As the temperature rises, there are few more enjoyable ways of refreshing yourself than dropping into the nearest ice creamery and partaking in some of the icy treats on offer, whether it’s gelato or the tart tang of a good frozen yoghurt. Melbourne is luckier than most cities in this regard. Not only do we have plenty of gelato stores dotted about, thanks to our large Italian population, but in the past 12 months we've also seen the number of frozen yoghurt stores skyrocket, meaning that it’s now easier than ever to get your hands on the ultimate summer indulgence.
But don’t be satisfied with just your standard offerings – ice cream can be much more than that. Several of the talented ice cream purveyors featured below are producing flavour combinations that are truly out of this world and, importantly for summer, are instantly refreshing.
If you’re after a truly decadent iced treat, look no further than Argentinean ice creamery Helados Jauja, hidden away between the spruiker-fronted restaurants of Carlton’s Lygon Street. Drawing on a Patagonian ice cream tradition and incorporating Malaysian influences, proprietor Po Lin’s ice cream has a unique creamy texture and flavours so varied and exciting that indecision abounds as you gaze through the cabinet. Being Argentinean, there’s plenty of dulce de leche flavours, but the fruity flavours seem more suited to a scorching day, so have a look at the blood orange, the pandan coconut, or the soursop with mint leaves.
254 Lygon Street, Carlton
Keep head north up Lygon Street from Helados Jauja, turn left into Grattan Street and you’ll find Tutto, a frozen yoghurt store that marries Italian-style frozen yoghurt with Asian-inspired flavours and toppings. The daily flavour offerings (all gluten-free) can be as diverse as mandarin, ginger lemon, bubblegum, pomegranate or Italian biscuit, but it’s with the toppings that things become really fun. Top your yoghurt with chunks of brownie or other confectionary treats, go for some peanut and coconut crumble, or keep it fruity with mango and raspberry compotes and diced up fresh fruit like strawberries and lychees. If you love a textural element to your froyo, make sure you get a sprinkle of mochi – these Japanese sweet rice balls aren’t to everyone’s tastes, but with froyo they are surprisingly divine.
81 Grattan Street, Carlton
Continuing with the froyo theme (and why not, when it’s so delicious?), let’s get mobile with Yogurddiction, Melbourne’s frozen yoghurt truck. Chugging around town to new locations daily (check their Twitter and Facebook to find out where they’ll be stationed on any given day), Yoggurddiction offers up three of its 13 flavours on rotation, from Plain Ol’ Tart original froyo to the more decadent Nummy New York Cheesecake, the Gotta Get Green Tea and our favourite, Pretty Please Pistachio. Like Tutto, half the fun is going mad with toppings, although you can also cool yourself down with froyo smoothies and parfaits. And given that the truck often sets up shop adjacent to a park, it’s an excellent excuse for relaxation and yoghurt in the sun.
Fritz Gelato is all about flavours – there are often at least 30 on offer each day at their various stores. Speaking of which, they have plenty of branches around town, so it’s easy to get a Fritz fix wherever you are. There are heaps of flavours ideal for a summer cool-down, such as Magic Melons, Sicilian orange, or their range inspired by summery cocktails, such as the pina colada and tequila sunrise. For the more discerning palate, there are interesting combinations like chilli chocolate, caramelised fig and roasted almonds, or the bitey white chocolate and wasabi. Fritz also frequently have vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free flavours on offer, like the Go Banana sorbet that ticks all three dietary boxes, so keep an eye out.
Brand spanking new this summer is Gelateria Primavera, part of the new Spring St. Grocery project in the city helmed by those good folks from The European. Don’t be confused when you walk in and don’t see any gelato on display, as Gelateria Primavera follows a Bolognese tradition in which the gelato is kept in iced wells beneath the counter for optimum flavour and temperature concentration. The flavours are also ones you won’t see in your standard gelataria; be prepared to encounter mouth-watering delights such as peach and basil, chilli salted caramel, cardamom and rose, watermelon and pomegranate with molasses, and rosewater and mint yoghurt. Their most summery flavour, mango and coconut, almost seems staid in comparison.
157 Spring Street, Melbourne