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Cafe bringing taste of Italy to downtown Batavia

Customers will get taste Italy when they visit O’ Sole Mio – an authentic artisan gelacafé thwill open Dennis Hastert’s

Customers will get a taste of Italy when they visit O’ Sole Mio – an authentic artisan gelato café that will open in Dennis Hastert’s former office at 27 N. River St. early next year. | Sun-Times Media file photo

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Updated: February 2, 2013 6:07AM

BATAVIA — The former local office of U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert will be serving constituents in a different way.

Customers will get a taste of Italy when they visit O’ Sole Mio, an authentic artisan gelato café that will open in Hastert’s former office at 27 N. River St. in about a month.

Owners Andrea and Tora Chiappelli went to Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy, for professional training on the art of making quality Italian ice cream.

“We spent two weeks learning the science of making gelato,” Tora Chiappelli said.

Chiappelli said Italian gelato is different from American ice cream primarily because it is made with milk rather than cream.

“It is a denser and healthier dessert,” she said.

With less butterfat, it is churned more slowly and has less air whipped into it to give it a denser composition.

“We will be hand-making it daily using the techniques we learned in Italy,” she said, adding the equipment was also acquired from Italy.

The Chiappellis’ business partner, Antonio Natale, who hails from southern Italy, said there is milk- and fruit-based Italian gelato. He said there is a new trend in Italy that is a breakfast gelato made with Greek yogurt and fruit that they plan to introduce in Batavia. “It is unbelievable,” Natale said.

The café will occupy 2,600 square feet, which includes an outdoor brick courtyard overlooking the $3.5 million newly constructed North River Street. The cafe also will offer panini sandwiches, antipasto and other light dishes, along with wine, cocktails and beer on tap.

Chiappelli said investing in the business is a “leap of faith” into something in which they each have a passion. Chiappelli said she has an insurance agency in St. Charles, her husband is a mechanical engineer and Natale works in technical support.

“This is something we have always wanted to do,” said Andrea Chiappelli, a native of northern Italy.

O’ Sole Mio will offer 20 flavors daily and will introduce 40 flavors to customers on opening day, around Feb. 1. The café was granted a liquor license to offer wine and beer on tap. A bakery case will have cannoli and other Italian specialties.

“We are excited to be part of the new North River Street, and near the bike paths. We understand the success of our city is beneficial for everyone,” Chiappelli said.

The couple resides in Batavia and Natale lives in Carol Stream.

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