Coins and cups, clubs and swords: these are the four suits in Sicilian playing cards. And in a celebration of its Sicilian heritage, Gelato Papa’s logo is based on the symbols from those same cards.
Coming from several generations of gelato makers, this family enterprise produces all its gelato in-house using traditional Sicilian techniques. That means that the gelato is made from scratch using all natural ingredients – real fruit, real nuts, with different bases designed to suit each flavour.
Open just over a year, the light-filled blue and white shop is quite small. Room for just the gelato counter and a bench with stools at the window. The narrow kitchen runs the depth of the shop – if you visit at the right time you can peer in to watch gelato happening.
Extra seating is available at a couple of tables outside on the footpath.
Gelato Papa has just 16 flavours, both dairy and non-dairy (vegan) options, based on seasonal availability so the menu changes from time to time. The gelato is served in cups or cones, or tubs to take away. Or you can ask for a gelato sandwich, with a scoop of gelato between two pieces of house-made shortbread (gluten free is also available). Nutella is on tap, naturally.
We sampled quite a few of the flavours: lemon zest sorbetto, gaytime (caramel and biscuit crumb), and a vegan banana and coconut combination. And then there was maple bacon – maple syrup gelato with real bacon pieces. Salt, sweet and umami all at once.
Benny’s eventual choice: jaffa, paired with Sicilian pistachio. The vegan jaffa was a decadently rich dark chocolate with orange, and the pistachio was one of the best we have tasted.
I went for a summer fruit sorbetto combo: mango paired with raspberry. The mango was outstanding, redolent of sun-ripened fruit, and the raspberry was just as good.
This was gelato perfection. Beautiful velvety texture, nice elasticity – our friendly server obviously gets loads of practice twirling and swirling the gelato into snowy peaks – and of course super intense flavours to highlight the natural ingredients.
While we were enjoying our gelati, an order was phoned in. A cone of chocolate and pistachio – picked up a few minutes later by the tram driver who stopped his tram at the door. Someone else who obviously appreciates great gelato.
14a Gilbert Street
Preston Vic 3078
T: (03) 9480 5776