Dolce — as in Caffe Dolce

One-half of my genetic make-up is Italian. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I value pairing a good cup of strong coffee with something sweet, or how much I love the rustic elegance and earthy beauty of Italian tableware.

When I walked through the door of Caffé Dolce on Brooks and Beckwith Monday morning, what I experienced made sense to me on the most basic level. Bags of whole coffee beans on the counter, a colorful assortment of gelato, tempting baked goods and a separate room filled with exquisite Italian ceramics, glassware and linen.

I subscribe to the notion that “Life is uncertain…….eat dessert first.” And at this establishment (as well as at its other location) so far, I have. The drip coffee is strong, lattes made intense and frothy just the way I love them. And the sweets……well……I continue to sample them.

I’m not a food snob by any means, but if you tell me that the desserts are made on property and the coffee roasted locally, I am just bound to try them both……and of course I asked. Turns out that pots of French press are made with beans from Missoula’s Black Coffee Roasting Company. Drip coffee and espresso drinks use Caffé Umbria beans imported from Seattle. I’m from that area so that’s local enough for me.  Gelato, desserts, and cookies are made in house. For the purposes of this post, I should just stop here.

I will let you know, however, that although I didn’t have time Monday to stick around for lunch, and I have yet to order dinner at Caffé Dolce, I did take a look at the menus. Both are simple (which to me translates to better) and promise the use of fresh ingredients from as close to home as possible. Since I can categorize my previous few years of dessert and coffee experiences as successful, a full meal is definitely on my list next time I’m in town.

I visited Tuscany for a short time this past year where the pottery and linens that Caffé Dolce features are made. I was also able spend a day on Murano, the Venetian island famous for blown glass. Since I’m sort of magnetically drawn to these types of things, I spent some time both looking at and handling quite few pieces while I was there. Wandering through the retail space at Caffé Dolce, I could tell that the items they carry are chosen with obvious appreciation for craftsmanship, color and art.

The location on Brooks has a neighborhood feel. Its interior is casual, simple and sunny with an abundance of natural light. Outside, gardens line the wrought iron fence that encloses a furnished patio. I’m hoping to take advantage of this outdoor seating before fall days turn chilly and winter makes it difficult to sit outside at all. The ambiance alone brings a bit of the Mediterranean to a Missoula neighborhood; a bit of Italy to Southgate Mall.


I spent a few minutes trying to get a feel for the use of the Italian word dolce.  In reference to food it speaks of something sweet and agreeable to the palate. It is also a term that composer’s use, and musicians respond to, by performing music in a manner that is gentle and soft; sweet and smooth, with the end result meant to be melodious, pleasant and according to one source, ‘soothing to the feelings’.

Caffé Dolce……Sweet! I’ll be returning for a full meal soon, including dessert, of course.

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Margaret is a writer, photographer and mom who lives in the rainy but green Pacific Northwest. She has been a frequent visitor to Missoula and the surrounding landscape for many years and knows that a part of her lives there as well. Please stop in to find out about her visits and why she looks forward to coming back each time. Hopefully it will make you want to visit as well. You can find out what else she’s been up to, thinking about and take a look at more of her photos on her website at