Restaurant News

New Gelato Shop Dolce Neve Lands in the Heights on Thursday

Inside Dolce Neve's new Heights location.
Inside Dolce Neve's new Heights location. Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
Highly anticipated Austin gelateria Dolce Neve opens its doors on Thursday, March 30, at 4721 North Main, in the same building as Morningstar. In fact, Dolce Neve has already hosted a pop-up at Morningstar (and one at Fluff Bake Bar) as its owner and coffee fanatic David Buehrer is regarded as a "longtime fan" of the gelato shop, who helped convince them to expand to Houston.

Running the Houston shop is co-owner Marco Silvestrini, whose sister Francesca Silvestrini and her husband, Leopoldo Ferrarese, will stay in Austin to run the shop there. All three grew up in Italy, though Marco Silvestrini tells the Houston Press he got in the gelato business after a hectic eight years in the business world.

"I wanted to do something I actually cared about," he says.

And care about it he does. If you're the type of person who wants to know minutiae, such as the differences in what emulsifiers various Italian cities use for their gelato — Sicilians apparently do not use egg yolk in their preparation — Silvestrini is the guy to talk to.

Though it's his sister who actually learned the gelato craft back in Italy, at the Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna and at the regarded Gianfrancesco Cutelli at Gelateria De’Coltelli in Pisa. You can thank her for many of the recipes, and yes, they do use egg yolk as an emulsifier, except for in certain instances that don't call for it, such as when making the sorbet (currently a strawberry flavor) or the chocolate gelato.
click to enlarge An affogato with stracciatella. - PHOTO BY GWENDOLYN KNAPP
An affogato with stracciatella.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
There are about a dozen flavors at the Heights location, including a Texas-inspired goat cheese and pecan variation with chèvre sourced from Pure Luck Farm (makers of cult favorite June's Joy and more fine artisan cheeses), traditional flavors including stracciatella, pistachio and hazelnut. In fact, Sivestrini tells the Press that the nutty flavors are his particular favorites, but if you're into more bizarre offerings, the Austin shop has been known to bust out occasional savory specialties, including both a yellow pepper and parmesan gelato.

Mainly, you can expect a slew of rotating and seasonal sweet flavors (most ingredients, including the milk, are sourced locally), including one gelato, will always be on sale — the house-signature lemon custard flavor— all available in cup, cone or as an affogato (with an espresso pour-over). You'll also find gelato pops and sandwiches, including coffee gelato sandwiched between chocolate cookies and salted caramel with vanilla-lemon cookies, all baked in house, of course.

Prices hover in the $4-$7 range, and more for pints and quarts.

Dolce Neve
4721 North Main, 832-767-2183,
Hours: Sunday through Thursday,  noon to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday: noon to 11p.m.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.