With more and more customers demanding locally-made, handcrafted products, Carpigiani/Ali Group’s MasterStick soft-serve freezer might be just the tool to add to your back-of-house. Used to create gelato on a stick, gelato cakes and milkshakes, the machine has a special program that only partially crystalizes gelato mix while adding high overrun (that’s the air whipped into the ice cream mixture). The semi-dense mix, called “crystal,” runs through the machine’s hose and out of the portioning pistol, easily filling large cake molds or small stick molds with ice cream infused with your own flavorings. After blast freezing, the mix completes its crystallization phase and becomes gelato. The gelato maintains its initial overrun, which ensures the right density so that customers can slice the house-made ice cream cakes while they’re still at 0°F. One Carpigiani client, The Pop Shop, Montgomery, Ohio, offers more than 40 flavor combinations of gelato pops, gourmet ice pops and alcoholic “boozy” ice cream pops. “The customers are the ‘Pop Artists,’ and they choose the flavor combinations,” says Owner Randy Key. He opened The Pop Shop using Carpigiani’s MasterStick and a Carpigiani Nordika 400 blast freezer. Also able to produce milkshakes, MasterStick has a Portions program that dispenses continuous cups of milkshake in exact portions.