We don’t know about you, but dinner ain’t dinner for us without dessert. Sometimes it’s a bowl of silky, melting gelato, or it could be a maple syrup-drenched pudding or a good old fashioned passionfruit pav. Damn it, sometimes it’s an ornate plate of food made to look just like the brittle twigs on the forest floor (that’s when we’ve got the coin to get into Sepia). Regardless, it’s the traditional way to finish a meal, and we intend to keep up that tradition for as long as our waistbands can take it.
Fettucine amatriciana might be the hot ticket out back, but out the front of this perennially popular red sauce joint crowds clamour for cones piled high with gelato. You won’t find apple pie or black sesame on the menu here. They keep things strictly traditional on the flavour front with the likes of zabaglione, tiramisu, panna cotta, and pistachio alongside chocolate, lemon, and a smashing coffee offering.
When it comes to a little late night dessert in the city you can’t look past the banana fritters at Chat Thai. Deep fried in a dense, sesame seed laden batter enveloping sweet, syrupy hot fruit, it’s just like a holiday in Queensland without the vanilla ice cream. Or order a bowl of sweet little glutinous rice balls instead. There’s also something of a following for their waffles.
We were devastated by the closing of Gelateria De Luca in 2009, but now the third generation of De Luca gelatieris have relaunched the family business, opening a new gelateria in Five Dock where you can get granita with Nutella, gelato burgers, sweet arancini and as much of their rose petal, balsamic panna cotta, cinnamon and zabaglione frozen confections as you can eat.
The crisp crepe cones stuffed with every savoury topping you can think of are a lot of fun at this '50s-themed diner, but they're just an excuse for dessert. Here that means a chocolate thickshake topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry, and a hot fudge sundae that will see you flying on a sugar high for the rest of the evening.
When you think about it, breakfast is the best time for Hungarian chimney cakes – golden brown cylinders of sugar-crusted pastry – because then you have the whole day to work it off. This Eastern European baked-goods emporium (which also has outposts in Surry Hills and Crows Nest) sells its slab cakes by weight so you can make your own dessert degustation and try a little of everything.
Meet the pouding chômeur. The French Canadian dessert, which roughly translates as ‘unemployment pudding’, is basically refrigerated cake batter baked in a foil pie tin with maple syrup, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and finished with a sprig of mint. The syrup cooks down into a semi-firm toffee, and gives the cake bits a sweet crust. Oh, to eat anything this nice when you’re out of work in Sydney.
The pizza isn't the only thing that pulls crowds here. The gelato is just as – if not more – exciting. Pistachio is sweet, nutty and lurid green while hazelnut is a house favourite. But if you really want sweet on sweet, try ordering an affogato (traditionally a shot of coffee over a scoop of gelato) with stracciatella (choc chip gelato) and replacing the coffee with hot chocolate. It's not on the menu but they're happy to make it for you if you can deal with the choc-attack.
Need a little more sweetness in your life?
Ever since Messina opened back in 2002, Sydney has been head over heals in love with gelato. Which we always should have been, really, given that we are a seaside city that’s also stinking-hot half of the year – because what do beaches and heat equal? That’s right: ice cream. There are a thousand places to get it – from the gummy, overly saccharine crap, to smooth, silky excellence. Rest assured, though, that these ten are all in the latter category. Here are our top ten favourite gelaterias in Sydney right now.