Monday, July 16, 2012

Gelato Messina...many say it is the best!

In my early twenties, after working on a meager wage for sometime, I completed my four year apprenticeship as a chef. I had managed to save some cash over my time working, mainly as I had conveniently remained living at home with my parents during this time! With what I had saved in hand, I travelled to England and Europe on a ten week adventure of all things food and gastronomy. Gastronomy is the art or science of food and eating, it can also be described as the study of food and culture, with a particular focus on gourmet cuisine.
What a journey it was for me, tastes of fine dining in London, the warmth of pub grub in Wales, exquisite escargot (snails) in Paris, and pasta, pasta, pasta in Rome. I enjoyed a couple of nights working in a fine restaurant in Venice, as well as the daily joy and vibrancy of purchasing local produce at the markets, both in the cities and small villages along the way. One memory that still remains strong in my mind, is eating gelato on warm, summery evenings in Florence, my fave flavour always hazelnut!

Being winter in Sydney right now, those warm evenings in Florence are a but a distant memory for me. However, I digress, this is not so for some lovely friends of ours who have recently returned from that beautiful part of the world!

Catthedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, crowds take to the shade so their gelato does not melt...the perfect weather for eating gelato!

Friend Tracey Berry, a Fiat bambino in Florence.
No photos of gelato for me to post, as she was in her own words "too busy eating them just about every day!" Fave flavours Cafe & Limoni!
Above Photos with thanks to Tracey Berry.

Still in our family, regardless of the weather, we have recently found occassions to eat gelato mid winter in Sydney! Celebrating my husband's birthday on the weekend, we visited Gelato Blue on King Street, Newtown, again I had hazelnut, which was creamy with whole raw hazelnuts dispersed throughtout and did not disappoint. Another popular spot for gelato on King Street, Newtown is Gelatomassi, where they use seasonal fruits, real chocolate and whole milk, instead of the standard powdered milk.

Then today I took my youngest son and some friends on an outing to Bondi, for some skating in the winter sunshine, as we savoured their last day of winter school holidays.

My Italian, food loving friend Vicki joined us, and at morning tea my son Jake, who has a habit of planning ahead his sweet tooth strategies, suggested we may like to get some gelato later in the day! After some fun in the sun and lunch by the beach, Vicki suggested if we were going to get gelato, we should visit Gelato Messina in Darlinghurst, which Jake and his friends thought was a fine idea! Being that I had only just had gelato on Saturday evening, I was happy to make the short detour on the drive home, but felt I might pass on a second serve of gelato in a week! Vicki laid down the challenge by exclaiming "Are you really saying you are going to visit, what the Good Food Guide says is the best gelato in Australia, and NOT try some?"

Leaving Bondi it was only a ten minute trip to Victoria Street, Darlinghurst and we arrived at Gelato Messina Store, with The Creative Department-Laboratorio and Patisserie right next door.
Gelato Messina is a smallish store with an amazing array of large mounds of gelato, many believe it to be Sydney's finest gelato, with thirty gelati flavours on any day, including seven daily specials and ten sorbets. The prices were quite reasonable $3.90 for one scoop, $4.90 for two scoops and just over $6.00 for three scoops, served in delightfully crunchy, long waffle cones or a cup and spoon.

Gelato Messina describes the art of making their gelati...
"When we make gelato at Messina, we ask ourselves one simple question: “How would they have made it 100 years ago?” The answer is simple – use ingredients in their raw and most natural form and make everything from scratch. ‘Ready made’ ingredients including colourings, flavourings, preservatives and pastes have no place at Messina.
From the meticulous roasting and endless grind of pistachios, to the baking of our own apple pies and brownies, or to the sweet smell of stewed spiced rhubarb, absolutely everything is made lovingly in-house by our little team of mad professors. By using real ingredients, we achieve full bodied texture and flavour in our gelati. The dairy flavours have low fat content, and our sorbets are completely fat free, dairy free and full of fruit."

I am not a real sweet tooth, I am always far more tempted by savoury indulgences, such as a beautiful piece of vintage cheese, a bowl of crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside hand cut potato chips or a beautifully handcrafted loaf of sour dough bread. When I do go for something sweet, I have a couple of favourites or possibly obsessions, as I rarely deviate from them, they are Tiramisu or a chewy chocolate and nut brownie.

So on my first visit to Gelato Messina today, although not really a sweet tooth girl, I gave into the many, many mounds of mouth watering gelato and got myself a single was in fact Vicki pointing out to me that they had a Tiramisu flavour, with chunks of coffee soaked sponge cake interspersed, that saw me finally crumble!

It is probably the first time in a very long time I didn't order my standard hazelnut flavour, which means I will probably have to return to Gelato Messina at some stage and do just that, so as to give you my opinion on whether it is infact the best gelato in Australia.

So if you, like me, are a little way off a trip to Florence right now, why not treat yourself to one or two of the 'made from scratch' flavours at Gelato Messina?

Gelato Messina
Shop 1/241 Victoria St,
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Opening times
Sunday to Thursday: 12pm to 11pm
Friday and Saturday: 12pm to 11.30pm

The Creative Department
- Laboratorio and Patisserie
243 Victoria St,
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Opening times
Monday to Saturday: 12pm to 10pm
Sunday: 12pm to 7pm
t: 61 2 8354 1223

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