When you decide that the gruelling hours of a professional architecture career are not for you, it pays to have a good friend who is also a champion gelato maker from Ciacco Lab in Milan. It means you can spend five months learning from the best before returning to Sydney to open your own sustainable gelato shop in Newtown.
This is how things played out for Matteo Pochintesta. The 30-year-old Italian architect has opened his first gelato shop, Mapo, on the north end of King Street, and behind the sunshine yellow door things are decidedly green. Of course, there’s nothing more sustainable than a cone, the packaging that is also a tasty snack, but if you like your ice cream in a cup, you’ll be glad to know the shop uses compostable containers. Your tasters come on wooden sticks or compostable spoons, and even your takeaway tubs will soon be available in recyclable containers.
Seven of the chrome pots in the imported Pozzetti freezer chest hold the core range: two different chocolates, fior di latte, matcha, a properly salty caramel, hazelnut and coffee. The dairy-based gelati are made with Barambah organic milk, plus fair trade chocolate and coffee. The fruit flavours change with the seasons, but where they can the gelato makers are sourcing organic, local fruit for the watermelon and mint, Packham pear, or lemon and basil.
As the shop is owned by someone trained in the particulars of Italian ice cream traditions, you might be surprised to discover that about half the menu is vegan-friendly, including the pistachio and a chocolate sorbet made with 75 per cent cocoa chocolate
Pochintesta could have opted for milk alternatives in his dairy-free ice creams, but he is a purist when it comes to flavour – nothing but water, sugar and minimum 60 per cent fruit goes into the sorbets, and the exceptional pistachio is as clear an expression of the nut’s flavour as you’ll find anywhere.
If you prefer your sweet treats in liquid formats, you can get Mapo’s gelato in shakes and as an affogato. Dessert has never been so clean, green and inclusive.