Rob is the MD/Owner of Dolcetti Ice Cream, a family-run business in Cirencester producing Italian-style gelato and sorbet.
How have you spent your time during lockdown and what have you learnt about yourself?
I have completed a couple of courses to help improve the business, gaining SALSA (Safe And Local Supplier Approval) accreditation and an HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) advanced level. I have learned that I can manage my stress levels better by accepting only the factors I can control and not those outside of my control.
What do you think will be the biggest factor in helping consumers feel comfortable dining out again?
The way staff conduct themselves when they are serving customers and the environment they are operating in. The days of crowded queues at the bar are long gone.
Many gelato and dessert parlours turned to takeaway during lockdown, what do you think the scene will look like next year?
I think this will continue but the volumes will drop as people feel more comfortable about going out again. The volumes will remain strong at the weekend but drop off during the week. We entered into three partnerships during lockdown with businesses in terms of home delivery and found that a lot of Millennials, who had been furloughed on reasonable disposable incomes, were ordering the most takeaways.
Have you seen a change in best sellers?
Customers have been trying different indulgent “comfort” flavours. People want a treat during these hard times.
What’s your go to treat?
What’s been your craziest creation?
We recently collaborated with MasterChef 2012 finalist Andrew Kojima, who owns a local Japanese restaurant, to create a blended roast white chocolate and miso ice cream.
What flavour combinations will be big for 2021?
We’ll be launching gin and tonic sorbet and focusing on developing new blended fruit flavours.
What’s the next big thing in ice cream?
I think there will be more take-home products coming to the market. With the issues relating to social distancing at restaurants and pubs, individual easy to serve homemade desserts may become more popular due to the ease of service and reduced handling by kitchen staff and waiting staff.
What’s the one thing from your kitchen you couldn’t live without?
My range of Carpagiani products especially my blast freezer. It freezes finished product quickly and also enables us to make our individual designed gelato cakes in a relatively short period of time. I’ve been using Carpigiani since 1984 and the quality of the engineering is superb.
What’s your favourite Henley Bridge product and why?
Irca’s Joygelato range for its quality and consistency and the fact that it offers over 30 different flavours.
What makes Christmas magic for you and what’s your wish for Christmas 2020?
Seeing the excitement on children’s faces when they see our Christmas cakes. My wish is to find a vaccine for Covid-19.
How will you be celebrating New Year?
I work seven days a week so I’ll be going to bed early after spending some time with my family!
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