Via Gelato hits the streets of Honolulu

The Via Gelato truck rolled out yesterday, with flavors of brown butter vanilla, green tea haupia, black sesame, chocolate, and cafe latte, all of it freshly made, including the cones. Quite a step up from the neighborhood ice cream truck of prepackaged frozen desserts.

Melissa Bow, a Punahou grad and former physical therapist, returned from New York recently to start Via Gelato, to combine "all the things that I love: food and Hawaii culture," she says. She sources locally as much as possible, from Big Island milk to Madre Chocolate to Oahu-grown lilikoi, mangoes and kalo. Yes, kalo, for the kalo haupia gelato. It's part of Bow's mission to capture unique-to-Hawaii flavors, like lilikoi banana and even vanilla pikake.

Everything is made from scratch. It would be much easier if Bow started with the widely-used fruit purees and nut pastes (i.e. pistachio, hazelnut, strawberry), which are consistent and, well, pre-made, but recipes using those ingredients "have already been invented," Bow says, resulting in flavors "you can find at any gelato place in California, Vegas, Florida, wherever. I make flavors special to this place, Hawaii."

Try your scoop in a cone with a chocolate tip so that when you get to the end of your gelato, you still have some dark, melted chocolate to eat with the rest of your cone.

Experience Via Gelato tonight on Ward in front of Sports Authority, from 6 to 10 p.m. To find out where the truck will be other days and the flavors of the day, follow Via Gelato on Twitter @viagelato.