Dolce Vita Gelato is now open in Washington Township on weekends, during their soft opening phase.
Owners Nick and Kim Corso are Williamstown residents who love traveling to Italy, where the inspiration to learn the true Italian style of making gelato… and then bringing it to South Jersey, came from.
They actually opened up last weekend. I visited and was able to get photos of the store and gelato … both of which are amazing!
The beautiful interior of the store décor brings you right into the couple’s favorite region of Italy, Tuscany. Specifically the town of San Gimignano. Walking through the front door you will literally say “wow this is really cool!”
And then when you try the gelato you’ll realize there’s nothing like it on this side of the Delaware River.
Nick was so focused on providing the area’s best gelato, he spent three weeks in Bologna Italy learning from the country’s top experts on how to make true Italian Gelato.
And he has brought that knowledge to Washington Township, at the couple’s Dolce Vita shop!
The Greentree Rd. shop also features a coffee bar offering espresso, cappuccino and more.
I thought I’d give Nick and Kim that first weekend to get familiar with things before I put a story up on 42Freeway.
That being said Washington Township is excited for their true Italian Artisanal Gelato, as word got out fast and the shop was very busy all last weekend.
With some nice weather in store for this weekend, plus some coverage by your favorite South Jersey new business website… expect another busy weekend!
Dolce Vita is located at the corner of Greentree Rd. and Chapel Heights Rd, catty-corner from Duffield’s Farm.
Keep scrolling and reading for more!
Dolce Vita Gelato – What is Italian Gelato?
To most people Italian Gelato is in the same category as ice cream and admittedly they are both frozen treats.
But gelato is much denser and creamier than ice cream.
What I mean by denser is, both Gelato and ice cream add air into the mixture to give it its creaminess but with Gelato it’s significantly less air and more delicious product. So the same size cup of Gelato can actually have two times or more the amount of product.
A proper Gelato is always a very creamy, soft product because the temperature is perfectly maintained to make sure it never freezes solid.
Additionally the base ingredient recipes for the two products differ. Gelato typically uses more milk, less cream and usually does not include egg yolks.
Gelato also has a lower butterfat content which tends to make the flavors more intense.
And in my visit with Nick I learned that he has truly become a Gelato scientist, making sure the ingredients, temperature, and consistency are maintained perfectly from creation until it is put into your cup.
Dolce Vita Gelato – The Cafe
As mentioned they are located on Greentree Rd. in a building which long ago was a classic Wawa. Today a dentist office has the larger portion of the building (on the left) and Dolce Vita is on the right side.
The exterior is lovely with nice Italian cafe style tables and chairs set up outside, but opening up the door and walking inside is kind of like when Dorothy first landed in Oz and opened the door into a colorful new world.
The inside décor of the café recreates the experience of being in the town of San Gimignano in Italy. a favorite vacation spot of the owners.
In the couple’s travels to San Gimignano, they took a photo of one of their favorite spots in the town which sits within the hills of the region.
And for their gelato shop they had that photo enlarged to wall size… which became the starting point for the overall décor theme.
Nick and Kim then brought in friend and artist Steve Morrone of Imagine Factory, who painted the remaining walls… including extending the photo so that it looks like you are looking out over a patio balcony.
He also painted exterior Italian cottage stone textured walls, and added 3D visual elements such as a really cool overhang terra cotta roof and windowsill planter.
The idea is to make you feel like you are sitting in an outdoor Italian café with an amazing view on one side, and small village buildings on the other.
And the team definitely succeeded! Clearly Nick and Kim love that town so much they went above to bring the experience back to Gloucester County and share with their customers!
Dolce Vita Gelato – The Gelato
Ahh the perks of being a new business blogger and covering all of the new eateries.
I am fortunate enough to have tried at least six different flavors of Nick’s amazing gelato.
My first visit a few weeks ago was when Nick was finalizing all of his recipes and making trays of gelato in the process… and I was one of the lucky volunteers who got to try what he was making!
The two key things that jump out at me are the creaminess and the intense flavors!
The temperature is so perfectly maintained that the gelato is cold but interestingly doesn’t give a really cold freezing feeling. Does that makes sense? The temperature, density and creaminess really gives a different experience than eating ice cream.
The second thing is obviously the flavors. Wow, every flavor I tried tasted amazing, and it was surprising how much flavor came through.
In my visit last weekend I tried pistachio and it is literally the best I have ever had. Gelato or ice cream. Chunks of pistachio nuts and a delicious flavor!
Regarding the flavor selection, currently Nick is changing it up each weekend which gives you reasons to come back again and again. I’m not sure if that’s the long term plan but likely he’ll keep some favorites on a regular basis and rotate others out.
And being traditional to the Italian Gelato ways, it should not come as a surprise for me to say that you likely won’t find crazy flavors like birthday cake.
Nick is sticking with the traditional Gelato flavors such as tiramisu, almond, dark chocolate, but that also includes fresh fruit flavored Gelato including strawberry and banana.
And where he can, they will be getting their fruits and produce from local South Jersey farms such as Hammonton’s Fiorentino’s Farm.
And as I mentioned in my initial coverage, their milk is supplied from Kreider Farms in Lancaster, and their pistachios, hazelnuts and almonds come from Italy,
The Science of Gelato
Nick was so intent on providing the true Italian Gelato experience to South Jersey, he spent three weeks in Italy training with the experts.
And this was no social fun visit to Italy… Nick truly took this as a learning experience, documenting all aspects of the Gelato creation process.
Creating a product like gelato, especially in the official way… is as much science as it is food preparation.
Nick showed me the spreadsheets that he created for all of the flavors, where he documented the specific recipe ingredients, timing of each individual step, and temperatures of the gelato throughout the phases of creation.
He said he was told by the instructors that they’ve never had anybody come through their gelato program with that high level of focus and detail!
It was really interesting to hear the amount of effort, thought and precision that goes into making true Italian artisanal Gelato. I think it would be cool later on the in the year for Nick to conduct some deep-dive information sessions at the cafe to talk people through the process!
Every aspect of creating Dolce Vita Gelato is measured and controlled.
One thing I would have never considered is how important consistent temperatures are, and how they are so closely monitored..
Nick has multiple freezers set at very precise temperatures, so that from the initial creation of the gelato ingredient mix, to the point it is served into your cup, every single temperature has been controlled to give your gelato the consistency and the flavor that are the best they can be.
That’s the level of temperature control you can’t get if the gelato was made in Italy and then shipped to the USA.
At Dolce Vita in Washington Township you are getting the same freshly made gelato that you would be served in a small village café in Italy.
As mentioned they are open Fri-Sunday. Check social media for updates on flavors and sell-outs!
Links and Locations
Dolce Vita Gelato
477A Greentree Road
Sewell, New Jersey 08080