237 Smith St
‘The gelato was so good that I cried.’ I don’t remember the last time I’ve received a recommendation that glowing, but after two friends who came back from Sydney babbling like religious converts, as well as the influx of sunshine, I decided it was high time for me to visit the gelataria that makes what has been voted Australia’s best gelato – Gelato Messina.
This isn’t actually my first experience with Gelato Messina. The first run-in occurred at the Night Noodle Markets, where I had a peanut and coconut sundae, and was immediately enchanted. And 10 minutes later I had penned in a visit to the newly opened store in Fitzroy, to be visited as soon as humanely possible.
I need a Valium. Upon entering the surprisingly large and slick gelataria, the hillocks after hillocks of ice cream turned me into a child on amphetamines. The desserts rose in creamy waves and swirls, studded with all manner of ingredients, from brownies to croissants to apple pie, and even some alcoholic concoctions for the grown-ups (Mojito, Jack Daniel’s with Smoked Chocolate). And with more than 40 flavours on offer (including a blackboard of specials) at $4/scoop, $6/2 scoops, and $7/3 scoops, I was ready to go nuts.
|Breakfast of Champions (special)/Number Two (special)|
With the Breakfast of Champions (special), it was all in the name. With a yoghurt gelato that tasted like creamy, tangy frozen yoghurt, mixed in with plum jam and large pieces of croissant, this was indeed a champion of a breakfast.
The unfortunately named but scrumptious Number Two (special) took my pick of the day right at the start. The decadently rich and nutty peanut gelato housed large pieces of chewy chocolate brownies, swirled through with sticky dulche de leche. I may have cried a little at this point too.
The Bounty was a creamy coconut gelato with chewy bits of chocolate and coconut mixed in, and was just like the chocolate bar, only more delicious.
Despite sounding great on paper, the Tiramisu was quite underwhelming. It tasted like a simple coffee gelato, albeit a good one.
|Coconut and Lychee/Salted Caramel and White Chocolate|
The Coconut and Lychee was another winner. The sweet nuttiness of the coconut melded beautifully with the floral fruitiness of the lychee, making for a great tropical treat.
The Salted Caramel and White Chcoolate is the most popular gelato at Messina, but like the tiramisu, it was delicious but underwhelming, featuring nothing but a salty-sweet caramel taste.
|Mojito (special)/Apple Pie/Messy Juliette (special)|
And because we still weren’t done, we had three more scoops of ice cream. The first one was the Mojito (special), a refreshingly tart sorbet with a strong hit of rum and mint.
The Apple Pie is another delicious classic at Messina – creamy apple gelato blended with apple pie pieces, for a summer version of the warm and spicy dessert.
Our final scoop of gelato for the day was the Messy Juliette (special), a sugar-and-spice-and-all-things-nice blend of strawberry gelato, whipped vanilla cream, and Marsala sponge. Whilst not overwhelmingly good, it was a satisfying ending to the gelato adventure that had me thinking of birthday cake.
Gelato Messina certainly lived up to the hype. With more than three dozen flavours and ever-changing specials, it is probably one of, if not the best place in Australia to get your gelato fix.
Rating: 16/20 – gelato and a valium.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.