The guys behind Sydney’s favourite gelato company, Gelato Messina, have long resisted opening a Bondi shop; apparently, the touristy vibe just wasn’t their thing. “We’ve kind of been fighting it for a few years. We didn’t really want to go down to Bondi,” says co-owner, Nick Palumbo. “But over the last couple of years, we’ve noticed that it’s kind of split in two: you’ve got your tourists and backpackers, but you’ve also got a local community.”

Gelato Messina’s growing empire, with stores in Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and soon Melbourne, quickly grew a loyal following when it first opened in 2002. Palumbo had moved from the Adelaide restaurant business to focus on his icy passion. “To be really honest, I had a gelato maker I had a falling out with, and back then, it was pretty hard to find someone who made gelato,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘How hard can this be?’ I got stuck into it, and, yeah, it was really hard. But I just fell in love with the process, so I decided to dedicate my life to gelato manufacturing.”

Designed by Palumbo and his partners, the Bondi store resembles an upside-down swimming pool, with pebblecrete up the walls and ceilings. While it looks a little different to its siblings in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills, inside, the important stuff’s still the same.

Over 40 permanent flavours are churned in-house, along with a selection of at least five weekly specials. Palumbo insists Messina only uses the best quality ingredients, like house-roasted hazelnuts and milk from Warrnambool. “It doesn’t matter who you talk to, everyone says they make the best gelato. So, there’s no point me telling the world we do,” admits Palumbo. “But we try to differentiate ourselves with innovation. We’re always coming up with new flavours and new textures.”

Though the new Bondi shop is intended for locals, travellers needn’t worry: Palumbo promises he won’t be turning backpackers away at the door. “But we’re pretty much the furthest away from the beach,” says Palumbo. “We’ve just made a statement.”

Gelato Messina Bondi
G6/ 61 Hall Street, Bondi Beach

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