Robb Duncan, Washington’s premier gelato artisan and co-owner of Dolcezza, is pleased to announce December 7th opening of their state-of-the-art gelato factory + coffee lab at 550 Penn Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, just steps from the burgeoning Union Market. The 4,000 square-foot warehouse facility previously housed a wholesale flower market and is being converted into an open warehouse gelato production facility. The factory will include a small gelato tasting room providing a unique customer experience along with an extensive coffee lab for training and cupping purposes. The tasting room will feature a bar looking onto the production floor which will accommodate up to 20 people. Dolcezza works with area farmers and producers to craft up to 300 seasonally driven flavors of gelato and sorbetto each year. The tasting room will give guests the opportunity to observe the production process, while eating the same flavors being produced at that moment. The factory will offer daily tastings between 12 Noon and 7 p.m.
At the new factory, guests will be able to order both gelato and sorbetto as they are being produced daily fresh from the machine, with five to six flavors being made at any one time. The gelato will be served in an eclectic mix of porcelain, ceramic, and glass bowls with real silverware. What makes this so tempting for connoisseurs is that at Dolcezza’s retail shops around Washington, their award-winning artisan gelato must be tempered for 24 hours in order to be served in cones and cups. However at the factory, guests are able to savor the absolute freshest gelato directly from the batch freezer as it is made. Think soft serve gourmet gelato. Examples of fall and winter flavors include Crookneck Pumpkin; Maple Syrup; Ginger Cardamom Pistacchio and Sweet Potato Pecan Praline. For dairy free alternatives, don’t miss the sorbets, Pomegranate; Honey Crisp Apple, Quince, Blood Orange, and Clementine.
By moving the gelato production from a small downstairs facility in Georgetown to the new factory, housed in the expansive, old industrial building on Penn Street NE, Dolcezza will increase production space tenfold. Designed by Brian Miller of Edit, the space will feature skylights, 18-foot tall glass garage doors and vintage industrial pieces from the Hershey Chocolate Factory circa 1950. Twenty-foot ceilings and open web steel joists give the room a grand but raw atmosphere. From the new mezzanine level, the public will be able to get a bird’s eye view of the entire gelato making process.
Additionally there will be a coffee lab that showcases Dolcezza’s latest brewing techniques and varieties of premium artisan beans roasted by Stumptown Coffee Roasters. This area has poured concrete tasting counters, custom millwork using plywood panels, and a back wall constructed with repurposed wood crates from Dolcezza’s farmers. With plenty of open floor space and room for future expansion, the factory will be well suited for hosting special events for groups ranging between 50 and 100 guests.
When Robb Duncan met his wife and business partner in Dolcezza Violeta Edelman sailing down the Amazon, little did he know that two love stories were unfolding. As one romance bloomed in South America, another emerged from a sampling of Argentina’s tradition of artisan gelato and a determination to bring it to the United States. After learning the delicate process of crafting gelati and sorbetti in Buenos Aires, the husband and wife team found a niche in DC’s budding local food culture, building a business on the foundation of cultivating close relationships with local farmers to create delicious and distinctive gelatos and sorbets. The two have formed lasting bonds with the area’s local farmers and artisans, incorporating locally grown and seasonal fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese, and fresh herbs into their product.
Dolcezza’s philosophy is simple: Be curious. Be spontaneous. Play with you food. Support local farmers and make exquisite gelato. Dolcezza makes gelato with a conscience, using only the best available ingredients grown by local farmer friends. By creating an artisanal product, Dolcezza has learned to measure time with the seasons and to work closely with local farmers.
Originally published here.