Alum’s Italian Heritage Led to Sara’s Artisan Gelato


Frannie Wied, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Sara’s Artisan Gelato is a household name in Green Bay, and the founder Sara Santaga is a Notre Dame Academy alumni herself. 

Santaga, now Sara Santaga Kwaterski, graduated from NDA in 2014. During her time here, she was very involved with women’s soccer and also ran cross country for a year. She knew she had an interest in culinary arts throughout high school. Because NDA doesn’t offer any classes in that area, she took advantage of the art classes offered instead. She specifically enjoyed the painting classes. 

And where did the idea for Sara’s Artisan Gelato originate? 

Santaga was always fond of the idea of starting her own business as her parents were both entrepreneurs, and as said earlier, she had regard and curiosity for the culinary arts. Her grandfather is an immigrant from Italy, and her family took frequent trips there. This is where she found her love of gelato. 

I literally had gelato every single day of my first trip to Italy!” said Santaga. 

While she was finishing culinary school, she had the idea to bring this delicious treat back to Green Bay by opening up a gelato shop. She knew that she would still be able to fulfill her love for gelato and do something that brought out her creativity. 

So, she booked a four-week trip to Italy to study gelato at Carpigiani University in Bologna. It was here that she fell in love with gelato all over again and found her passion for gelato-making. 

“It was so much fun, and I ended up loving the process of making gelato. I felt a connection to my Italian heritage, and it just felt like a perfect fit for me,” said Santaga. 

Now, three years later, Sara’s Gelato is a name that everyone in Green Bay knows. As for the future, she isn’t quite sure what is in store, but she welcomes all of the excitement and opportunities it will hold. She recently opened up another shop in Door Country, something she never predicted to happen. A future goal of hers is to have her gelato available in grocery stores and the ever-present goal of increasing her wholesale business. 

“I have found that in my last three years of business, you can plan as much as you want and things will still come your way that you never expected – and often in a good way! So I am not sure what exactly will be in the future, but I am excited for it,” said Santaga. 

Besides all of her gelato endeavors, Santaga  recently married in December, something she described as nothing short of perfect. Her husband, also a former Triton, planned the mass, from the readings to the music, making the whole event even more special. 

“When you go through the Catholic wedding preparation, you really have a new appreciation for the sacrament and the promise to God that you’re making — at least I did,” said Santaga. 

Her favorite part of the night was her first dance. They danced to “Never Let You Go” by Third Eye Blind, a band that held a special place in both of their hearts after seeing them in concert numerous times. 

“I didn’t see another person in the room besides my husband, and we sang the whole song. It was perfect,” said Santaga. 

When asked about her favorite memory from NDA, Santaga couldn’t choose just one. From Mr. NDA to service trips and soccer, there were so many different experiences she enjoyed. She loves that she still runs into different teachers and classmates from time to time. 

“I really enjoyed my experience at NDA as a whole. I even married one of my classmates this past December. I’m also grateful that I had an outlet to both express and grow in my faith while attending Notre Dame,” said Santaga.