Friday, November 22, 2013


I'm sure most of you DC people are familiar with Dolci Gelati and their delicious pints of Italian gelato sold at retailers like Whole Paycheck and Yes! Organic Robbery. When I heard they were opening a café in Takoma Park, MD, I was more than thrilled to get a fresh scoop for myself and initiate my son to the joy of gelato before he tasted ice-cream. It's a parenting theory I'm developing called culinary imprinting.

Almond croissant, I worship Thee!
When I first entered the Cafe, I was happy to see an array of croissants on display together with the gelati. Since croissants are one of my favorite things in life, I immediately ordered a scoop of hazelnut gelato and an almond croissant. What can I say? I loved the first one, but I was completely blown away by the second. The croissant was super-buttery, perfectly flaky, but also had a surprising crunch that reminded me of the Neapolitan sfogliatella, the pastry of the Gods. The almond filling was also a surprise: It wasn't the usual almond paste (not that I have anything against it), but it was an luscious, almond-flavored soft custard. 

Just like that, I realizing I was biting into the unexpected and wonderfully humbling evolution of the old croissant into the Nietzschean Übercroissant. (What about the cronut? Well, as the name clearly indicates, it's a step backwards: It's the Cro-Magnon of croissants.)

Nothing plain about this plain croissant.

I immediately asked the teenage cashier where those beautiful croissant came from, and she laconically replied they were made daily for Dolci Gelati by "this guy." I didn't press her further. What I learned from subsequent visits and questioning, is that the croissants are available only on weekends, and that they come in different flavors: plain, almond, chocolate, and piña colada. I tried them all, and they're all great, especially the chocolate ones, whose filling is as soft and pillowy as in the almond croissant.

On Dolci Gelati's website, I then learned that the chef, Gianluigi Dellaccio, trained at the century-old Neapolitan pastryshop Scaturchio, which not only serves one of the best espresso in the world, but PERFECT sfogliatelle as well, which made me wonder if this experience gave the croissants at Dolci Gelati their unique crunch. And by the way, I was lucky enough to have breakfast at Scaturchio every day on a short trip to Naples a few years ago, and I can say every day away from that counter has been, literally, hell on earth. (OK, maybe not literally.)

So, these days my weekend outings in Takoma Park include a gelato, a croissant, and a macchiato. Because the coffee at Dolci Gelati is pretty great, too, in case you were wondering.

Yes, I have three pics. Macchiato and two mini croissants.

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