First the warm, afternoon light.
Then the shrill of balm-crickets and a light breeze blowing through the branches of the monumental pine trees.
And finally the sea around Castiglioncello’s promontory.
This is where our story began. Here Toni founded Dai Dai.
And this is where we chose to stay and continue his work, gazing towards the infinity of the horizon.
In the late 1920s, the ice cream man crossed town with his cart pulled by donkey Dorotea, along the gravel alleyways and through Castiglioncello’s pinewood, offering his chocolate-covered cream cassatine, which he kept cold in ice and salt. The heat of the summer afternoons could take its toll on Dorotea, who at times needed a bit of encouragement: “Come on! Come on!”, or as we say in Italian “Dai! Dai!”, then the journey could continue. And that is how “Dai! Dai!” became the name everyone associated with those delicious cassatine. Then came the dark years of the war that swept away the good times and changed everyone’s life for good.
THE YEARS OF THE DOLCE VITA
After the war, the ice cream man went back to producing his cassatine. Dorotea was no longer with him, a white van had taken her place, but the old encouragement still resounded. Then came the years of the Dolce Vita and the film stars came to the beaches of Castiglioncello. At the time, the Bartoletti family were amongst the most successful entrepreneurs in the area. Toni, the middle child of the Bartoletti, spent his youth working at the restaurant and tennis club run by his parents. Those were the years in which he enjoyed the famous cassatina.
TONI AND DAI DAI
In the early 80s, Toni worked in Castiglioncello, running the family business in the tourism sector. The old ice cream man was no longer around, but Toni had a dream: recover the old original recipe and bring back the unique taste of the cassatina. Thanks to his determination, he managed to buy the authentic recipe and the rights to produce the cassatina.
OUR DAI DAI’S FIRST STEPS
In 1984, Toni opened his first confectionery lab in a basement in Casale Marittimo, a small town near Castiglioncello. During the following two years he worked hard to create new recipes, find important clients, fine tune the production process, entirely carried out by hand. This is how our Gelateria Artigiana Dai Dai was born and took its first, important steps.
DAI DAI TODAY
Today, we manage the company: Bernardo, Allegra and Rosa, driven by the same values that inspired our father and by the desire to continue his work the best we can.