Atlanta-based High Road Craft Ice Cream, Inc. acquired Ciao Bella Gelato Co., Inc., New York, to explore additional opportunities in the craft frozen dessert and novelty categories.

“I discovered Ciao Bella’s products as an aspiring young chef, and sought out their flavors both as a consumer and a professional during my culinary journey,” says Keith Schroeder, chief executive officer of High Road. “To have the opportunity to steward a brand that I’ve admired for so long is quite a dream come true.”

Ciao Bella worked with Sherbrooke Capital, Newton, Mass., to develop its brand and growth strategy and optimize the operations infrastructure.

“Over the past several years, we’ve been honored to partner with Ciao Bella on its path to becoming a leader in the non-dairy frozen dessert category,” says John Giannuzzi, managing general partner at Sherbrooke Capital. “High Road’s acquisition reaffirms the confidence we’ve had all along in the company’s success and its potential.”

Carlos Canals, chief executive officer of Ciao Bella and a veteran of the consumer packaged goods world, having worked previously worked with Kellogg/Kashi, UNREAL Brands and Tribe Mediterranean), will join High Road as chief integration officer.

“We could not have found a better home for Ciao Bella than High Road,” he adds. “The passion, the belief in good food and the innovative approach that Keith and the entire team brings is exactly what Ciao Bella needs for its next chapter. I am very happy to be joining the team, and can’t wait to see the marvelous things that High Road will create.”

Additionally, High Road announced plans to re-introduce Ciao Bella’s classic, bold-colored paper packaging.

“Ciao Bella has always stood for quality, and I’m proud to have it as part of our brand portfolio. I see Ciao Bella’s sorbetto lineup, in particular, as very extensible. I’m excited to see what we can do with it. The early responses from buyers and fans have been really positive,” adds Nicki Schroeder, chief marketing officer.

"It's an exciting time for High Road, retailers, and most importantly, people who love delicious ice cream. Combining Ciao Bella with High Road's culinary and manufacturing and sourcing excellence makes for a best-of-class portfolio. Nowhere else can you find fresh lemons from Sicily being juiced for sorbetto and freshly baked cookies being folded into Keith's creamy blend of vat pasteurized ice cream all within one facility," says Bryan Freeman, board director of High Road and chief executive officer of Real Good Foods, Glendale, Calif.