The family run Cow & The Moon gelateria in Enmore is about to celebrate five years of trading on Enmore Road, and its owners are catching their breath. It’s been a hectic six months since Cow & The Moon was awarded the Gelato World Tour title in Rimini, Italy, for its mandorla affogato creation. It’s a combination of caramelised roasted almonds and a single-origin coffee sauce with a Madagascan-vanilla-bean base.
Father and son John and Sam Crowl came up with this flavour combination. Two years of work went into competing, including making gelato for 70,000 people in the Oceania division of the competition in Melbourne 12 months before the big win. Then, last September, “At 7.30am, local time, my husband won the award,” Wendy Crowl says. “And from 11.30am onwards, we had people wanting to try it. We had no idea that the response to winning that world-champion label would be so instant.” Although they already had a growing, busy business, and had started to lease extra space for their kitchen, the Gelato World Tour award catapulted the Crowls to a whole new level of demand, with huge queues forming down Enmore Road.
“The queues are now quite sporadic,” Sam Crowl says. “The main crazy times are after dinner, especially on a Friday or Saturday night.” Luckily, a previous employee – a gelato maker – came back from overseas and was rehired straight away. Cow & The Moon has now put on a total of eight extra staff, and ramped up its manufacturing; gelato and sorbets are now made from 7am until midnight, seven days a week. The number of trays of mandorla affogato served has gone up from three a day to, “Anything from nine trays on a quiet night,” says Wendy.
The business has always been about creating and trialing new flavours, especially those based on fresh fruit. “I’ve been lugging watermelons around lately,” Wendy says, “because they’re in season.” Cow & The Moon always keeps its standard flavours in stock – the mandorla affrogato (of course); vanilla (a benchmark for gelato, says Wendy); chocolate; passionfruit cream (the Australian champion gelato for 2015); a nut flavour (usually pistachio or hazelnut); plus a mango and a lemon sorbet. Those who came in to taste the winner now are repeat customers, coming back to try the rotating other flavours, such as Turkish delight; pistachio/turmeric/cardamom; or poached strawberries and balsamic sauce on a panna cotta base.
The Crowls had a lot of offers after their international success, but don’t plan to become a franchise or otherwise expand, apart from planning a bigger kitchen. “We like being a little artisanal gelateria, making the best product we can from top ingredients, including making our sauces from scratch,” says Wendy.
The Crowls have no plans to enter the next World Tour competition, but are still focused on entering the Royal Easter Show (a very, “Difficult, technical competition,” says Wendy). They entered eight flavours this year and won four gold and three silver medals. So forget the affogato, that’s so last year: instead, the vanilla, strawberry and balsamic panna cotta, the cherry bombe, Christmas pudding, ginger crème brûlée, chocolate and rosemary, the orange sunset sorbet and the black-and-blue sorbet – they’re the ones to queue for now.