Dolcezza Factory (DC)

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The lady is a sucker for anything rich and sweet and delightful. I try to limit my intake of the cold sweet treats, but obviously you have to treat yourself sometimes.  Our idea for this Saturday had been to check out the last couple of DC breweries that we hadn’t yet, but instead we decided to split the day and do one brewery and the Dolcezza factory tour. We dedicated most of the weekend to exploring Northeast DC!

We got to the factory about half an hour early, because I wanted to make sure we’d get in on a tour and I was certain the place would be packed. To my surprise, it wasn’t busy at all. So we sat down and started with a couple of tasters to kill the time. She had the valrhona chocolate amargo and I had the lemon sorbetto. Initially, I was a bit miffed that I was being charged $6 for the world’s tiniest scoop of sorbetto and gelato, but that was really all you needed. The flavors were super rich and  little went a long way.

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A lot of people came and went while we were there, but by the time the tour started, there were only about 10-15 of us. We started with a little bit of the history of Dolcezza and then moved onto the production line. While there, we learned the difference between ice cream and gelato. Gelato is served at a slightly warmer temperature, so as not to shock the palate, and to be able to taste more of the flavor. There is less air in gelato, so that also helps with the richness and is why you only need a tiny scoop of it. The milk fat content is also lower in gelato. We learned that the reason gelato, and theirs in particular, is so smooth is because they lower it to just above freezing in the last step of their process. The slower you freeze something, the fewer ice crystals you get. Hence, smooth. My favorite part of the tour, besides the tasting at the end, was the peak we got into one of their big walk-in freezers. There were just GALLONS of every different flavor of gelato, all different colors. I had an urge to run in, grab as many as I could, and run. But I just don’t think I would have been able to decide on flavors quick enough to get away with it. Indecision would be my downfall.

The flavor they were spinning before the tour was Salted Caramel. While I do love caramel-flavored things, sometimes I’m hit or miss on salted caramel. If it’s too salty, it’s just gross. Turns out, their was perfect. And getting to try it straight out of the machine was amazing. It tasted like the richest, most flavorful soft serve you could ever imagine.

Before we left, I wanted to try a couple more flavors, so we grabbed a couple of push-pops from the freezer and sat outside to enjoy them. I went with the Thai Coconut Milk and the lady went for the Salted Caramel. Mine wasn’t as rich or flavorful as I had hoped, but it was still good. Luckily, the lady let me have a couple of bites of hers.

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  • Favorite flavor I had: I didn’t think I’d love it, but I did: the salted caramel. Not too salty.
  • Favorite flavor she had: valrhona chocolate amargo 
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Whatever flavors they’re spinning at the time. They had a pineapple lime (or something) sorbetto in the push pops, but I surprisingly didn’t go for it. Maybe next time.
  • What makes this place stand out: The space is nice and crisp. The coffee bar area was really nice to hang out. I told the lady that it would be nice to have a kitchen similar to that space. Big, open, wood, white.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions)I’m sure I’ll find myself at a Dolcezza sometime during what is sure to be a hot summer. I’d take an out-of-town friend to the factory.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby)Union Market is the most obvious place, but you’re also basically in the middle of all of DC’s microbreweries. We did a tasting at Chocolate City Beer before this. Atlas Brew Works is close, so is New Columbia Distillers. I highly recommend 3 Stars Brewing Company.
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