This is a story born of romance. Immediately when you step into the room with Robb and Violeta, owners of the D.C.-based gelateria Dolcezza, you know there’s something special. You can hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes when they look at each other – all of this, their now six locations, proliferation of flavors and distribution of locavore, artisanal gelato & sorbetto, is a result of their love for one another and the experiences they’ve shared.
Their passion blossomed in their time together in Buenos Aires, in the glow of gelaterias, which at the time was a quite common sight there while nigh unheard of in the states. When Robb’s work as a software engineer brought them north to Washington D.C., they began to miss the nostalgic reminder of those formative shared moments and memories they created in their favorite gelato shops. Finally the day came when they could wait no longer to have it again, and they opened a gelato shop of their own, right in Georgetown, having never before even attempted making gelato. Their penchant for building friendships with local farmers has worked wonderfully for them, with the recent opening of their sixth store (at 14th Street & P) in D.C. and the availability of their excellent farm-to-table gelato and sorbetto at hotels, restaurants, and stores throughout the region. And now, finally, you can have it anywhere, as they’ve begun selling collections of pints on their website with cute little push-pops soon to come. But with so many alluring flavors, what should you get?
Flavors sing when the fresh, single farm fruits, vegetables, and herbs stand proud in the foreground of these cocktail-like infusions, instead of the typical sugar and cream of your average frozen treat.
Here are my thoughts on all the flavors I sampled at a recent tasting in NYC.
Lemon Opal Basil – Tangy lemon with a mild undertone of basil (grown by one of the owners’ friends!). The pucker with the savory compliment play very well together.
Peppermint Stracciatella – Subtle hint of mint floating barely under the surface. Just a whisper, from the use of real mint leaves, as opposed to the harsh bite of artificial mint flavor one typically encounters. Delicate whips of dark chocolate (the “shredded” stracciatella element) add a satisfying crunch to every spoonful.
Cucumber Tarragon Mint – Light and refreshing cucumber with the earthy citrus of Mexican tarragon. Just a tiny touch of botanicals from D.C.’s native Green Hat Gin. It’s like a summery spoonable cocktail. Irresistible.
Salted Caramel – Rich, robust dulce de leche. Crystalized caramel punctuates each bite, giving even more depth to the already intense flavor. This one is powerful.
Blueberry Lemon Thyme – All flavors blend beautifully into something more complex and deep than any of the components. It’s hard to tell them apart, they work so well together. Enlightened.
Blackberries & Cream – Strong blueberry flavor dominates. You don’t taste cream or milk, it just feels creamy, which is quite the accomplishment. Delicious and impressive.
Thai Coconut Milk – Soft and well-rounded coconut flavor with a little touch of rum (Malibu, as it turns out). Another cocktail in a spoon, this time tropical.
Yellow Peach Southern Comfort – Balanced and plentiful flavor of perfectly ripe peaches. The Southern Comfort whiskey, though, was difficult for me to detect. Would love to see it more pronounced in the future.
Valhrona Dark Chocolate – Intense. Decadent. Delicious. It’s as if a melted chocolate bar was somehow rendered mysteriously frozen and smooth. Dangerously spoonable. You’ve been warned.
You can pick up some of this delicious gelato now at Dolcezzagelato.com.