Opening a new gelato store this close to winter wasn’t the plan for Adriano Macri and Margherita Giustacchini, the husband and wife team behind Henley’s Bottega Gelateria. But after fit-out delays and a roller-coaster year-and-a-half (the Henley site had to close temporarily, just before Covid, after a fire next door), it seems as good a time as any to launch a second location. And if anyone can pull it off, it’s these guys.
The original shop on Seaview Road is popular year-round, and once the weather warms up there are regular lines snaking out the door. For good reason. Macri takes gelato seriously: everything is made from scratch, by hand and in small batches, with the gelati hidden under pozzetti (deep steel canisters) to protect it from light, air and moisture (“There’s a rule of thumb in Italy – though it doesn’t apply everywhere – to go to places where you can’t see the gelati,” Macri told us in 2019). He’s even studied at Carpigiani Gelato University near Bologna, and worked under renowned “gelato king” James Coleridge.
The chic new gelateria, which opens tomorrow on Jetty Road, feels much the same as the original: all pastels and timber with a handful of stools and bench seating, two chocolate fountains, and an open kitchen (or il laboratorio, as it says on a pane of glass) to watch the gelato-making process.
The most popular gelato flavours will be available permanently (think hazelnut, pistachio and chocolate) with special flavours rotating frequently, like at Henley Beach. Everything will be made on-site, so there’s even more opportunity for the team to experiment with flavours. A new yuzu sorbet and Moroccan salted lemon gelato are ready for opening weekend.
“I’ve managed to grab these few kilos [of yuzu], so we’re going to be using these, freshly squeezed, in a sorbet,” says Macri. “I’ve also been fermenting lemons at home for five years now, in sea salt. So we’ll be using the peels of these lemons and we’re incorporating them into a milk base, with a touch of caramel … It’s a typical way of preserving fruit in North Africa, and it’ll be big on flavour.”
New flavours are always on Macri’s mind. He even has a database of flavour ideas – one he’s been building since before becoming a gelato maker. Most are the result of seasonality and chance. “It comes down to family members or customers that come in and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a peach tree’, or ‘We’ve got this type of fruit … we’ve got limes, or quince, what can we do with them?’ That’s where the spontaneous side comes out,” says Macri. “But inspiration comes from everywhere.”
And you can expect a Latin-American influence on flavours to come, courtesy of team members Miguel Hernandez (who hails from Mexico) and Alejandro Peralta Ramos (from Argentina). Macri will be making gelato on-site at the Glenelg store for a few months until Hernandez and Ramos take the reins, allowing Macri to adopt a more managerial role at both stores.
If all goes well in Glenelg, this might not be the last new Bottega Gelateria we see. “I definitely dream about that,” says Macri. “I plan to open Bottega interstate, and possibly overseas … but it’s one step at a time.”