Take your taste buds on a trip to Italy at Dolcezza Gelato Factory, which recently opened its doors across the street from Union Market. More than your run-of-the-mill parlor, this sweet treat spot doubles as a small batch food factory, giving visitors a close-up-and personal glimpse at the gelato making process—from the chopping up of the fresh fruit to the freezing of the milk and cream.

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Gelato 101
If you are one who hears the word gelato and thinks, oh, that’s the Italian word for ice cream, then think again, my friend. Gelato is sooooo much more than ice cream. Sweeter, denser, and packed with a wallop of intense flavor, it’s an experience all its own. Dolcezza makes everything by hand, using only fresh local fruit, nuts and cream, and serves it up in an eclectic mix of porcelain, ceramic, and glass bowls with real silverware. With mouth-watering flavors such as crookneck pumpkin, dulce de leche, sweet potato pecan praline, clementine, and salt and lime-cilantro, it’s a treat your kids will gush over. The tasting room features a 20-person bar where kids can plop down and enjoy their gelato while peeking in on the final steps of the production process.

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Assembly Line
What makes Dolcezza an even cooler experience is that you can watch the entire gelato-making process right from your factory seat. Insider tip: Go early in the day, that’s when most of the gelato batching takes place. The 4,000-square foot facility offers free tours, tastings, and private parties.  (Pssst, rumor has it that magic gelato making elves are working up some very robust and unique new flavors, including Singing Dog Vanilla with rosemary, brown sugar, and walnuts…OMG!).

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Extra Perks
If you need some java with your gelato, you’re in luck. Dolcezza serves up a rotating list of seasonal, single origin coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. And for kiddos who are still working on the fine are of using utensils, Dolcezza hawks gelato and sorbetto push pops that are perfect for little fingers.

550 Penn St., NE (Brentwood)
202-333-4646
Online: dolecezzagelato.com

Have you checked out this gelato factory? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

—Jamy Bond

Photos courtesy of Dolcezza Gelato Factory and Dolcezza Gelato Factory via Facebook