It’s no secret that gelato is probably one of my favourite foods and that we are frequent visitors of all three of Gelato Messina locations – Darlinghurst (the original), Surry Hills (conveniently located around the corner from home) and The Star Casino (dangerously positioned across the street from my office). So you can imagine how excited I was to secure two spots in their Gelato Appreciation Class which apparently sold out all of their 2013 classes in about 2 hours! Our class was last weekend and it was amazing.
The class started at 9AM on a Saturday. We convened at their flagship Darlinghurst shop before getting on a bus that took us to their Rozelle factory (next door to Adriano Zumbo’s!). Our host for the day was Donato Toce, one of the owners of Gelato Messina. Donato is charismatic and fun – a perfect host for this sort of class. You learn a lot about gelato throughout the day of course – the science of making it as well as some recipes, but you also learn a lot about Gelato Messina – how it started and what goes into making a quality product. It’s clear throughout that class that Donato truly loves gelato and that he and the other founders are incredibly humbled and surprised by the popularity of their product and how much people love it. We really enjoyed being able to ask Donato any question we wanted and the candidness of his answers – it really added to the class.
The itinerary for the rest of the day, as explained by Donato, was quite simple – “I show you how to make a gelato, we eat that gelato. I show you how to make a sorbet, we eat that sorbet. I show you how to make one of our cakes, we eat that cake.”. Which is exactly how it went peppered with getting to taste some fun/weird extras and followed by heading back to the Darlinghurst shop where we had the shop to ourselves and were able to taste all the flavours and even take some home for later. A perfect day in by book.
Some fun facts from Donato:
- They have plans for new locations in Bondi (Hall Street), Melbourne, and China (Hangzhou)
- Unlike most gelato shops that have 3 “base flavours” that they then mix various pastes and toppings into to make additional flavours, Gelato Messina has an individual recipe for each one of its flavours!
- The best-selling flavour is Salted Caramel with White Chocolate
- There are about 40 flavours that are always in the case as regulars with 5-6 specials (including at least 1 completely new one) weekly
- They do about 50/50 cup versus cone
- One of Donato’s favourite desserts outside of GM is a chocolate dessert that can be found at Harrison’s Restaurant in Port Douglas
- Another favourite dessert spot is the Shangri-La hotel where pastry chef, Anna Polyviou is one of the best and does Wednesday night dessert degustations (WISH-LIST ALERT!)
- The murals that are in both the Darlinghurst and Surry Hills shops are by artist, Jeremyville. There isn’t one in the Star location due to casino rules, but there will be murals in future locations
The class is $120 per person and it well worth it for all you gelato lovers out there if you’re quick enough to get your hands on a spot. We were told that a new range of classes – appreciation through to hands on and even master classes – will be coming in 2014 so stay tuned!