In Melbourne, gelato is more prevalent than ice-cream (learn the difference between the two here) due to so many Italians moving here after World War II. But strangely enough, it was hard to find real gelato as recently as ten years ago. Most shops were still using cheap pastes produced in factories, rather than making their gelato from scratch.

All the spots below are committed to doing things the right way. Hint: look for pozzetti, the lidded, refrigerated pots which protect fragile gelato from oxidisation. Any shop with a glass case full of perky mounds has almost certainly given its gelato the equivalent of a boob job.

One last thing: if you’re looking to compare the skills of two different shops, order a scoop of pistachio. It’s the industry’s universal benchmark.

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Piccolina Gelateria Collingwood

The original Piccolina is in Hawthorn, but this is unquestionably the brand's headquarters. Enter for fresh and simple Italian gelato made the old-fashioned way. The gelato here is revered for a reason, but keep an eye out for the excellent range of cakes and other treats on offer too.

296 Smith Street, Collingwood

Pidapipo

This place is insanely popular – anyone who's had to muscle their way past the snaking Lygon Street queues can attest to this – so anyone who's somehow not acquainted with Pidapipo may be tempted to write it off as touristy or overpriced. Don't. Pidapipo deserves every metre of the long lines it generates; the gelato here is unquestionably some of Melbourne's best.

299 Lygon Street, Carlton

Miinot Gelato

Owner Emma Nicholas-Jennis grew up in a gelato store. So she's spent most of her life making – and scooping – gelato. So it should come as little surprise that the gelato here is some of the best in town. All of the flavours here are worthwhile, but if you see the burnt fig – go for it.

71 Melville Road, Pascoe Vale South

Kenny Lover

This retro ice-creamery is more steeped in kitschy Australian than a Golden Gaytime ad from the ’70s. It's by a chef with Michelin-star pedigree, where favourites such as pistachio and chocolate are joined by scoops flavoured with soy sauce, yuzu and sake, and olives and white chocolate. Plus, there’s hot chips for dipping.

796 High Street, Thornbury

Gelato Papa

This Preston gelateria combines traditional techniques with experimental flavours such as matcha, coconut and gorgonzola. No need to worry if you’re just after a classic flavour though – they’re here as well. Be sure to check out the other sweets on offer too.

14a Gilbert Road, Preston

Lavezzi

Four generations of experience gives this traditional gelato, sorbet and granita shop a leg up. Plus, its location on a (relatively) quieter part of Lygon Street means that you'll rarely have to queue here.

334 Lygon Street, Carlton

Bico

A father-and-son team is serving up tartufo, plus scoops of house-made salty Snickers, fior de banana and "Franjaffico" gelato. And there’s gelato-filled cannoli, too. And just like any good gelato shop worth its scoops, it's all prepared from scratch and churned daily.

288 Albert Street, Brunswick

Il Melograno

At this gelato shop, owned by a Sicilian native, the gelato is classically made, but many of the flavours are anything but. Past scoops have involved chocolate and rosemary, and pear and elderflower. It also doubles as a cafe, serving Italian breakfasts and lunches.

76 High Street, Northcote
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Beku Gelato

This gelato shop takes its cues from Southeast Asia, rather than Italy. Past flavours on owner Agusta Triwahyu's eclectic menu have included durian, lychee, Turkish Delight and even Malaysian condensed-milk tea.

171 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Billy van Creamy Fitzroy North

This old-school ice-creamery is doing some decidedly new-school things. For starters, there's the killer line-up of vegan options. Then there's the fact that it's all organic and natural: no preservatives here. So grab a scoop and head over to Edinburgh Gardens nearby.

27 Best Street, Fitzroy North

Glacé

At this frozen desserts store by pastry chef Christy Tania, bestselling ice-creams include the pavlova and cookies and cream flavours. But don’t miss out on the range of ice-cream cakes, babkas and macarons either.

1A Peel Street, Windsor

Meno Zero

In addition to oodles of gelato flavours, this gelateria has one of the best ranges of semifreddos in Melbourne. The tiramisu and tartufo both look great, but our eyes are set squarely upon the Meno Rocher: a giant, gelato-filled take on a Ferrero Rocher.

914a Doncaster Road, Doncaster East

Cuppa Turca

Dondurma is a type of stretchy, Turkish ice-cream. And it’s pretty hard to find in Melbourne. Cuppa Turca specialises in the stuff. If you want a break from gelato but still want to scratch that sweet, frozen itch, this is your pick. Plus there’s colourful Turkish delights and shatteringly crisp baklava.

244 High Street, Northcote

Barbarella Gelato and Wine Bar

Gelato and wine. Need we say more? This city gelateria is the perfect option if you find yourself in the CBD on a sweltering day. The wine is good and so's the coffee, but it's the gelato that keeps us coming back.

Block Arcade 282 Collins Street, Melbourne

Zero Gradi

The gelato-focused spin-off 400 Gradi is on has an ample roster of classic flavours to choose from. Add some cannoli to your order while you’re at it.

93-97 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Gelateria Primavera

This gelateria, perched next to City Wine Shop and Spring Street Grocer, is a contender for having the best gelato in town. The ingredients are high quality, seasonal flavours range from classic to strange, and the pozzetti cabinets keep the preservative-free gelato nice and fresh.

157 Spring Street, Melbourne

Augustus Gelatery

This gelateria (originally named for the Willy Wonka character Augustus Gloop, who knew a thing or two about sweets) is open 365 days of the year, with over 30 flavours, including a number of buffalo-milk gelati. There's also an extensive milkshake selection.

15A Pascoe Street, Pascoe Vale

Gelato Messina

Sydney's favourite gelato chain is just as popular in Melbourne. Sometimes going for an ice-cream here – with the big crowds, cool staff and house music blaring – feels more like waiting in line at nightclub. It would almost be frustrating, if the gelato here weren't so good.

237 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Davey Mac’s

At this long-standing bayside favourite, you'll be transported from Black Rock to the heart of Italy with just one lick of this artisan gelato. Flavour-wise, there’s the usual suspects but if you’re after something a little extra, then the elaborate ice-cream cakes are your go.

602 Balcombe Road, Black Rock

Jock's Ice Cream & Sorbet

This ice-creamery – believe it or not, owned by a man called Jock – has consistently been one of Melbourne's best ever since opening back in 2001. That's down to the quality of the ingredients. There are plenty of flavours, but it's hard to look past the Hokey Pokey and Chocolate – it's a bestseller.

83 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park