Last summer, Northbridge gelataria Chicho Gelato caused a stir when it unveiled its granita con brioche, a classic Sicilian dessert pairing refreshing granita with sweet white bread. This month, Chicho owners Cesare and Carly De Bartolo are revisiting the bread and frozen dessert combo with the release of, according to Cesare, Perth’s first melonpan gelato.
Discovered by the De Bartolos during their recent travels to Japan and Taiwan, the melonpan is a sweet enriched dough covered in a thin layer of cookie dough. (The name of the bread, somewhat similar to the pineapple buns served at dim sum restaurants and Asian bakeries, comes from its melon skin-like texture). In a nod to the dish’s Japanese origins, each melonpan gelato will be filled with a salted milk gelato made with salt from the island of Naoshima in Japan’s inland sea, and finished with anko, Japan’s famous sweetened red bean paste.
While Cesare admits melonpan gelato is a departure from Chicho’s norm, he says he and his wife are approaching the dish from a place of admiration for Japanese food traditions.
“Once you start digging you realise that [the Japanese’s] passion and tenacity for perfection is relentless,” says Cesare. “This is evident in their food scene. Their desserts are finely crafted and delicate. Chicho will do its best to represent these desserts respectfully.”
The melonpan gelato ($10) is available on weekends only from Saturday August 25 to Sunday September 16.