Sandra Foti has been madly churning her father’s Italian gelato recipes in her Glenferrie Road store, Piccolina Gelateria, since December 2015. Her day starts at 7am and usually finishes around 2am in order to keep up with the east’s demand for authentic, naturally flavoured gelato.
Bernard Chu, head chef and co-owner of South Yarra’s LuxBite, visited the store for a scoop of Foti’s famous fior di latte at a time when she’d been thinking of expanding Piccolina’s offering.
“We wanted to do gelato cakes but I didn’t have the background,” says Foti.
Teaming up on the project, it took them eight months to bring the four cakes to life and involved re-drafting cake sketches, inventing new gelato flavours, sharing each other’s secret recipes and, as Chu puts it, “combining two brands spirits into one”. It all came together in a seven-day boot camp with the Piccolina team at the start of the month.
“They’d never even used a piping bag before,” Chu says, laughing.
The Ferrerolina Rocher is the showstopper. It combines three types of gelato (hazelnut, milk chocolate and Piccolina’s signature Better Than Nut-ella), hazelnut praline and crunchy puffed rice into a dome structure. It’s then coated in dark chocolate and roasted hazelnuts and finished with gold-leaf detailing. “I love that gold leaf, it’s so fun. I’m like a kid, I want the sparkle,” says Foti.
Topped with a white-chocolate glaze, raspberry marshmallows, lime jelly, white-chocolate shards and freeze-dried strawberries, the Fun Funk is “Instagrammable, but still elegant,” explains Chu. Inside you’ll find white-chocolate gelato, strawberry sorbet and white-chocolate sponge. “Each mouthful is a surprise,” says Foti.
Tiramisu My Way combines coffee and choc-chip gelato, Zabaglione gelato, Kahlua-soaked Savoiardi sponge and imported Italian mascarpone that’s been churned into gelato. The “My Way” refers to the Mont Blanc (a pureed chestnut-cream) coating, which is a twist on the traditional use of hazelnuts. “I really want people to understand chestnut a little bit more,” say Chu. To finish, it’s dusted with cocoa powder.
The Cool Cool Meringue Monster is modelled off LuxBite’s signature, best-selling cake (the Meringue Monster). For the gelato version, watermelon and strawberry sorbet; pistachio and green-tea cake; and yogurt gelato form the base. Torched Italian meringue, freeze-dried strawberries and pistachios create the coat. Cut it open and you’ll notice the colours of the Italian flag.
Piccolina x LuxBites gelato cakes are available exclusively at Piccolina Gelateria. Ferrerolina Rocher is $85. Tiramisu My Way is $76. Cool Cool Meringue Monster and Fun Funk are $65 each. Cakes are made-to-order, however a select few will be available to purchase on the spot.
802 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn
(03) 9815 2815
Mon to Fri 2pm–10.30pm
Sat & Sun 12pm–late