It’s safe to say that I have an incredibly sweet tooth. I’ve been known to enjoy a sizeable amount of cheesecake at family Christmas parties, and as soon as we’re down to the last biscuit in the office, I will almost certainly be the first to alert the rest of the team. Even now, as I sit at my desk writing this here review, I’m sipping water out of a cup which resembles a giant ice cream. It’s possible I have a problem.
So, when I was invited to visit Dolcino Nottingham for an evening of indulgence, it took little convincing. Dolcino is proudly Italian, serving up fresh gelato, coffee and other sugary based goods. Even the interior plays homage to their roots, kitted out with a Vespa and a turquoise colour theme throughout, inspired by Milan’s iconic bicycle brand, Bianchi.
On arrival, we were greeted with some bubbles and a sample of something sweet. Served in a wine glass was a miniature version of their Nocciola Sundae (£5.45); chocolate, hazelnut and vanilla gelato topped with honeycomb, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Delish.
Manager and founder, Francesco Arcadio, sat us all down and began to tell the story of Dolcino, and it soon became clear what sparked his passion for making the traditional dessert. His grandfather began blending gelato on the streets of Rome in the fifties, and little Francesco would scamper home from school to assist him. Francesco and his wife went on to set up the first Dolcino store in Loughborough before joining us in Notts last May, and it’s still very much a family affair. He told us that when his mother comes to visit, even she can’t resist putting on a pinny and getting stuck in.
He then talked through the process of making traditional gelato. Forgive me, but before now I had considered ice cream and gelato very much the same; they are both cold, creamy and taste belting with some warm brownies. But Francesco was very quick to dispel my way of thinking.
Gelato contains less fat than ice cream and is churned much more slowly, meaning it is less aerated and in turn, much richer in flavour. The lower fat content means gelato can be served at a higher temperature than ice cream, which also assists your taste experience. As gelato is that bit warmer, you avoid brain freeze and taste the true flavour as soon as it hits your tongue. Consider me well and truly schooled.
After all the chat, it was demonstration time. The event took place in the upstairs room, which features a glass window that allows customers to see into their treat kitchen. All of their gelato and sorbet is handmade on site daily, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot them hard at work.
A small group were picked to assist in making their Twist on a Twix gelato; amaretto, caramel syrup and twix pieces. The rest of us stood behind the window gawping and firing questions at Francesco. They have already mastered so many flavours at Dolcino, including your typical mint choc chip and the more obscure cherry bakewell, but they’re always up for expanding their range. Give them a challenge and they’ll be sure to accept. They’ve also been sure to cater for all dietary requirements, such as gluten free, vegetarian and vegan.
It was a surprisingly quick process, taking only about ten minutes before the fresh gelato was in my hand and heading towards my mouth. And I have to say, it was divine. But the sweet treats didn’t stop there. Just as I scooped up the last spoonful, they plonked an Oreo Freakshake (£4.50) on the table in front of me, followed by a Unicorn Sundae (not yet on the menu) and a blueberry waffle smothered in Nutella (£5.65-£7.45). I scoffed as much as I could before finally admitting defeat to my sugar coma. It was the best Friday night I’d had in ages.
Until Friday 23 February, kids can sample a free gelato cone or cup in the Nottingham Dolcino store. Valid 10am to midday, and must be accompanied by a paying adult.
7 Beastmarket Hill, Nottingham, NG1 6FB