No trip to Ballarat is complete without calling in at Il Piccolo Gelato. One of our favourite gelaterie, creating awesomely good small batch artisan gelato fresh each day.
In a pre-lockdown world back in March, we were free to motor up to Ballarat for a long weekend away from home. First, a long leisurely lunch at Meigas – a superb authentic Spanish restaurant, bringing back very fond memories of food we enjoyed so much in Madrid many years ago. And not one, but two visits to Il Piccolo.
In Sturt Street, right in the centre of Ballarat next to the town hall, Il Piccolo is a bright and airy space, the lime green walls dotted with colourful retro Italian travel posters.
Anthony, Il Piccolo’s friendly proprietor and gelato maker, lived for a while in Italy, where he learnt the craft on the job at a local gelateria. His advice for travellers seeking Italy’s best gelati: avoid the tourist hot spots, as the best gelaterie are out in the suburbs, catering just for the locals. Of course our dreams of visiting Italy are on hold for now…
Anthony makes the gelati every morning, from all natural ingredients. Fresh milk is used and definitely no artificial colours or flavours. Each day the gelato cabinet is stocked with around two dozen flavours, including both dairy and non-dairy options from over a hundred flavours in Anthony’s repertoire. Served in cups, cones or tubs to take away. Gelato cakes can also be ordered.
And the gelati? Awesomely good. We’ve popped in a few times now, and have never been disappointed. Fantastic creamy textures, gorgeous intense flavours. All those characteristics that make artisan gelati so wonderful and keep us coming back for more.
Special mentions for Il Piccolo’s lemon cheesecake gelato, raffaelo (white chocolate, coconut and almond) and a super tangy passionfruit sorbetto. Plus an outstanding hazelnut gelato – nut flavours are always a true test of gelato excellence.
With the COVID-19 lockdown it’s going to be a very long time before we return to Ballarat. In the meantime, locals can still enjoy Il Piccolo’s gelati for takeaway. While normally there is seating inside and outside on the footpath, with social distancing all the seats have been removed. To avoid disappointment check the hours if you plan to visit.
And as soon as the restrictions ease, we will be heading back. For even more gelati from Il Piccolo and another Spanish feast at Meigas.
Outstanding artisan gelati and super friendly service in a bright and cheery central location. Il Piccolo is definitely one of our all-time favourite gelaterie. We reckon Ballarat locals are very lucky to have a top quality gelateria on their doorstep.
Il Piccolo Gelato
217 Sturt Street
Ballarat Vic 3350
T: (03) 4310 6437