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DC Scoop: A cool treat, a heated competition

Natalie Tomlin, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON – When Robb Duncan left his home of Portland, Ore., to travel through Argentina, he had no idea he would return to the U.S. in 2001 with a plan to open his very own gelateria in the nation’s capital.

He and his wife took a one-week course on how to make gelato in Argentina, and that was it.

Once they arrived in D.C., they saw a need for homemade, artisanal gelato, like they had in Buenos Aires. So with limited experience, the couple opened Dolcezza in Georgetown in 2004.

“It was an immediate success when we opened on day one,” Duncan says. “We had lots of customers and it just grew and grew and grew. How to make ice cream at home is one thing but how to make it for a business every day was a challenge.”

With the support of lots of family members, Duncan and his wife expanded the business. They now have three more locations in Dupont Circle, Bethesda, Md., and Fairfax, Va., and are constructing a 4,000-square-foot factory in Northeast D.C.

And this Sunday, July 21, Dolcezza will compete with 16 other local frozen food vendors at the third annual DC Scoop at Union Market.

It’s time to cool off this weekend after the summer’s most sweltering week, and from 1-4 p.m., Union Market visitors can do just that by testing some of the District’s best cold desserts for free.

Director of culinary strategy for East Coast developer EDENS Richie Brandenburg is largely responsible for the success of DC Scoop. He says it helps expose the local artisans to the D.C. community, something he hopes to continue doing each year on National Ice Cream Day.

“We want to celebrate D.C. as a food city because it has become a food city,” he says. “It’s something that we want to give to the community that they can look forward to.”

Brandenburg will be one of five all-star judges who will determine the DC Scoop Judge’s Choice winner.

“We’re making it as legit as possible,” Brandenburg says. “We have some incredible judges.”

The line-up includes Iron Chef winner Katsuya Fukashima, author of “The Kitchen as Laboratory” Cesar Vega, Metropolitan Police Department Commander Andrew Solberg and D.C. councilmember Kenyan McDuffie.

Inviting McDuffie and Solberg to judge the desserts is the perfect way to thank them for their services, Brandenburg says.

“The Metropolitan Police