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.

Natalie Paull, Beatrix
“My greatest Melbourne gelato memory was in the summer of 2013. After a sweltering day at Beatrix, I picked the strawberry, mascarpone and balsamic gelato out of the pozzetti at Gelateria Primavera on Spring Street, back when Massimo Bidin and Anthony Femia were at the icy helm. I sat sweaty and dog-tired on a milk crate in the crusty laneway beside the grocer, and found God. I chased that flavour like Ahab after his whale, but I never saw it again.

“I only dabble in eating frozen desserts but when the mood strikes me, I am at Piccolina ordering a two-scoop cone – one each of chocolate and pistachio. It’s always perfect lick-temp texture. Sometimes I take the pistachio as a milkshake because it’s frankly a genius beverage, and if I take a pack home I’ll include lemon gelato – a kind of adult Neapolitan trio.”

Jung Eun Chae, Chae
“My go-to gelato place is Gelateria Bico. Apart from the fact that it was so conveniently located on the ground floor of the same Brunswick apartment [building] I used to live in, this place is my favourite because it really shows their passion about gelato. The pistachio is classic.”

Jospeh Vargetto, Mister Bianco, Massi and Cucina Povera
“My favourite place to get gelato is Pidapipo on Lygon Street. It is made to authentic recipes and has true Italian flavours. My favourite flavours are pistachio and fior di latte. Plus, it’s part of King & Godfree, so you have the added benefit of the whole complex including Johnny's Green Room upstairs. And you can go for a lovely walk in the area with your gelato.”

Almay Jordaan, Old Palm Liquor and Neighbourhood Wine
“Piccolina is where I go back to most often! And almost always pistachio or hazelnut, because I like the almost-savouriness they get just right there, due to quality ingredients and methods. When it’s on, I can’t walk past baklava either!”

Andrea Vignali, Al Dente
“I live in Collingwood and spend a lot of my time in the surrounding suburbs, so I feel spoilt for choice. Usually if I’m on foot, I head straight to Piccolina on Smith Street. Otherwise, we’re happy to travel slightly afar for the really good stuff at Boca Gelato in Ivanhoe. My favourite flavours from the team at Boca are the chocolate-honeycomb and their cookies and cream.”

Dom Wilton, Hector’s Deli
“Pidapipo: best gelato in Melbourne. Actually, best in Australia. My brother, who is also a Pidapipo addict, introduced me to the combination of orange, fior di latte, and chocolate – it’s fucking incredible. Like a splice, with the added weight and depth of chocolate. Add peanuts, whipped cream and Nutella if you have no limits, like me.”

Esca Khoo, Miss Mi
“I love ice-cream so much, I even eat it for breakfast. When I think of dessert, I always think of ice-creams, gelatos and sorbets. There are a lot of amazing gelato and ice-cream makers and it’s a hard pick for the best, but there are a few that have their place in my heart and stomach. Beku Gelato for awesome Asian-inspired flavours; they even have durian, which is what I usually have back in Asia. Kariton Sorbetes by John Rivera; he is truly taking Filipino classics to new heights. We come from the same values and experiences and I am so glad that he is offering top-class flavours that are usually served in restaurants to the public. Il Melograno in Northcote is another one that I like a lot, from salted macadamia nut to citrus-infused ricotta gelato. Ice-cream is just so magical to me, I don’t think I can ever live without it.”

Audrey Allard, Holy Sugar
“Hands down, Luther’s Scoops. The sour cream-boysenberry is to die for, and their menu is constantly changing to keep up with the seasons. I’ve watched Luther’s Scoops grow their business from farmers markets to their beautiful shopfront in Brunswick and am a firm believer in supporting small businesses.”

Ned Trumble, Lagoon Dining
“Piccolina on Smith Street is my most frequent haunt for that magnificent stuff we call gelato; they have a regular selection that is exceptional, as well as a rotating roster of nuanced and inspired flavours – all delicious. The hankering usually comes on particularly strong during my weekend, sometime after midday on Monday – though it is a craving that shadows me at all times, both waking and sleeping. When I’m unable to swing past for a refuel, or the craving is particularly strong, I implore, beg, and cajole my long-suffering partner to replenish the freezer with emergency supplies. Failing that, the service station on the way home does a mean and very reliable Golden Gaytime.”

Raymond Tan, Raya
“My ultimate favourite gelato go-to has to be Beku up on Lygon Street. [Founder Agusta Triwahyu] makes the most amazing Southeast Asian flavours that are right up my alley and you can’t find anywhere else … Ketan hitam (black glutinous rice), chendol (a popular street shaved ice) and tolak angin (a very popular minty herbal syrup in Indonesia) are my favourites.”

Hamed Allahyari, Cafe Sunshine & Salamatea
“Piccolina is the best gelato in the world! My favourite flavours are dark chocolate, strawberry, and pistachio or hazelnut with Nutella topping – usually in a cup but sometimes a cone.”

Shingo Tochimoto, Tochi Deli
“My favourite place is Luther’s Scoops in Brunswick. They offer a unique, seasonal, well-thought-out menu with quality ingredients. I love their Earl Grey tea [ice-cream] with choc chips. It has a beautiful tea flavour, just the right sweetness and a perfectly balanced texture. It’s rich, creamy, crunchy and chocolatey and yet still has a refreshing aftertaste.”

Find the 2020 edition of this story here.