By Tim Ebner
By the time late spring rolls around, Robb Duncan is salivating for summer. It’s the time of year when his business, Dolcezza Gelato, is busy whipping up frozen gelatos with fresh berries, including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and red, black and purple raspberries.
Summer also means peak herb growing season. And, if there was a Super Bowl Sunday for gelato producers, Duncan says it would be during the last week of June.
“That one week is a big one. It’s just an amazing time for fresh gelato,” he says. “It’s the tail end of strawberry season, and it has a one-week overlap where blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are in season too.”
This year Dolcezza is ready for that week. The gelato shop recently opened a 4,000-square-foot factory space, behind Union Market in Northeast D.C. The factory space feels light and airy, thanks to skylights and 20-foot open ceilings. This is part production part tasting room. Visitors can sample fresh off-the-line gelatos, and soon coffee too. It’s a big improvement over their first Georgetown shop, Duncan says, where they made gelato in a 300-square-foot retail space.
The gelato factory not only ups the production process, it also ups the flavor profile of the gelatos being made. Duncan calls it the “Krispy Kreme” effect. Just like freshly made glazed doughnuts, the gelatos taste better when they come straight from the source, he says. Gelato is meant to be served at a temperature around 20° F. When Dolcezza boxes and moves it to stores, the gelato is a bit colder, around 10° F. The temperature difference is small, but it matters, Duncan says.
“At the factory it has a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. You can really taste it.”
Visiting Dolcezza Laboratory—The new Dolcezza Laboratory is located at 550 Penn St. NW behind Union Market. Hours are Tuesday–Thursday, noon–5pm, Friday noon–7pm, Saturday 11am–8 pm and Sunday 11am–7pm. Tours of the production facility are given Saturdays at 2 and 4pm, and Sundays at 1 and 3pm. Those interested in tours will need to sign up in person the same day as their desired tour. DolcezzaGelato.com.
- Tim Ebner writes about food and travel in Washington, DC. He’s works on digital content and strategy at Education Week and contributes for Forbes Travel, Eater DC, The Washington City Paper’s “Young & Hungry” and The Washington Post Express. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram (@ebnert) for dining and travel tips.