Nothing beats a scoop (or three) of ice cream or gelato for dessert, but not all frozen desserts are created equal. We've licked and scooped our way across the city in search of Melbourne's best cone artists – some of which are sticking to traditional methods, others who are getting experimental. All of them are worth visiting.
Melbourne's best ice cream and gelato
Ice creamy loving brothers Alex and Mitch Wells started out peddling their ice cream out of a truck, and have now settled into a North Fitzroy store. These guys don't do the flashy, big mounds of ice cream, and they don't do crazy colours. The only thing that goes in the ice cream are ingredients for the main flavours (eg: espresso, mint, pistacho), Demeter milk, cane sugar, cream and an egg yolk stabiliser. it's simple, straight up ice cream.
Sweet dreams are made of gelato. Specifically the incredible salted coconut and mango combination at Gelato Messina's Melbourne outlet in Fitzroy. Queues are standard at their Sydney stores and on a hot night expect the same here, but that cup of Bounty – coconut milk gelato with chocolate chips and desiccated coconut - will be worth it.
Brought to you by the people behind Spring Street Grocer, Gelateria Primavera continues to blow our minds with gelati and sorbetti that capture flavours so sharply it's like eating in high definition. Their signature fior di latte ice cream base, is incredibly rich and works with other flavours every time.
On days of extreme heat, N2 Extreme Gelato is just the ticket. It's the sciency ice creamery started by ex-accountant Min Chai, where ful-on flavours like chocolate caramel creme brulée and Ferrero Rocher are frozen on the spot using KitchenAids and liquid nitrogen. It's like Scienceworks for deliciousness.
There's a good whack of inspiration from New York's Momofuku Milk Bar here in the sweets. 'Crusty brownie pie' is a wedge of dark chocolate brownie with a crushed pretzel pie crust. Stick that with a side of Milo or malted milk soft serve and you've got yourself a party. They're doing one hell of a doughnut, filled with whipped Italian style custard zuppa Inglese – and you can trust them with your coffee order too.
It’s all about the super soft, almost stretchy blood orange sorbet at this Lygon Street favouite. It’s down the Brunswick end, so there are less tourists, but just as big of a queue. Go for the classics like chocolate –it’s so rich and dark it’s almost black – and the favourites like apple pie: sweet, toatsy and tasty as hell.
In true Italian style, you can have your scoop sandwiched in a brioche bun at Il Melograno. These guys make some of the best and freshest iced treats this city has seen, using fresh seasonal produce for their sorbets and granitas and using traditional Italian flavour combos for their gelati.
It's not just the store's proximity to the beach, or the fact that iceman Jock Main can faithfully translate any flavour into ice cream form, be it sweetcorn or beetroot, it's the fun. Main bounces around handing out free tasters of house-favourite Hokey Pokey (vanilla, dotted through with sticky honeycomb) to all, young and old.
Black and white check floors meet Red Bull flavour at Mark Mariotti’s old meets new school St Kilda gelateria. Prepare for a wait – the creamy Ferrero Rocher flavour has made this joint legendary, but we come for the fresh fruit sorbets. Load up on the tart apple, or passion fruit, and hit the beach. Quickly, this is fresh and melty.