The heat is beaming down, the beach is calling, and you've got a thirst that only the iciest drink is going to quench. But there's something else calling your name, something that is going to instantly cool that core temp down, something that is totally worth forgoing the summer bod for—ice cream.
Melbourne's got itself a great range of fine ice cream and gelato purveyors, and we just seem to be adding more and more to the list. So, as you swelter under the Melbourne sun, check out Melbourne's best ice cream and gelato.
Sundae School Ice Creamery
When you find out Sundae School Ice Creamery is from the team behind Tuck Shop Takeaway you immediately know it's going to be good. Featuring an ever-changing menu of totally handmade flavours that will challenge what you're expecting when you walk into an ice cream shop.
Flavours have included the likes of ‘Real Bubble-Gum’, a marshmallow-dotted fusion of five unique flavour profiles, specially designed to taste like actual bubblegum. Or the BOM Jesus, a cold-infused Brazilian coffee creation, spiked with toffee, milk choc and orange crunch. Lamington ice-cream, apple pie ice-cream, bacon, banana and brown butter ice-cream. You'll be blown away by the flavours.
CBD, Carlton & Windsor
The second the temperature spikes in Melbourne there is a line outside of Pidapipo faster than you can say… well, Pidapipo. Their Mojito flavour is a thirst-quencher in the hot hot heat, and any gelateria that allows you to add extra Nutella is okay in our books.
Hawthorn, St Kilda & Collingwood
Piccolina's founder Sandra Foti quit her job and travelled to Italy to learn the art of gelato making. She brought that knowledge back to Melbourne and now has two stores in the suburbs, and we're forever grateful. Everything at Piccolia Gelateria is made fresh, from the gelato itself to the brownies that go into the chocolate brownie gelato. All of the classic flavours are here, with a few extras thrown in for good measure.
And you'd be mad not to get your hands on the Ferrerolina Rocher—an ice cream cake which is a collab with local dessert masters Luxbite, and features three types of gelato, hazelnut praline, and puffed rice.
Apparently, this joint's quite popular in the Melbourne gelato stakes, with mammoth queues that spill out onto the street come rain, hail or, hopefully, more prevalent, shine. Us Melburnians do love to queue these days, but the reality is we won't unless it's worth it, and the fact of the matter is, Gelato Messina is pumping out some of the city's finest gelato. So grab your mates to keep you company, or a really good book, and get in line. The salted caramel and white chocolate is worth every calorie and we love the roasted hazelnut flavour, with the nuts imported from Cortemilia, Italy.
Gelato Papa opened just before 2018 came to a close, and Preston is all the better for it. With a range of freshly-made gelato with ingredients all made from scratch in store, and a range of gelato cakes like the Vegan Bombe Alaska, Gaytime with a mash of caramel and chocolate ganache covered in crumbled malt, or the Raspberry Swirl with milk gelato laced with ribbons of raspberry sauce, Gelato Papa should definitely be on your radar this summer.
Billy Van Creamy
If you've stumbled across Billy van Creamy in Fitzroy North, you have definitely made it to the right place. But if that's a little far for you to travel, you can be safe in the knowledge that their ice cream truck is probably coming to an event near you very soon.
Casa Del Gelato
We love all things 80s, and long-serving local hero, Casa Del Gelato, has been bringing old-school ice cream to the cool kids since 1980. A stalwart of Lygon Street's traditional Italian strip, their award-winning scoops are well worth a visit, with their Belgian chocolate offering one of the best gelatos citywide. The chilli choc version gives a good kick and messes with your senses in the very best way. They also have a bulging soy section, so lactose-intolerant folks and vegans don't have to miss out. The soy-based pistachio rocks.
Serving the top end of Lygon Street for two decades, Gelobar, is another local hero well worth making an evening stroll to post-din dins. Their ice cream recipe, hailing all the way from Reggio Calabria in Italy's south is a closely guarded family secret, and their tiramisu flavour is to die for.
N2 Extreme Gelato
Brunswick Street's N2 has no truck with fat free gelato, no sir. They're proudly decadent, using full fat milk and fresh cream sourced from local dairies. All the fun flavourings are for real, too, with fresh fruits, herbs and other cool stuff. They make the stuff right there and then using mad scientist-style liquid nitrogen, so it's fun to watch, with all the be-goggled staff and billowing ice smoke making you feel like you're in a whacked out Cher video. Constantly concocting new flavours, some are really nuts, and they encourage you to get involved and suggest your own as well.
The gelato section tucked towards the back of Brunetti is certainly worth a visit for their fresh flavours, but sometimes, you want something on the go. Closer to the entrance is their ice cream cabinet, filled with ice cream cookie sandwiches, ice creams on a stick, and even whole ice cream cakes. They do the most gorgeous heart-shaped amerena cherry popsicles, but their Nutella biscotto gelato (ice cream cookie sandwich) absolutely slays us every time.
Just opposite the fabulous picture house that is the Palace Westgarth, Il Melograno, has fast made an impression on the city's insatiable ice cream lovers. Gelato king Marco Enea was enticed away from Sicily's outrageously beautiful Palermo to rule the roost here, and every mouthful speaks with Italian authenticity. Who wouldn't want a post-flick debrief over flavours including a wonderful sweet and savoury combo in chocolate and rosemary?
The creation of Melbourne's Will and Grant Crothers, Trampoline has been one of our go-to places for gelato since opening in 2004. The stores always seem to be buzzing with activity and Trampoline uses that same energy and carefree spirit (with the addition of amazing ingredients, of course) to create flavours such as Blood Orange, Lemon Lime & Bitters and our favourite, Caramel Pear. The latter will change your life.
Pascoe Vale South
Popping up in a stretch of Melville Road that's seen better days, Miinot Gelato is worth the detour, especially if you're not up for waiting in line for some of the other wonderkids on this best gelato list. Husband and wife team, Emma and Gary, are killing it with a small but perfectly formed gelato list that steadfastly avoids pre-mixed bases. They're packed with real fruit goodness, too, like their mouth-watering watermelon.
Few of Melbourne's best ice cream shops are as scenic as Gelateria Primavera, ensconced in The Spring Street Grocer, overlooking Parliament. It's the perfect spot to grab a scoop or two when it's hot in the city, with Massimo Bidin taking pride in his artisanal gelato using fresh, seasonal fruit and St David's cream. Whether it's lunchtime ice cream loving for politicos and public servants or a nighttime treat for lovers on a first date, expect to queue for gelato this good.
While they have a few outposts now, including Richmond, Prahran Market and St Kilda, the original Fritz Gelato stall at the South Melbourne Market is still the best. Scooping plenty of awards, they stick to their handmade guns, despite the expansive business growth, sourcing organic milk, sugar and other goodies, with the sorbets vegan-friendly too. Do your duty to your country with the Anzac Biscuit flavour.
Boasting a fair few medals to their name, Jock's is one of the best southside spots to grab a cool gelato fashioned from top-notch ingredients. We can't go past their good ol' US of A special, the Obamarama, involving the obligatory peanut butter and jelly combo so beloved Stateside.
It's not all about the cake when perusing Acland Street's thriving thoroughfare on a hot day. We're also major fans of 7 Apples artisanal gelato; if you can fight your way through the hordes of backpackers, they have a rotating display of 26 flavours at any one time, with around 100 in total, and they're open to suggestions for new concoctions.
What's more summer than licking a scoop of Melbourne's best gelato by the beach? Jump in the car, preferably a convertible, and cruise on down the coast to Davey Mac's out in Black Rock. Davey Mac the man is a self-confessed gelato nut, with his artisan efforts made on site, following Italian traditions to a tee. With a healthy mix of both sorbet-style and milk-infused flavours on offer, pick your icy poison and set out for a bit of sea and sand in your toes.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis