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The Arcadio gelato story

Posted in Dolcino story

This is the story of the Arcadios: an insight into why we love ice cream so much and how we became a family of gelato maestros

Arcadio family circa early 1950sPost war

In 1950, Francesco Arcadio Senior migrated from Sicily to Rome with his wife and five sons. Post war Italy, particularly the south, was in a bad way, and he felt he had no choice but to leave his home by the sea for the big city. Maybe there he’d have a chance of making a decent living, something that was no longer possible in his home town of Calatafini.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as he well knew, and hard times lay ahead. On that bitter winter’s day as he and his older sons packed his family’s belongings into the back of an old truck and they pulled away from the spectacular coastline he’d been born next to, he had just one thought in his mind.

In the years that followed, there were hard times. The bright lights of the big city also brought with them poverty and hardship. But there was opportunity too. Franceso senior set about making his own luck and bought a small ice cream cart, an ice cream making machine, some milk and flavours including fruit, coffee and chocolate, and got to work. With five sons and a wife to provide for, he had no other option.

The 80s and 90s – boom town Rome

In the 80s, Francesco’s second son, Sebastian, decided to hit the big time. Taking over a large premises in an industrial town just outside Rome, Pomezia, he opened his own Caffe and Trattoria. His own first born, Francesco (junior), managed the bar for him whilst he studied English Literature at the University of Rome. And this truly was a family affair. Francesco managed the bar, his younger brother and sister worked there and his mother cooked all the food.

However in the mid-90s, Francesco Arcadio junior graduated from the University of Rome with a 1st class degree in English and decided to move to London.

London calling

Shortly after moving to London, Francesco became manager of a restaurant in Leicester Square. In the years that followed, he moved around the capital moving through management and area management of a range of well-known restaurant chains. When, in 1999 his eldest son Sebastian was born, he made plans to start saving for a venture of his own. In the meantime, however, he worked hard, making sure he knew every corner of the UK food and drink market. The death of Francesco Arcadio senior, during this time, strengthened his resolve to one day carry on the family tradition in ice-cream making.

Move to the Midlands

Two more children and a move to the Midlands later, finds us in the year 2014. Harbouring a love for cycling and all things Bianchi, Francesco set about planning a new restaurant concept using the Bianchi ‘celeste’ colours! Being a Chelsea supporter too, this all made perfect sense.

Designing the concept was fun. Husband and wife, Francesco and Kirsten, set about combining their expertise – hers in marketing and his in restaurant management and retail – to come up with a new and exciting restaurant brand. No stone was left unturned as every detail of the concept was planned out. The core of our business – ice-cream – had to be just right.

Next, we wanted our business to serve our local community in Loughborough and cater to many different groups of people. So we designed a flexible concept, one that welcomes breakfast and coffee business in the morning but that turns into a funky evening venue for those wanting a drink and a bite to eat later on in the day.

The Next Generation

In July, Dolcino opened its doors to Loughborough. In the meantime, the younger Sebastian of the family became old enough to work on the shop floor, so he spent some time learning the tricks of the trade.

Ice-cream making has to be done right, and we use a range of ingredients, including fresh fruit for our sorbets and the finest gelato flavours from Babbi, a leading Italian supplier – we feel that quality ingredients are important in the making of ice-cream. Then, having completed the world-famous Carpigiani ice-cream making training in Bologna to refresh his skills, Francesco has trained Sebastian, making him the fourth Arcadio generation to be skilled in the art. And it is an art!

The future of Dolcino

The future of our concept is now in your hands, the hands of the customer. We hope that you enjoy our artisan ice-cream, as well as our wide range of quality dishes – waffles, crepes, sweet and savoury snacks, hot and cold drinks and choc and fruit milkshakes.

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