On an unassuming side street off Chatswood’s shopping strip, Gelateria Gondola is making traditional artisan gelato and sorbet. Venetian chefs, Davide Barbisan and Luca Zanini create a selection of classic flavours, handmade and beautifully presented with no pretension whatsoever.
Clad in the traditional red-and-white uniform of the gondolier, Barbisan and Zanini warmly welcome patrons into their space. The front half of Gelateria Gondola is adorned with gondola memorabilia from Venice – a rèmo (gondolier’s oar) adorns the wall, and a ferro, the traditional key-shaped iron head from the bow of the gondola, welcomes patrons in the front window.
An open kitchen lets patrons watch the “gelato gondoliers” at work. A centrepiece to the kitchen, the vertical Cattabriga “Effe” freezer machine is a stainless steel thing of beauty and the only one in Sydney. The freezer uses technology invented in 1927 to chill the gelato to a temperature much colder than that of commonly utilised horizontal machines. Mechanically worked with a paddle by one of the gelato makers, they can only produce six litres at a time, which ensures freshness.
Starting with raw ingredients, Davide and Luca follow a process that takes approximately 12 hours from start to finish. Starting with the highest quality jersey milk, they don’t use pre-made powders, creating everything from scratch and relying on natural carob gum as a stabiliser.
Of the 20 flavours available, approximately 10 are constant and all utilise the ingredients from Italy. Hazelnut delle langhe, uses hazelnuts from Piedmont in Italy; pistachio Siciliano, uses real Sicilian pistachio; arance rosse aperol, uses blood orange juice imported from Italy and fior di jersey uses fresh jersey milk. Other constants include lychee and cacao; banana Nutella; caffe mascarpone; fragola (strawberry); limone and 70 per cent Belgian cioccolato. In addition to the constants, a series of other flavours will feature seasonally and to popular demand.