Manuela and Florence, the Founders and Co-owners of Dolce Italia
Having commenced as a story of friendship between Founders and Co-owners Manuela Prugnoli and Florence Gambarota purely based on their common passion for food, Dolce Italia today has become the only authentic Italian restaurant in Sri Lanka serving true Italian dishes using local products.
Their next step in this successful journey that began over five years ago is to introduce a new exuberant range of flavours to help prepare and enjoy Italian dishes at home branded as ‘I Sapori di Dolce Italia’ which means ‘The flavours of sweet Italy’.
“What we wanted to offer to our customers was an experience more than a meal. We wanted our customers who never went to Italy to discover the real Italian flavours; and for those who already visited Italy to experience again those authentic flavours,” stated Florence.
She further emphasised, “The idea of the restaurant came more than naturally since Manuela is a brilliant cook. We first created a restaurant that reminds those of warm, gregarious Italian hospitality and Manuela put her original authentic mark on the menu and service. Accentuating the use of fresh local ingredients was paramount from the beginning.”
The key to their foundation has always been their desire to specialise in home-style Italian food made from all-natural ingredients while sourcing directly from local producers whenever possible, using ingredients that prioritise customers’ health and choice.
The new range of flavours that are to be introduced contain no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, added sugar, or other synthetic additives. They do not have hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and also come with the option of Kurakkan as produce is accessed through local producers.
Their innovative assortment of products consists of a large choice ranging from cookies to pickles including sauces (in pasteurised jars), frozen ravioli, lasagna and pizza among many more. Each product is made using purely natural ingredients: no dyes, preservatives, alcohol or added sugar. Similarly, each reference is less expensive than any imported product since most ingredients used are locally grown and has a real genuine Italian taste.
They import only the few basic ingredients that cannot be replaced like Parmesan cheese and Extra virgin olive oil and have stayed true to the Mediterranean diet using only fresh local ingredients of a good quality since its inception.
“Manuela is the heart and soul behind every dish. You know Italian and Sri Lankan society are very similar, the culture of the big family and the mother trying to overfeed everybody. Manuela is like that. For her, cooking is her way of saying I love you. The inspiration comes from her childhood when her grandma taught her how to cook. A lot of her recipes are coming from that period,” highlighted Florence.
What defines Dolce Italia the best is consistency. Manuela noted, “Consistency is the most difficult to maintain at all levels and Florence and I have a very high level of expectations when it comes to hygiene and quality and we will never compromise.”
Florence added, “Our future goal is to make our products available island-wide. We are currently working on a range of new frozen items, the ready-made pasta and we are preparing the opening of our cooking school, hopefully by the end of the year. We are also focused on developing the distribution within the HORECA sector, mainly five-star hotels and boutique hotels, since we are convinced that our products will bring an added value to their very own menus and we are also in talks to export our products abroad to several countries including India, Malaysia and Maldives.”
The launch of the ‘I Sapori di Dolce Italia’ range is due to take place in the third week of August 2019.