Gelato Messina was always going to move across the river. It was only a matter of when.
“It has always been on the cards,” says Messina’s brand and marketing manager Sian Bishop. “Fortitude Valley was where we were looking. We were just waiting for the right site to come up. James Street is perfect.”
Gelato Messina’s 18th store nationally opened last week, slotting into the new Ada Lane development opposite The Calile. The store forms a neat two-hander with the neighbouring Jocelyn’s Provisions, but Bishop says she’s surprised there hasn’t until now been a similar offering on James Street, which is stacked with food and drink options.
“I think it’s going to be a slow burner,” she says. “Foot traffic is slightly different to what we’re used to. But with Jocelyn’s it fits in well … We wanted it to be in the right area with partners around us. Having a really good food offering nearby really helps our trade.”
Messina collaborated with architects Vie Studio to create a shop Bishop describes as “our most grown-up effort so far”. The fit-out is in keeping with the area, full of stone and brick and classy wooden flourishes. It’s a smaller store than the gargantuan South Brisbane spot and, like Bishop says, much lower-key. There are fewer retro elements, which have often defined Messina’s interior design. Seating is limited inside to a long bench, with a few extra chairs out front.
Gelato is of course the hero here and the Valley outlet is only the second in Australia to feature brand new glass-topped pozetti (drums to keep gelato in so it’s not exposed to the air), specially imported from Italy. They’re there for freshness but also to show off the shop’s 40 flavours, including favourites such as chocolate fondant, apple pie, pistachio praline, and salted caramel and white chocolate, along with the five rotating specials.
The gelato itself has changed too. These days it’s made with milk produced by Messina’s own Jersey cows on a farm near Numurkah in Victoria.
“[They] produce a milk that is really high in fat content,” Bishop says. “If you see it in the bottle it has quite a yellowy tinge to it. That makes a really amazing product. We’ve started selling the milk in a few of our stores. Hopefully we’ll get it into Brisbane.”
Gelato Messina Fortitude Valley
Shop RW11, Centro on James, 46 James Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3852 1725