Dolce Neve Brings Organic Gelato to South Austin


The very first gelato was made out of snow in Italy. Since then, the process for making the Italian dessert has evolved into what it is today. In the near future, three Italians will present Austin with its newest gelato shop.

Dolce Neve, Italian for “sweet snow,” is located on South First Street, just around the corner from the famous “Greetings from Austin” mural. The shop’s founders moved from their home in Italy to show Austin what real Italian gelato tastes like.

“People need to be able to tell what’s inside, if it’s a pumpkin amaretto ice cream, you need to be able to taste the pumpkin and amaretto,” Founder Francesca Silvestrini explains in her thick Italian accent. “You need to really taste the flavor and everything that’s inside.”

Silvestrini studied the art of gelato-making in Italy and when her brother, Marco, and boyfriend, Leo Ferrarese, realized they were unfulfilled in their jobs, the three of them decided to relocate to America.

In their opinion, now is not a good time to start a business in Italy. And when they were deciding which city in America to plant their roots, Austin just stood out because of it’s similarity to their home of Marche, a region on the east coast of Italy.

“We can feel closer to Marche,” Silvestrini says. “We can relate to this city a lot.”

According to the the founders, their shop will be the only gelato shop in Austin run by Italians. This makes a significant difference in the quality of the dessert, Silvestrini says.

Many gelato shops use modern machines or inorganic ingredients, but Dolce Neve will run on an old-fashioned machine, just like the famous gelato chefs of Italy, and with local, organic fruit.

“It’s more difficult and you spend more time but we prefer to do everything in the best way,” Ferrarese says.

To him, gelato is similar to chemistry:  “You have to find the right ingredients, have to find the right balance.”

With opening day in sight, the Silvestrinis and Ferrarese are lucky to have a location at all. They had their heart set on a South First Street location because they liked all the little houses being renovated as businesses and the fact that people walk up and down the street like in Italy. It took around nine months to secure the prime location.

Dolce Neve prides itself on not having anything to hide and ask that you come in and see how the gelato is made.

“You will feel like you are in an Italian house where people prepare food for you,” Silvestrini says. “If your grandma made gelato, this would be her gelato.