Gelato University is a real thing. It’s in Anzola dell'Emilia, near Bologna, and Lisa Valmorbida is a graduate. Her expertise will be obvious to anyone who’s had a scoop at Pidapipo in Carlton or Windsor. She makes the classics – pistachio, chocolate, lemon, etc. – as well as anyone. And her experiments are equal parts surprising and inspiring: lavender and lemon sorbetto, say, or coconut rice pudding with swirled rhubarb coulis.
Pidapipo was an easy inclusion when we were compiling the “sweets” chapter for Broadsheet Melbourne Food, our printed guide to the city’s best produce, from meat and vegetables to bread and coffee. We looked for quality above all else, prioritising the makers and retailers who’ve really dedicated themselves to their craft or cause.
That certainly describes Valmorbida, who also recently published her own book, Pidapipo: Gelato Eight Days A Week. She and her team make each product daily, using ingredients that skew local unless quality demands imports: pistachios from Sicily, hazelnuts from Piedmont, milk from Warrnambool, cheese from St Kilda’s La Formaggeria and honey from a hive on the roof. And rather than glass display cases, the gelato is stored in pozettis – lidded cylinders sunk into the counter. The Italian-designed insulated pots minimise oxidisation and keep the temperature consistent, allowing the gelato to be churned without adding stabilisers.
Thankfully, you don’t need Valmorbida’s dedication, expertise or pricey equipment to make this recipe – just a blender, a freezer and two spare hours.
Watermelon and mint granita
Granita all’anguria e menta
“Watermelon always reminds me of summer. My mother never liked it – which I always found weird – but she made sure it was always there in the fridge in summer. Watermelon is a classic granita flavour in Italy, and the watermelon/mint/ice combination here is very refreshing and perfect on its own, though if you want to get more adult, try forking some vodka or prosecco through it before serving. It’s important to pay attention while making granita to make sure you get the right slushy consistency. And eat it straight away – if you leave it in the freezer it’ll go rock hard.” – Lisa Valmorbida
500 grams seedless watermelon, cut into small chunks
300 grams filtered water
10 large mint leaves
200 grams caster sugar
1. Add the watermelon, water, mint and sugar to a bowl and blend with a hand-held blender until completely smooth.
2. Pour the mixture into a pre-cooled stainless steel tray and put into the freezer. Every 30 minutes, remove and break up the ice crystals with a fork. Do this until icy and easy to scoop (this should take about 2 hours). Serve.
This is an edited extract from Pidapipo: Gelato Eight Days A Week by Lisa Valmorbida, published by Hardie Grant Books (RRP $40). Available in stores nationally.
Take the hassle out of Christmas gifting. Our new book, Broadsheet Melbourne Food, is out now (RRP $29.95). Order online at shop.broadsheet.com.au or find it at all good bookstores.