Peanut Butter and Nutella gelato. Yowza, was that good!

There’s nothing like a frozen scoop of peanutty gelato swirled with ribbons of hazelnut-chocolate paste to get me going. And although it’s been a while since I unscrewed a jar of Nutella, I’m going to start swirling it more and more into my ice creams, I predict. Unless I spread it all on my toast instead. Am I the only one who thinks it dangerous to keep that stuff around?

Strawberry Sorbetti

Since it was pretty hot, I was happy to try all the sorbetti—or is that sorbetto? Irregardless of my less-than-competent Italian, I had no trouble understanding how pure flavors of fresh fruit make the best frozen desserts. There was also a Pink Lemonade sorbetto that was…and don’t be jealous of me yet…out-of-this world good. And so refreshing that I would’ve lapped up a whole cup of it if it wasn’t for…

salted caramel gelato

…Salted Butter Caramel gelato!

I was bowled over when I saw the big, caramel-covered mound of ice cream (ok…so this one’s not a low-fat selection), and Matt told me he loved my recipe so much, that he was churning it out as fast as he could. Apparently his customers liked it as much as I do, and he told me they could barely keep it in stock.

Which I can understand. A scoop of great gelato with a expertly-made cappuccino?

I can’t think of a better way to while away an afternoon in Austin. When can I go back?

26 Doors Shopping Center
1206 W. 38th Street
Austin, TX
(512) 451-9555


  • April 29, 2008 2:49pm

    Saw you posted this on Twitter and had to check it out immediately. So YUM! Now I need to figure out a way to get to Austin ASAP. Oh and you were right the first time with “sorbetti” (that’s the plural). Sorbetto is the singular.

  • Kitt
    April 29, 2008 2:52pm

    Bowled over indeed! Make mine large, please!

  • April 29, 2008 2:58pm

    Oyyyyyyyyy. Now I have a reason to visit Austin! Either that or I’m buying a Gelato machine so I can make my own. :-)

  • Patrick
    April 29, 2008 3:47pm

    So what’s his secret to creating creamy ice-cream with just whole milk? Industrial equipment to churn in lots of air?

  • April 29, 2008 3:57pm

    Hi Patrick: I didn’t get all his secrets, but the machine he uses is a pretty small model—about the size of a washing machine, and doesn’t churn a lot of air into the mixture. (Although more than a home machine would.)

    He keep the churned gelato at just the right temperature and told me that nothing is kept more than 3 days. And with the steady stream of customers, I believe it!

  • Chissy
    April 29, 2008 4:32pm

    I LOOOOVE this place! I live in Dallas and will frequently drive to Austin just for this! Actually, my initial motivation was hearing about their amazingly authentic cappuccinos but I’m hooked on the gelatos as well. I guess it’s time for another visit. :)

  • April 29, 2008 6:02pm

    Yum! I went to Vivoli years ago. It was great and bodes well for Teo’s gelato.

  • Linda H
    April 29, 2008 6:20pm

    This time you’ve really done it. You had me at “Nutella!” I buy Nutella to try in recipes, but then I eat the entire jar with a spoon. The Salted Butter Caramel gelato, well, … the Pope is said to be making up a new list of sins. This is sure to be on the list.

  • April 29, 2008 7:25pm

    i love teos!

  • Eric
    April 29, 2008 8:25pm

    Mmmmm yeah, Teo is the best! I had the salted butter caramel awhile back and wondered if you were the inspiration… the clerk said “Lebo-who?” but I think she was just being coy.

  • April 29, 2008 9:54pm

    David, Nutella? Have you tried the brune stuff at Pain Quotidien, I sometimes feel like just licking off the spoon and double dipping, it’s so addictive!

  • April 30, 2008 1:27am

    Gelatos are really great!

    And these look superb! Now that summer in my side of the world, I’m tempted to run towards the nearest gelateria here! :3

    And yes! Nutella is evil. Whether on bread, ice creams, bananas, and even in rice! (we put it in sweet chocolate rice pudding here in Manila.) :3

  • April 30, 2008 3:04am

    My Nutella addiction is in no-knead bread.

  • April 30, 2008 7:47am

    I can’t think of a better way to while away an afternoon in Austin or anywhere, though I happen to like my cappuccino-gelato combo for breakfast!

  • Desiree
    April 30, 2008 8:31am

    When I was in Italy one of the signoras that I knew refused to say the name Nutella. She just called it la mala cosa for fear of invoking it’s siren song and deadly power over her hips. Sadly only too true….

  • April 30, 2008 8:44am

    So many Nutella fans!

    For those of you interested in dying and going to heaven (rather than in the other direction), try Slitti’s Ricossa. Man, is that good! (I wrote about it a while back.)

    I know they have some in stock here, although the price is a bit steep. If anyone makes it to Italy, I highly-recommend picking up a couple of jars. I know on my next trip, I’ll bringing a half-empty suitcase—but I’m not sharing!

  • Eileen
    April 30, 2008 9:03am

    Yes, salted butter caramel gelato and a great cappuccino and I’d be happy!!

  • April 30, 2008 9:29am

    I do miss Austin. I lived there for a few years, but alas, it is surrounded by Texas. I don’t believe Teo was open then.
    I think it is highly dangerous to keep a jar of Nutella around. You begin experimenting with things like Crab and Nutella or Arugula Salad with Nutella Dressing. None were pretty.
    Um, I licked the screen when I saw the Salted Butter Caramel Gelato.

  • April 30, 2008 10:00am

    de-lurking to say, how sad is it that I live in Austin and have never been to Teo’s? In my defense, we have delicious gelato on every corner here, and I live in a different part of town…but still. I’ll make a point to go there as soon as I posisbly can! Thanks for the tip –

  • April 30, 2008 10:15am

    Gelato shops have been popping up in Austin almost as fast as new lofts downtown, but Teo’s is far and away the best gelato/ice cream I’ve ever tasted. The intensity of his flavors is astonishing. In the overwhelming heat of Austin’s summer, I can’t get enough of the pink lemonade flavor. His sorbets will blow you away.

    The temperature, the texture, the flavors, are all perfect. Also, don’t miss the affogato with chocolate gelato.

    Sorry to have missed your class, David, but glad you got a chance to spend more time in Austin. Maybe next time you and Matt could teach a gelato class together?

  • April 30, 2008 11:03am

    I always knew there was a reason I wanted to go and live in Austin! That salted butter caramel looks incredible, not to mention the doubly nutty peanut butter Nutella creation. And I agree: that stuff is dangerous and I won’t have it in my house!

  • Meredith
    April 30, 2008 11:03am

    I live in Austin, and can vouch for how wonderful this place is. I first tasted salted caramel ice cream at Berthillon, ironically, and am delighted to get to eat it almost as often as I want to here at Teo’s. Hooray!

  • nellie
    April 30, 2008 11:38am

    what’s “irregardless”?


    It’s a word!-dl

  • Lorna
    April 30, 2008 12:24pm

    Here are some people who will give them a run for their money – http://roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=4182

  • Marissa
    April 30, 2008 1:25pm

    I lived in Austin for 6 years and never tried Teo


    My go-to for a cool me off treat was Sandy’s for Frozen custard.

  • April 30, 2008 1:58pm

    You got me with the salted butter caramel. There is nothing better than salty caramel. Let me repeat, nothing.

  • Jennie
    April 30, 2008 2:02pm

    I had to move from Austin to TN in 2005, and I was devastated to leave Teo’s and Central Market. Both are a must when I return for a visit.

  • Shirlie
    April 30, 2008 3:20pm

    I swapped Nutella for the peanut butter in your Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream recipe from The Perfect Scoop. The nutella flavor was too subtle in my opinion, so next time I’m doubling it! (I kept the proportion the same as in your recipe). Thanks for a great post, Teo’s in on my list of must try.

  • Linn
    May 1, 2008 8:09pm

    Since I am lucky enough to live in the Great State of Texas and even better I live in Austin, so I am adding this to my list of stops for this weekend…cant’ wait to enjoy Salted Butter Caramel gelato.


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