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Marco Silvestrini at the Dolce Neve gelato case in the Heights. 

Image: Alice Levitt

The organic pistachios in the gelato at Dolce Neve come from California, not abroad. Marco Silvestrini and his sister Francesca, along with her fiancé Leopoldo Ferrarese, make the nuts into a paste by hand in a process that takes five hours. There is no question that this is a sweet treat made with love. Dolce Neve has been a cult name in Austin since 2014. On Thursday, March 30, the family will open its second store at 4721 North Main Street, in the same building as Morningstar

"The objective is not to expand and have 20 stores," Silvestrini says. He hopes that he and his sister and soon-t0-be brother-in-law will continue to be the ones making the gelato, for now at their central Austin kitchen. "We do everything in Austin so we can be consistent," he explains. "It's not easy to find skilled people and maintain the same quality."

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Salted caramel sandwiches aren't one size fits all.

Image: Alice Levitt

That quality includes luxe ingredients such as French Valrhona chocolate in the 70-percent cacao and stracciatella flavors and the chocolate cookies used to make gelato sandwiches. Other ingredients, including all-important dairy, come from Texas farms. Silvestrini says that he's started talking to Houston-area farmers about partnerships that will result in the first unique-to-Houston flavors. He's also working to build relationships with local chefs in hopes of creating collaboration flavors as he has in Austin.

And that pistachio? It's intense, like marzipan made with a different nut. It's also not too sweet, a continuing theme with flavors including spring strawberry-buttermilk and signature Crema Dolce Neve, an egg custard with a hint of lemon zest to give its mouth-coating cream some élan. It may be made in Austin for now, but this gelato is bound to fit right in in the Heights.

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