Change your life! Meet Julie Perley, and try some gelato in Egg Harbor!
By Donna Marie Pocius
Special to DoorCountyNavigator.com
Julie Perley says making gelato gives her an opportunity to help people, just like working in the dental field used to.
Perley and her husband, Jeff, own Double Delites (www.doubledelites.com), a gelato, gourmet popcorn and gift store “on the curve” in Egg Harbor—7818 Hwy. 42.
Prior to opening the store last year, Julie held various positions in the dental field. Her husband, with a dental laboratory above the store, makes permanent restorations—crowns, bridges, etc.--for dentists nationwide.
In conjunction with the move to the Door Peninsula from northern Illinois, Julie wanted to make a career change. She liked being able to promote dental health to people, so the transition was not so easy.
“In dentistry, I can help people and make a difference and that was important to me,” she says. “And, now, I think I do so even with the gelato. People come in, and they appreciate the gelato and the smiles and having a nice place to go to. So I think I can still make people happy.”
That’s for sure.
Take one look at the pretty gelato in the glass case, actually imported from Italy just like all of the gelato ingredients, and one can’t help but smile. From there, try a sample (they are free) and choose from 12 flavors of gelato, made in small batches each day by Julie.
Chocolate, coconut, lemon, mango, mint, raspberry, strawberry, stracciatella . . . Stracciatella?
“They are all Italian. The stracciatella is an Italian classic. There is a special chocolate in there. It’s chocolate that has a peanut butter consistency. As it hits the ice cream, it hardens,” says Julie of the bits of chocolate in that one.
It may be hard to choose, since they all look so pretty in the pan. Julie takes pleasure in not only making the gelato on site but also presenting it with different toppings, such as chocolate syrup in swivel designs.
“I think I got into it because of the artistic value, too. It would be easy to order it and slap it down. But I think I would be too bored,” she says.
“I have control of the recipes and decorations.”
She has enough space in the case for 18 flavors, but keeps 12 on hand at once to ensure freshness.
A big part of the job for Julie, and her staff of five, is educating people about gelato and how it is different from ice cream.
“First I’ll tell them that it’s the best tasting ice cream you ever had and don’t be afraid to come here and taste it,” she says.
Gelato, an Italian frozen dessert, is lower in fat, has less air (because it is churned at a higher speed than American ice cream) and is served 10 degrees warmer than ice cream.
The warmer temperature of gelato helps to bring out the flavor.
“The Italians are truly about flavor of the gelato and the richness of flavor. It’s rich in flavor, but not in fat. Flavor, flavor, flavor for gelato,” Julie says.
She recalled serving a senior, who at first appeared hesitant about approaching the pretty gelato in the case.
“He was in his 70s, and he asked for a taste of the chocolate and then for two scoops,” Julie says.
“He came back on a busy night and said, ‘You changed my life. I made a judgment about this before I even tasted it. This is the best tasting ice cream I ever had. I have to try things before I just say no.’”
And how did changing someone’s life for the better make Julie feel?
“That made me feel good,” she said.