WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — You now don’t have to travel out of the North Country to taste authentic Italian Gelato.

Alteri’s La Bella Dolce, a gelateria, recently opened in Watertown serves up gelatos and sorbets.

The shop is run by Chiara Alteri, a Watertown native. She was inspired to learn more about her Italian heritage and moved to Italy. This was when she fell in love with the culture and gelato.

When she returned to the North Country, she realized the region was missing these products. Alteri then decided to learn how to make it herself.

She enrolled in a three-week intensive program through Gelato University, which teaches students around the world how to make gelato.

Through this program, Alteri became a certified gelato chef or “gelataia.”

“We were in the classroom from morning until lunchtime, learning theories, learning about the scientific process,” Alteri explained. “After lunch, they put us right in front of the machines and said, ‘here, have at it, make it.’ So we learned really by doing it ourselves.”

During her time at Gelato University, Alteri began developing her own recipes. Ones she would bring back with her when she returned to Watertown, New York.

From there, she and her family formed business models and worked to get the proper equipment and licenses.

La Bella Dolce is based out of Alteri’s Italian Market in Watertown. Many of of the ingredients and machinery Alteri uses to create her delectable desserts are made in Italy. Alteri said maintaining authenticity has allowed her to connect with the community in a “sweet” new way.

“We’ve had quite a few people, whether it’s military or people who have lived abroad, come in and just, the amount of nostalgia, the gelato brings to them, and the stories that they have been sharing with us are amazing,” she said. “That really makes it worthwhile.”

The shop is currently producing a variety of gelato and sorbet flavors, including salted caramel, vanilla, strawberry and lemon.

Alteri expressed that La Bella Dolce has allowed her to embrace her Italian culture, as well as share it with others.

“Having Italy as my motherland, being there, learning the process there, was one experience. But seeing people here enjoy it, just brings me so much happiness. It’s really indescribable,” she shared.

Alteri’s La Bella Dolce products are on sale locally at Alteri’s Italian Market.