We’re standing in Trovatino Cafe’s production room with its owner and gelato maker, Joseph Trovato. “Here, try this,” he says, planting a spoon into a pot of glistening, white gelato. Without any strain of the wrist, the spoon lifts a fold of it up. He hands it to us with enough relaxed confidence for us to trust him implicitly. It’s coconut flavoured and extremely soft, so much so you could mistake it for pure whipped cream, or uncooked meringue.
Trovato wants it this way. He doesn’t like the dense, almost-chewy style of gelato that’s in vogue now, and he doesn’t want it to be particularly sweet, either. His goal is to make light, good quality, basic Sicilian gelato. “I can bring you to a place that has a fancy name, but what does it taste like? Sugar? All those flavours are good, but we don't want to do what other people are doing. We want to strive for basic, good gelato. If you're having pistachio, that's what you're having. It's real pistachio.”
Although Trovato’s cafe-gelateria stocks anywhere from 32 to 50 flavours there’s barely any innovation. The wildest creation is probably the white-chocolate and hazelnut croccante (an Italian-style nut brittle). The bright-green mint and a bubblegum flavour are for kids. Almost all the others are Italian classics: hazelnut, coffee, lemon meringue, vanilla – all produced with natural, quality ingredients.
Trovatino is one of the few gelaterias serving Sicilian-style granitas (a slushy-style crushed-ice dessert). They’re ubiquitous in Southern Italy; some people even eat it for breakfast. “Traditionally they eat it with a brioche in the morning. A coffee granita, a bit of panna (cream) and brioche. That’s the style,” says Trovato. Otherwise you can try the ultimate summer refresher, the gassosa, which is a glass of mineral water mixed with a dollop of lemon granita.
Trovato’s dad, Sebastien, provides all the fruits that make up the sorbets and granitas. “Dad started this place 48 years ago as a fruit shop,” says Trovato. “I’d worked as a pastry chef and decided I wanted to do something on my own, so we bought the shop next door and decided to do a fruit-shop cafe.” There’s no fruit shop anymore, now it’s just a cafe, a cake counter and the gelato. Despite being 72, Trovato senior still works the markets. “He called me up the other day and said, ‘Passionfruit are cheap’. I said, ‘Buy 20’. He bought 30,” says Trovato. Now there’s a fresh batch of passionfruit sorbet.
268–270 Great North Road, Wareemba
(02) 9712 4607
Mon to Sun 7am–5pm