Prickly pear. Banana and parsley. Salted caramel “crack”. Chicho Gelato doesn’t serve your nonna’s gelato. In spite of this – or perhaps because of it – the Northbridge gelateria remains one of the city’s high-water marks for this classic Italian dessert.
But while their flavours aren’t always traditional, Chicho Gelato owners Chez and Carly De Bartolo make their gelati and sorbets the old-fashioned way: fresh dairy, real fruit and raw ingredients are in; preservatives and colours are out. Combining quality local ingredients with the couple’s study at Gelato University in Bologna and extensive trialling yields an airy, silky scoop that polls well on both taste and texture. Reflecting their commitment to seasonality, the De Bartolos regularly add one-off flavours such as sour blood plum to the rotation, while monthly chef collaborations speak to their strong sense of community.
Featuring imported Italian marble, cool blue decor and a free-flowing chocolate tap, the store is a far cry from the custom-built carts the De Bartolos set up at markets while establishing the Chicho Gelato name. As is Italian tradition, Chicho’s wares are stored in pozzetti, ornate metal canisters that keep gelati in pristine condition. Benches on the footpath make ideal perches for people-watching.