Who makes Australia’s best gelati?

You
can usually spot the gelato shop from the queue that snakes down the
pavement in front. Regardless of heat wave or wind chill, Australia’s
sweet-toothed consumers are seemingly happy to wait for these sweet,
slowly-churned concoctions. They pledge allegiance to a favourite shop
and slowly work through its flavours. That can take some time.
Combinations are being pushed to different levels; classic vanilla,
chocolate and strawberry left behind by the once-fancy but now often
commonplace concoctions such as salted caramel and poached figs with
marsala.

Gelati
– the plural of gelato – translates from the Italian “frozen”. It is
neither ice-cream nor sorbet; it has milk rather than cream as its base,
which is then slowly churned. Some gelati makers insist on a
traditional Pozzetti counter, with lids covering each gelato to keep the
temperature constant. Others are happy to display their astonishing
rainbow of flavours.

Proprietors
such as Min Chai, co-owner of N2 Extreme Gelato, with shops in Sydney
and Melbourne’s Fitzroy, thinks we are becoming more sophisticated when
it comes to what we look for in a good gelato.

“For
far too long people have been served gelati with artificial flavours
and colouring but now I think people are looking for products with real
ingredients and honest flavours,” she says.

Lisa
Valmorbida, who runs new pop-up Pidapipo in Carlton, in Melbourne’s
inner-north, agrees. “Gelati is everywhere in Carlton but there wasn’t
anything new,” she says. “There are other ways to make gelati, so we
decided to do it from scratch.”

That
approach seems to be rewarded by discerning gelati consumers who focus
on seasonal ingredients, a quality product, and time and care in the
production of their favourite scoops. So where is worth waiting for?
Share your favourite gelati haunts below – here are some of our Sydney
and Melbourne shops where we’re happy to join the queue …

N2 Extreme Gelato

Liquid
nitrogen billows out of mixers, whipping up gelati to order. Lab coats,
safety glasses and test tubes add to the quirky mood of this
fast-moving, buzzy gelateria and although it could be seen as gimmicky,
the iced treats are good enough to keep the queues coming. Look out for
more stores opening in both Sydney and Melbourne in the next couple of
years.

Dixon Street, Sydney; Brunswick Street, Fitzroy; n2extremegelato.com.au

Gelato Messina

Queues
are part of the culture at Messina in Sydney and they formed before the
doors opened on its first Melbourne shop in late 2013. So anticipated
was the opening that social media was abuzz with anguish when it was
announced that the time the doors opened on day one would be pushed back
a few hours.

Victoria Street, Darlinghurst; Crown Street, Surry Hills; Hall Street, Bondi, and other locations in Sydney; Smith Street, Fitzroy; gelatomessina.com

Pidapipo

Lisa
Valmorbida refined her gelati-making skills in a four-week intensive
gelato course at the Carpigiano Gelato University in Italy and plans to
open a gelateria in her family’s shop, King & Godfree, in Carlton.
In the meantime, she has a summer pop-up lab with 12 flavours available
at any one time: the Nutella swirl, salted caramel, and pistachio (made
from imported Sicilian nuts) are the most popular.

Faraday Street, Carlton; pidapipo.com

The Cow and the Moon

John
and Wendy Crowl make their gelati on-site, out the back of their shop
in Sydney’s inner-west. They have created a community hub where good
gelati and well-made single-origin coffee keep the crowds coming.
Passionfruit cream and strawberry and balsamic gelati are just two of
the winning flavours on offer.

Enmore Road, Enmore (02) 9557 4255; facebook.com/pages/Cow-and-the-Moon-GelatoCoffeeDessert-

Gelateria Primavera

Gelateria
Primavera is part of Melbourne’s Spring Street Grocer in the city, and
has quickly established a cultish following with queues along the
street. The menu is ever-changing, but the fior di latte and combination
of cardamom, turmeric and pistachio have become signatures that aren’t
going anywhere.

Spring Street, city; springstreetgrocer.com.au

Pompei’s

Pompei’s
combines an authentic Italian feel with a Bondi experience at its
classic Aussie beach location. Walk up to the counter and you will see
the silver Pozzetti lids protecting the fresh gelati underneath. But
feel free to ask for a taste. The dark chocolate, the hazelnut, the fior
di latte are balanced, light and, although naturally sweet, not overly
so.

Roscoe Street, Bondi beach; pompeis.com.au

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