Who needs to go to Sydney anymore? Now that Sydney’s amazing ice-cream store Gelato Messina and cult patisserie Zumbo have opened in Melbourne there’s no need to fly up to Sydney just for a sweet fix.
First of the pair to open was Zumbo, the patisserie created by pastry chef genius Adriano Zumbo. His South Yarra store is right in the middle of Melbourne’s dessert hub, a short walk from LuxBite and Burch & Purchese. The store injects a bit of Sydney glitz into the area, from the fairy floss coloured sculptured bench seating to the mirrored walls and flourescent signs. Even on a weekday you need to join the (roped off) queue to order your pastry creations.
Of course there are the famous macarons (or “Zumbarons”) and also a range of intricate and fabulous looking cakes. I picked up some macarons and a wedge of cake called “Secret Carrot Business” ($8) which is Zumbo’s take on a carrot cake. The cake was divided into layers of carrot cake and cheese cake and topped with surprisingly delicious candied carrots and some crunchy pecan nuts for texture. If you are looking for a super inventive flavour combination I think nearby LuxBite is a better option but I enjoyed the cake and it was certainly beautiful to look at.
Details: Zumbo, 12 -14 Claremont Street, South Yarra
Then three weeks ago Gelato Messina opened its doors just in time for Melbourne’s Summer (hopefully anyway!). The Smith Street shop is significantly bigger than Messina’s Sydney stores with lots of low seating to eat in and large windows where you can watch Messina’s chefs at work.
The thing I love about Messina is that if the gelato flavour contains nougat, the chefs make their own nougat and then add it in. If it contains apple pie, then they bake a pie and smash it in. It’s pretty impressive attention to detail and makes all the difference to nailing the flavours.
I’m still working my way through the flavours but can highly recommend Messina’s best seller salted caramel and white chocolate along with the under-rated but amazing coconut and lychee. Keep an eye on the specials listed on the blackboard or on Messina’s Facebook page. The “twixed” special of milk chocolate gelato with shortbread and caramel is dessert genius.
I am also very much in love with Messina’s gelato cakes and have been plotting the occasion when I could order one. There’s a brilliant one shaped like a giant mushroom ($85) and another Bombe Alaska ($55) with burnished meringue piled on top. Messina’s cake business apparently isn’t profitable but it’s something the store keeps doing in order to retain great chefs who then also generate the genius gelato flavours.
Details: Gelato Messina, 237 Smith St, Fitzroy 3065
Damage: Reasonable. One scoop is $4.