It’s still possible to buy that irksomely multi-coloured bubble-gum flavoured ice cream, but it really should be illegal. Same goes for plain old chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
These days, with the rise of Melbourne’s crème-de-la crème gelateria and artisan ice-creameries, you’re more likely to find menus touting gourmet delights such as "strawberry, rose and cream," "fresh mint with white chocolate" and "fior de latte." And that’s just for starters. Here we track down
some of Melbourne’s most lickable treats.
Pared-back painted brick walls and old speckled tiles give Piccolina Gelateria a rusticity that sits happily with the sentimentality one experiences licking ice cream on a shop stool. This heavenly 1950s throwback in Collingwood is known for its raw and seasonal ingredients and a commitment to authentic Italian-style stracciatella (milk-based), granita and sorbetti flavours.
with a lemon or strawberry and passionfruit, mix it up with a chocolate brownie (with 70 per cent cacao) or get addicted to artisan specialities such as the "bread, butter, and jam," the constituent ingredients all lovingly made in-house. Kiddy-sized cones add to the old-days ambience.
Fittingly located in the heartbeat of Melbourne’s Italian neighbourhood, Pidapipo is the creation of Lisa Valmorbida, whose childhood foodie fantasy encouraged a sojourn at a gelato school in Italy that ultimately ended back home with the opening of this retro-funky authentic gelateria.
The dozen or so milk-based (including Nutella swirl and pistachio) as well as dairy-free (including mojito and white peach) flavours are scooped, gooey and creamy, out of traditional lidded canisters—or pozzetti—that are sunk into the display counter. Choose cones or tubs pimped with toppings including hot Nutella (on tap), whipped cream, amarena cherries or fresh honeycomb fingers. Such is this place’s fanbase, Valmorbida has launched
a new recipe book called “Gelato Eight Days a Week.”
Word of mouth puts the inner-city Gelateria Primavera, located out the front of gourmet-laden Spring Street Grocery, on the best licks list. The sorbetti and gelati menu, hand-written on a scroll of brown paper that changes daily, lists favourites such as "fior de latte" (milk, cream and caramelised sugar) and "chocolate and hazelnut," but it’s the spiced-up new ingredients that pack the flavour punch and differentiate this place from the rest.
You might try "yoghurt, rose and hibiscus" or "cardamom and pistachio" one day, and "coconut, mango and ginger" or "ricotta and candied citruses" the next. "Feijoa and yuzu" is possibly the winner, proving
that authentic Italian gelato has truly infiltrated
the global culinary spectrum.
Ask anyone in Northcote about decent gelato and they’ll direct you, always, to Il Melograno, a High Street café run by a family with Sicilian gelato running through their veins.
Known for a complete devotion to natural flavours that includes painstakingly crushing, sourcing and cooking their own localised ingredients, Il Melograno showcases old recipes such as "orange-infused ricotta," "chocolate and rosemary," "Turkish hazelnut" and "cinnamon." The gelato counter is within a café serving breakfast and lunch, which makes this one of the few places you can get gelato before midday. Brunch, anyone?
We can thank Sydney-siders for Gelato Messina. This gelato juggernaut, which now has shops in three Melbourne hipster hotspots including Fitzroy, Windsor and Richmond. Messina is guilty of slavishly tempting and titillating the tastebuds of all who enter with glass counters that display decadent creamy iced mounds swirled with syrupy fruity flavours and sprinkled with nuts, cookie crumbs, choc chunks and the like.
Delectable flavours range from traditional, including lemon, passionfruit and raspberry, to gourmet, such as salted caramel, to creatively deconstructed, including banoffee pie, lamington and iced vovo. Five new flavours come out of the Messina kitchen each week making resistance useless.