If you’ve seen Christina Summers around the Slope, you’d certainly remember it. Decked out in head-to-toe neon orange with a crown of flowers on her head, the Park Slope resident is not interested in blending in. She’s celebrating the good life, and she’s hoping to spread that joy with Dolce Vite Chocolatto, the Italian all-natural sipping chocolate dessert. She founded the company just this summer after discovering the creamy treat during a trip to Italy, and is already selling it at restaurants and businesses around the neighborhood.
We asked Christina to tell us about how she came to sell chocolate, what’s so special about her chocolate, and why she loves orange so much.
Park Slope Stoop: How did you get into the chocolate business?
Christina Summers: I traveled to Italy on a food excursion with a close friend who is an expert in Italian cooking and food. We traveled from the North of Italy down to Sicily, tasting the best food and drink in each region. I fell in love with the Italian style of hot chocolate, and started Dolce Vite. The history behind Chocolatto is fascinating because it was originally only a dessert for the European royals, as cacao was very expensive. Sipping chocolate was the height of fashion in the courts, and revered for being an aphrodisiac and medicinal.
PSS: What makes Dolce Vite so special?
CS: Two reasons make Dolce Vite super special! First, Dolce Vite Chocolatto is a thick, creamy, dark Italian hot chocolate dessert. I prefer to call Chocolatto a dessert rather than a drink, because the proper Italian way to consume it is with a small spoon. Many first time tasters say the consistency is similar to a pudding or a mousse. Additionally, Chocolatto contains no GMOs (genetically modified organisms), preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. It also has low sugar, low caffeine content, and vegan ingredients. I’m very health conscious, love chocolate, and cannot drink coffee due to the high caffeine, so I wanted to give people such as myself a different delicious taste experience, rather than tea which is boring.
Second, Dolce Vite has a fantastic opportunity for young entrepreneurs studying business to learn about entrepreneurship and earn money in a way relevant to their studies, rather than traditional college jobs. This program is called “Dolce Viten – THE Young Entrepreneur” and we are currently accepting applications. Learn more here.
PSS: Why did you settle in this neighborhood?
CS: I heard so much about Park Slope being named the most livable city in NYC, and how it was progressive and full of creatives. I love it here, surprisingly it is the first place I’ve lived with a real neighborhood feel. I’ve lived in London, Austin, and Houston, and Park Slope is my favorite so far.
PSS: What’s up with all of the the orange?
CS: Chocolatto can be made into really fantastic recipes, and my favorite is the Chocolatto Orange Explosion recipe, made with 1 Chocolatto serving, fresh orange juice, fresh orange zest, and milk. The orange and dark chocolate are perfect together, hence all the orange color in our designs! Plus who doesn’t love orange? It’s a bright, fun, happy color, like our company Dolce Vite, meaning the “good lives”!
PSS: You get around a lot of Park Slope– what are your favorite spots?
CS: My favorite spots are the restaurants who tried Chocolatto, loved it, and were bold enough to be the first on the new Chocolatto trend. These include the Park Slope Food Coop, Tutta Pasta, La Villa, Piccolo Uva Wine Bar, and Red Horse Cafe. I’ve eaten at each of these places, and the owners are very discerning in quality for their customers. Also, they have all been very supportive of myself and Dolce Vite as a new local business, and I am grateful for their support.
PSS: What’s one of the strangest things you’ve seen around the neighborhood?
CS: Definitely the Chocolatto Mobile which is hand spray painted pumpkin orange by artist Jason Castro, with white polka dots, and our three-legged lady on the hood! A close second is the Chip Shop car with three wheels, a “Bollocks” license plate, and union jack flag on the sides and hood!
Photos courtesy of Dolce Vite