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Words by Melissa Groth, Photos by Jordan Edwards

Dolci Gelati has opened up a second retail shop in DC’s Shaw neighborhood at the CityMarket at O. This latest opening is in addition to a smaller Takoma Park location and food truck. A larger, more open space allows pastry chef and gelato maker Gianluigi Dellaccio and his wife, Anastasia, to showcase a wider menu of Italian goodies. With the bright new cafe, Dolci Gelati has founds its “dream place.” They’ve certainly come a long way from going store to store with gelato in a cooler strapped to the back of a Vespa.


The authentic Italian gelato recipe has been in Gianluigi’s family for decades, but he’s improved upon it. Using a mill, he grinds dried fruits and nuts into fine powders to use in his unique gelato flavors like black sesame seed, salted pumpkin seed, and pistachio. Among the classic flavors like strawberry, almond, and chocolate, you’ll also find honey mascarpone fig, white chocolate ginger, toasted coconut, and stracciatella, as well as orange-cranberry and mandarin sorbets. Testing them all won’t make it any easier to choose a favorite.


The Shaw location offers a custom gelato and sorbet pop station with six different pop flavors to choose from, six chocolate dips including pistachio and strawberry, and a variety of nuts and sprinkles. Tons of combinations, each beautiful and delicious. Also gorgeous are the sundaes, or “coppe gelato” topped with incredible thick whipped cream. You’ll find the same whipped cream floating atop their dark chocolate and hazelnut Italian style hot chocolates, which are decadent and richly indulgent. You won’t be able to drink the powdered stuff again, and forget those mini marshmallows- Dolci Gelati has homemade ones.


Not sweet enough for you? There is also a case of pastries including hazelnut tarts, cannolis, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, sfogliatelle, fruit tart and blackberry-topped panna cotta.


With all that sweet indulgence you might start to crave something savory. If so, you won’t have to go far. They also offer a pesto caprese panini, a ham and cheese croissant, and an amazing prosciutto mozzarella panini. Bet you didn’t think you’d be going to a gelato shop for a sandwich, but that’s the thing- Dolci Gelati’s new location isn’t just a gelato shop, it’s more like an Italian cafe. Anastasia claims that their idea is to do just a few things and to do them really well. But with homemade gelato, a customizable pop station, sundaes, homemade pastries, coffee, hot chocolate, and savory sandwich options, it turns out they do quite a few things really, really well.