Matteo Pochintesta expected a few things to be different when he opened an outpost of his Newtown gelato shop, Mapo, in Bondi. But he didn’t think he’d have to adjust his tried-and-true gelato recipe.
“It’s harder to make gelato in Bondi,” he tells Broadsheet. “Since we don’t use stabilisers, it melted quicker and the texture was a bit different. There’s also more salinity and humidity in the air, so we adjusted our recipe to accommodate that.”
The core of Mapo’s ethos is transparency. That means it uses no preservatives, thickeners or artificial tricks to create its perfectly creamy gelato. “We try to work simply, using simple flavours with good, raw organic ingredients. Nothing is hidden,” says Pochintesta.
There are seasonal fruit flavours on top of its core offerings, which include fior di latte; Sicilian pistachio; Piedmont hazelnut (whose flavour Pochintesta describes as “like Nutella but better”); single-origin chocolate from Bolivia; and Pepe Saya sea-salt caramel.
“With changing flavours, we do what’s in season,” says Pochintesta. “We buy a lot of fruit, and the first one that gets ripe becomes gelato. It’s never planned too well.”
The method results in flavourful gelato that features ingredients when they’re at their best. The nectarine gelato is sweet, tart and tastes like an even more delicious version of the stone fruit. There’s also honeydew melon, salted coconut and fig. These mild fruits create a mellow, gently sweet gelato that ushers out the last of the summer.
“Here we’re trying to attract new customers, so we’re not doing much playing around with flavours,” he says. In Newtown, Mapo has collaborated with chefs such as Mitch Orr, who created a malt-and-bacon flavour. “Eventually we can do things that are more playful in Bondi, but for now we’re doing the classics.”
At the Bondi shop, Pochintesta once again reveals his past life as an architect, with a fit-out that combines industrial elements such as black track lighting, roughly rendered brick and sanded-back plaster with modular plywood workspaces. Boxes of waffle cones and fresh fruit are stored on high wall-mounted shelves, and in the centre of a stainless-steel counter are 16 silver-lidded pozzetti – traditional metal containers that keep the gelato at the precise temperature of -11 to -12 degrees, “the old school way”.
Bondi is a long way from the inner west, but when Pochintesta came upon the south Campbell Parade shop, he was inspired. “I’m from the Alps, and when you come from the mountains, you seek the sea. We found this shop facing the ocean, and it was really love at first sight. To go to work in front of the ocean and see the waves and the beach, it’s pretty rewarding.”
64–66 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
(02) 8937 4919
Mon to Thu 12pm–10pm
Fri & Sat 12pm–10:30pm