From nougat to ice cream to chocolates, Le Delizie has it all!
[Photography my own]
The rich and mouth-watering smell of chocolate, the bright red pop of potted flowers on the shelves and the smiling faces of the owners, Adriana and Massimo, all greet you as you enter Le Delizie, a chocolaterie and gelateria in Dean Street, Newlands (Cape Town). One almost feels as if you are walking into Chocolat, a novel by Joanne Harris, when entering Le Delizie; and the sense that all your chocolate fantasies can be realised is truly awakened, leaving people across ages feeling like kids in a candy shop.
Le Delizie was started by Massimo and Adriana Martinelli, an Italian couple who, after holidaying in South Africa, “fell in love with Cape Town” and decided to immigrate in 2014. The couple decided to open Le Delizie in October 2014, as a chocolate and ice cream shop, but added nougat to their list of specialities, after Massimo was taught the craft by a friend in Sardinia.
Le Delizie, in English, means “deliciousness,” as Adriana describes it.
The couple had gone back and forth when deciding on a name, but Le Delizie stuck, because it “felt right.” Le Delizie´s logo, was created by Adriana one evening when experimenting with ideas and depicts the beautifully curved ´L´ and ´D´ of the name, thus bringing across the classic, simple elegance the couple aim to project in all Le Delizie represents. Despite the fact that pronouncing the name may be difficult for some, the customers are not hampered; and keep returning for more. Adriana explains that an easier way to pronounce ´Delizie´, is to relate it to the emphasised ´z´ sound in Italian, like in ´pizza´.
The couple decided on chocolate, nougat and ice cream as their signature products, because they wanted to work with something they knew and were familiar with.
This delicious trio can most certainly be considered a stellar combination!
Nougat´s origins and roots are found in countries from Italy to France and even in the Middle East. “According to the legend [,] nougat was made for the first time in occasion of the wedding feast [of Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza] and it had the shape of the Torrazzo, the bell tower of Cremona cathedral.” It is said that nougat´s Italian word ‘torrone’ links back to ‘Torrazzo’.
The nougat and other products at Le Delizie, contain raw Italian produce, such as the hazelnuts from Piedmont and the almonds from the Italian island of Sicily. The Italian ingredients are complimented with fresh ingredients like honey; cream and milk, from South Africa. Ingredients like marzipan are imported from Holland. Their products are all preservative-free and the couple believe in time and love being put into each and every one.
“Gelato in Italian literally means ‘frozen,’ but it is used to indicate the Italian type of ice cream.” Gelato is said to be a healthier alternative when compared with its American counterpart and “contains 70% less fats (and subsequently fewer calories).” Gelato’s origins are said to link back to Bible times, but the first written gelato-style recipe can be traced back to General Quinto Fabio Massimo, during the years of the Roman Empire. The similarity in name between General Massimo and Le Delizie’s own Massimo create a special bond between gelato’s history and the store.
Massimo, who has a family heritage of Italian gelato-makers, creates delicious scoops from hazelnut to dark chocolate. Le Delizie make their ice creams from scratch and the science behind the process is embraced by Massimo with an authentically Italian and expert hand. In Italy, gelato is more than just a delicious treat on a hot day, but forms an important part of the Italian culture. As Adriana explains, there is an Italian tradition of taking a tub along whenever visiting friends.
Chocolate´s origins can be traced back to “Olmec, Mayan and Aztec civilizations.” “Etymologists trace the origin of the word “chocolate” to the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, means ´food of the gods´.”
Le Delizie will leave you feeling like a kid in a candy store, no matter what your age!
[Photography my own]
Le Delizie uses imported chocolate, which is melted, tempered and worked into the desired shapes and flavours. One of Massimo´s characteristics as a chocolatier, as Adriana says, is his belief that only one flavour should be complimented to the chocolate at a time. “We are very traditional from this point of view,” she says. “We keep it simple – classic.” A proud characteristic of Le Delizie is that they make their own blended chocolates. One will see the melted chocolate churning in the preparation area of the shop, which awakens thoughts of Willy Wonka´s chocolate factory and leaves one´s mouth watering.
Customers coming in for Le Delizie´s treats can be seen with smiles on their faces and eyes peering eagerly at the displays as they decide on their choices. From young students to the elderly, Le Delizie attracts them all with the promise of something sweet to satisfy the taste-buds. Lynne Willson, a lady working at Bargain Books, a neighbouring store in the Dean Street Arcade, describes having visited Le Delizie to try out their gelatos. She describes Le Delizie as having “fantastic ice-cream [and] fantastic service” and she found Adriana “very charming.” Adriana enjoys working with customers to find a gift or product within their budget, thus ensuring that everyone can walk away happy. The store´s gift prices range from R40 up and each one is especially wrapped and sealed with a Le Delizie flair, which goes to prove the love and care placed into every individual purchase and chocolate/ nougat/ gelato experience.
Whether a chocoholic, simply curious or in need of some true Italian sweet treats, Le Delizie is your one-stop shop. No matter what your age (or budget) this hidden Newlands gem will be sure to leave you feeling like a kid in a candy store; and with service that comes with a smile and a friendly Italian ´ciao´ what´s not to love?
Le Delizie Contact details:
Phone number: +27 620342732
Address: Shop 15
Dean Street Arcade
Corner Dean Street and Main Street
Email: info@ledelizie .co.za