Dolce and Salato manager Marco Marzotto with a gelato at the shop in Garema place.
Dolce and Salato manager Marco Marzotto with a gelato at the shop in Garema place. Photo: Rohan Thompson

Georgia Behrens

Local ice-creameries are licking their lips this week, with families flocking their way in search of relief from the heat. Joe Pelle, owner of Dolce and Salato in Civic, says he and his family are ''living the dream'', with hundreds of Canberrans visiting their recently opened gelataria.

''My father arrived in Canberra from Italy 50 years ago, and he's been dreaming of being able to open an authentic Italian gelataria and pasticceria ever since then,'' he said. ''For our family to be able to get Dolce and Salato up and running in conditions like this - it couldn't have gone better for us.''

Mr Pelle says that he is delighted to be able to give Canberrans ''an authentic gelato experience, full of all the romance and nostalgia and beauty that Italians are all about''.

Dolce and Salato is the latest of several locally owned ice-cream venues that have opened their doors in Canberra in the past 18 months.

Yvette McKay opened her Gold Creek ice-creamery Stripey Sundae in October 2012, hoping to showcase local ice-cream to the Canberra community. She works closely with O'Malley ice-cream guru John Marshall to come up with flavours that use local ingredients and match the mood of her customers.

''We like our flavours to stay in step with what people are doing and eating in their lives at any given time,'' she said. ''We had Christmas pudding and gingerbread ice-cream in December, we'll have pavlova and lamington flavours on Australia Day, and we should have hot cross bun ice-cream for Easter.''

Ms McKay said her community had embraced her innovative approach to ice-cream. ''I have a lot of customers who make special trips all the way out here for certain flavours they can't get elsewhere. There's one lady who's in love with liquorice ice-cream and comes in every time we have it.''

Katherine Gilks, who manages That Gelato Place in Weston Creek, said that until a few years ago, there had been very few good-quality local ice-creameries in Canberra.

''People get quite excited about the fact that we're locally owned and run, and it makes it much easier to build a community around the shop, because there weren't many places like that a little while ago,'' she said.

Ms Gilks said she had loved getting to know so many families in the area through her work at That Gelato Place. ''It's a really special thing, working at an ice-cream shop,'' she said. ''There are lots of parents and grandparents bringing their kids through, and we always have a chat about their families.''

Ms Gilks said the past few days of extreme heat had been ''amazing'' for That Gelato Place.

''It's just been wonderful to have so many excited kids bouncing up and down all over the place. People walk in and are hot and bothered, but they walk out with smiles on their faces.''