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Dolce Neve

Small-batch, traditional gelato inspires devotees

By Kate Thornberry, Fri., May 9, 2014

Dolce Neve
Photos by John Anderson

Dolce Neve

1713 S. First, 512/804-5568
Mon.-Fri., 11am-10pm; Sat.-Sun., 11am-12mid
www.dolcenevegelato.com
Dolce Neve

Ever since Dolce Neve Local Italian Gelato opened, they have been mobbed. Housed in a cheerful little remodeled house on South First, Dolce Neve (Italian for "sweet snow") makes small-batch, traditional gelato with an emphasis on locally sourced, high-quality ingredients. Customary flavors such as pistachio, gianduia, tiramisu, amaretto, stracciatella, and chocolate are joined by original flavors like goat cheese and black cherry, ricotta and honey, mascarpone and Meyer lemon zest, and green tea. Most evenings, there is an ever-renewing line of eager customers stretching from the counter to the front door. Owned and operated by a trio of Italians, Dolce Neve appears to have been opened in the right place, at the right time, selling the right product.

But it wasn't blind luck that brought Francesca Silvestrini, her brother Marco Silvestrini, and her fiancé Leopoldo Ferrarese to South Austin. There was plenty of research, planning, idealism, and courage involved. All three were in mid-career when they decided to change course and open a gelato shop. Marco Silvestrini was a management consultant in New York City, Leopoldo was a software engineer in Milan, and Francesca was completing a Ph.D. in finance at Ohio State University. After Francesca had formally studied gelato-making and won a prestigious gelato competition, the trio carefully researched which American cities would be most receptive to the artisanal gelato they dreamt of making. They selected Austin for our explosive culinary scene and interest in premium organic and local ingredients.

Dolce Neve uses local, organic milk, organic nuts, Pure Luck Farm & Dairy goat cheese, and locally grown organic fruit and honey. They strive to have 16 flavors of gelato and two sorbettos at all times; as they are constantly selling out of various flavors, this can be difficult. When summer descends they plan to offer granita, the Italian shaved ice, and additional sorbetto flavors. Other frozen treats include gelato ice cream sandwiches, chocolate-dipped gelato bars, popsicles, and affogatos (gelato topped with espresso). Espresso and cappuccino, made with a special blend from Texas Coffee Traders, round out the menu.

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