Gelato is a pleasure that should be enjoyed year-round. But once the temperature tips over 30 degrees, Melburnians are doubly likely to be lined up outside the city’s gelaterias and ice-creameries, trying to decide which flavour(s) to taste test – and then order.
Everyone’s got preferences: cup or cone, creamy or fruity, gelato or ice-cream. And chefs are no exception. So, we asked a flock of Melbourne’s best and up-and-coming chefs where they go to get their cool summer hit, and what they order when they’re there.
Kay-Lene Tan, Coda and Tonka
“My favourite place for ice-cream or gelato is Gelateria Primavera at Spring Street Grocer. They make the best fior di latte and pistachio gelato. So perfectly balanced and rich in flavour.”
Mo Zhou, Gaea and Calere
“My favourite spot is Messina [in Fitzroy], which is just a 10-minute walk from my restaurant. It’s very easy for me to access and the quality of the gelato there is always great. I always like to try some new flavours, but the coffee flavour is a must for me.”
Nornie Bero, Mabu Mabu
“Yumbo’s is my local. I love it because it’s super fresh, all-natural and a [Carlton North] institution. My favourite flavours are definitely honeycomb, salted caramel, coconut – too many to choose from!”
Coskun Uysal, Tulum
“Fritz Gelato … it’s a small business in Prahran Market. [The gelato’s] made on-site, and they use organic fruit and dairy. It’s also close to my house, which means I can carry home their great take-home packages. I love the pomegranate-raspberry sorbet that they do – it’s sour and low-sugar.”
Tom Sarafian, Bar Saracen
“Piccolina is my favourite gelato in Melbourne. I absolutely love their perfection-is-in-simplicity approach to flavours, letting the quality of top ingredients shine. Their pistachio is the best I’ve ever tried; I ate so much during lockdown and visit their Collingwood store on Smith Street, my local, quite often.”
Eileen Horsnell, Napier Quarter
“My favourite gelato is from Piccolina on Smith Street. Everyone who works there is passionate and knowledgeable about their gelato, and it shows. It has a perfect texture and you can taste the quality ingredients.
“I love the pistachio and – to mix things up a little – I love the dark chocolate sorbet. They’re a great combo. Also, having a mild dairy intolerance, the sorbet is completely vegan so it agrees with me more.”
Harry Mangat, Biji Dining
“I am a bit of a monster when it comes to ice-cream. I eat a lot of it. When I lived in St Kilda I would walk to Jock’s at least once a week, sometimes twice. Always three scoops – my favourite hokey-pokey, coconut-lime, and the third scoop [would be] a new flavour.
“Other than that, Gelato Messina for pistachio praline and vanilla, and Pidapipo for fior di latte and vanilla honeycomb. Fior di latte is my all-time favourite.”
Paolo Arlotta, Riso and Herbivorous Nights
“I eat my gelato at Messina, as one of my best friends is working there. I often visit him for a coffee, but when I go there for gelato only, my go-to flavours are hazelnut, pistachio, super dulce de leche, or fior di latte. I like simple, clean flavours.”
Thiago Matheus, Samba Empadas
“My favourite gelato place is Miinot, a tiny ice-cream shop in Pascoe Vale South with inviting and delectable flavours ... I love this place because it’s literally minutes away from where I live; all the ice-creams are made on the premises with local ingredients; and they only have 12 flavours (it does my head in, those ice-cream shops with way too many flavours) – six are vegan, which is awesome. They have a great variety of fruit gelatos, which I prefer, and, in my opinion, they make simply the best lemon gelato – it’s so creamy and smooth with a zesty flavour.”
Nicola Romano, Oster
“My favourite place to have gelato is Piccolina. I love the philosophy behind it … They use the best raw and seasonal ingredients, and for that reason no two batches can ever be the same. ‘Imperfect’ makes it perfect. My favourite flavours are pistachio, passionfruit and hazelnut.”
Eigen Ting, Sucre du Jour
“[Gelateria Primavera at] Spring Street Grocer’s pistachio ice-cream is divine! [The] balance in terms of nuttiness, creaminess and sweetness is well-rounded. The added touch of salt just tops it all [off] and always makes me come back for more.
“Bibelot’s pistachio ice-cream has the added caramelised pistachios or pistachio nougatine, which gives it that added textural contrast that we need in something as silky-smooth as ice-cream. The mandarin sorbet is the perfect thing to eat on sunny days in Melbourne.”
Alex Yin, Chibog
“I’d have to go with Messina, it’s just so solid. Favourite flavours [have] got to be Cremino – it pops up every now and then as one of their specials – cherry and chocolate fudge, oh lord.”