I was extremely excited when I learned that I had the opportunity to go to Dolce Neve this week for the ITAL blog. I first learned about this gelateria a couple years ago from one of my friends from school who used to work there. I’ll never forget the first flavor I tried – stracciatella with orange peels mixed in. It was simply delightful. And because I was too shy at the time to talk to the owners in Italian and compliment them on their amazing gelato, I was so excited when I learned I had the chance to go there for an interview. I’d not only get to talk to them in Italian, but I’d also be able to go behind the scenes!
Italian natives Marco, Francesca and Leo are the owners of Dolce Neve (literally translates to “sweet snow”) who decided to bring authentic Italian gelato to the heart of Austin. Their motto is: “We do it in front of everyone”. That means customers can count on catching the owners making the gelato behind the counter as they choose what flavor they want. After watching this process for just a short amount of time, it’s easy to see that they never use any artificial flavors, colors, or ingredients. For example, Leo told me that the classic pistachio gelato starts with them buying raw pistachios and roasting them. They even go as far as preparing their own fresh marmellata, or jam, that they mix in with various flavors.
While Leo explained to me that some of the most popular flavors include pistachio, stracciatella, and caramel, I noticed that they love to provide customers with nontraditional flavors too. You can expect to see anything from cayenne chocolate, to whiskey pecan, chocolate with sea salt, and even some vegan options. Marco told me me that they come up with new flavor combinations frequently, and they gather inspiration for these from local, in season, fresh ingredients.
I was also surprised to learn from Marco that many of the typical things we expect to see in a gelateria are actually evidence of non-authentic, bad quality gelato. You know how you expect to see brilliantly whipped gelato overflowing the rims with bright colors on display? Well, gelato is actually protected best by not only keeping it from overflowing the bin, but containing it in a metal bin covered with a lid. Gelato that is overflowing and exposed may be signs of added, unnecessary chemicals that try to preserve that “perfect” appearance. In addition, bright colors are obvious signs of food coloring. For example, many expect the classic pistachio flavor to be bright green; however, true pistachio gelato is not bright green. In other words, the more natural looking the colors, the more authentic and better quality the gelato is.
Overall, I had an amazing time going to Dolce Neve this weekend. The owners were so nice and welcoming, and I really enjoyed learning about the unique process that goes into making their delicious gelato!!