I think it’s fair to say Melbourne’s excitement for gelato has just increased at least 3 fold. I feel I can justify this because as a city we’ve recently been introduced to nitrogen gelato, we hosted the Gelato World Tour last month and this past week we finally reached the anticipated opening of Sydney gelateria, Gelato Messina which opened its doors on Thursday, 14th November.
The shop façade on Smith Street, Collingwood features a very modern, sleek and minimalistic design, with dark tinted windows and its name gilded in thin gold lines above the door, it would be easy to not notice this place if there weren’t such a long line of people stretching out from its front doors. I visited on Friday night, the day after it opened and the line wrapped down the outside of the store to the next door front, so were quick to snap up a spot in line before actually deliberating whether or not we were willing to wait in such a long line. However, it didn’t take long for us to notice the helpful implementation of crowd control that Gelato Messina had in place. That’s right, this gelato bar needed crowd control. Gelato Messina would be no stranger to long lines and eager crowds, I have heard that the enthusiastic masses that flock to their Sydney stores can almost be compared to the level of hysteria that would normally be saved for tween girls at a One Direction concert. However, their highly organised method of handling the line was great. There was one gentlemen who had the task of who working his way down the line, handing out menus and pointing out the flavour ‘specials’ of the day as well as guide the flow of traffic into the store at a reasonable time.
I applaud Gelato Messina for their well organised crowd control outside their store, but once I made it to the front of the line (I am going to say it took about 10 minutes maximum) I was shocked at how quickly the atmosphere turned to a manic free-for-all where waiting to be served became an entirely different story. I was directly in front of the window encasing the high pillowed mountains of gelato where behind it stood a dozen employees in cute Breton striped tops. I was patiently waiting to be served but ended up being numerously ignored as ice-cream servers gravitated towards the most pushy, forceful, demanding customers first, despite order of arrival or length of time spent patiently waiting. So, after my experience, take this lesson from me; once it’s your turn to order, speak up, smile and be quick to lock eyes with the next available server to rein in their attention like a lasso wielding cowboy before you get trampled on or pushed back by overly brazen folk.
You are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to flavours at Gelato Messina which gets another favourable tick for the number of variety and level of creativity when it comes to their flavour assortment. A full listing on the regular flavours on offer can be viewed online, as well as their top 10 flavour combinations. They also Gelato Messina won first prize in the Gelato World Tour with their ‘Cremino’ flavour – salted caramel gelato with Italian meringue, gianduia fudge, fresh meringue and crushed amaretti biscuits. Once I spotted this the Specials menu, I was sold. I also tried the ‘Pannacotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit’ and what I learnt to be another extremely popular flavour, their ‘Gianduia Bianca’ – white chocolate & hazelnut gelato with hazelnut praline, pictured below.
Gelato Messina were thoughtful in their approach to cater to a variety of customers and specific dietary requirements. The menu’s helpful addition of the allergy checklist ensures to state which flavours contains nuts, gluten, egg, or alcohol and in addition to their indulgent ice cream selections, the menu also feature a large selection of refreshing, dairy free sorbets. They are not shy to promote their use of high-quality, fresh ingredients and this was further promoted though the design of a glass window through to their kitchen where you can watch the gelato masters churn their confectionary creations. Also look out for their cabinet of gelato cakes. I did not get to try one but they look incredible! You can see their full range of cakes online.
I found the prices were reasonable, but for the length of effort it took to order my gelato I was not settling for one measly scoop or limiting myself to sampling only one flavour (by that I also mean I apologise I do not remember the price of 1 scoop!) but at $6 for 2 scoops and only one cheeky dollar extra at $7 for 3 scoops, you can easily be persuaded for going all out and you won’t regret it later. What really makes the gelato so special is not only the unique and hyperventilating level of exciting flavour combinations. Although the flavours sound decadent and rich to the possible point of being overpowering, the gelato has such a surprisingly delicate texture and incredibly soft, smooth, buttery consistency, juxtaposed to the luscious explosion of taste bud frenzy it produces. They could have been a little more generous with their servings and the ultra-soft consistency caused it to melt in rapid time, resulting in all the gelato combining into one soupy flavour surprise. That being said, it was one amazing treat, Gelato Messina really does serve a superior level of quality gelato and I dare say that if you decide to make the trip here, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.
237 Smith Street, Fitzroy.
Sunday to Thursday 12pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12pm-11.30pm