Since Gelato Messina’s inception in Sydney’s Darlinghurst in 2002, there has been one clear goal: to set the benchmark for gelato in Australia. To do that, the team at Gelato Messina does not compromise on quality and their product is made fresh on the premises daily, offering a diverse range of over 40 flavours.
From the meticulous roasting and endless grind of pistachios, to the baking of their own apple pies and brownies, absolutely everything is made lovingly in house by a little team of mad professors. By using real ingredients, they achieve full bodied texture and flavour in all their recipes, earning them a loyal following (and huge lines out the door every night!).
Now, with the release of their first cookbook, owner Nick Palumbo is sharing his famous gelato recipes and methods with home cooks. SHESAID chatted with Nick about his tips for making perfect gelato at home, how to judge a good gelato and his favourite gelato flavours of all time.
What are your best tips for making gelato at home?
You need to ensure that you have a double boiler as heating milk in a pan is not a good idea as it can catch and burn.
Also, can’t stress enough how important it is to chill down your mix as quickly as possible to avoid bacterial growth. Best to use an ice bath and then place the mix in the freezer to chill down the mix to 4C.
Before churning, best to place the gelato mix in the freezer for 30 min to chill it to under 4 C and at the same time, turn on the ice cream machine 15 minutes before you put the mix in. this will ensure you cut the churn time so that you get a better quality gelato with less chance of large ice crystals forming.
Your salted caramel and white chocolate gelato is your most popular gelato – what makes it so good?
It has to be the offset between the sweetness of the caramel with the added salt crystals.
How do you judge a good gelato?
Taste and then texture. It should not be grainy but velvety. Structure is also important, it should not be sloppy and should not be hard and chalky.
Finally, temperature perception on the pallet. It should not give you too cold a sensation.
What are your all-time favourite gelato flavours?
It has to be tiramisu because it combines all the good stuff: egg yolk, vanilla bean, Marsala wine, coffee, savoiardi biscuits and cocoa
Second, a straight forward, extremely dark spiced chocolate gelato.
And in summer, mango sorbet and coconut pandan combo.
What are your favourite gelato shops around the world?
Berthillon in Paris.
What ingredients are you looking forward to cooking with this summer?
Blood plums, white nectarines and apricots…I just wish they were available all year round!
What do you cook for yourself when the shop closes?
Pasta, then pasta and then when in doubt, pasta.
My favourite at the moment is pasta with pistachio. I came across this dish when I went to Bronte in Sicily to buy pistachios for our pistachio gelato. The owners of the pistachio plantation made it for me – here’s the recipe:
Sauté onions and anchovies in olive oil, then blend your pistachios to a course paste, fold through and then smash it with Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil.
Gelato Messina, by Nick Palumbo. Hardie Grant Books, RRP $39.95