Gelocchio is a new addition to Carlton’s popular Lygon Street. Opening in an already crowded market, in the middle of winter is a big ask for an ice cream parlour, but if anyone is going to make a success of it, these guys will.
Recently returning to Melbourne after 5 years setting up a successful shop in Cairns (don’t worry, Gelocchio Cairns is still up and running), the Italian family behind Gelocchio Melbourne bring a lot to the table. All the ice cream is all natural and home made – if you don’t believe them (or me) you can take a look for yourself through the little window into their kitchen at the back. Hang around long enough and you’ll see Valeria pottering around making her ice creams or cakes. She greeted us with hands full of pizza dough, and while she did manage a little chat, she mostly left us in the careful hands of her sons who proudly explain “mum’s a pastry chef”. The cabinet at the front of the store displays some of her creations and as well as great ice cream they do cakes to order too.
Authenticity is the theme that runs through this store. It’s a real family business and they pride themselves in being as genuine as possible. Coming from Cairns where tropical fruit is abundant – they talk of long and careful planning stages to find the perfect fruits for their passion fruit and mango ice cream, of using authentic Italian ingredients for their nut flavoured ice creams, as nothing else would do, and local Australian produce for everything else. There’s real care taken to ensure that they are pleased with everything they present to a customer, if they aren’t happy with an ice cream you won’t get to taste it.
The fit out of the store is just gorgeous (they did most of it themselves too), from the beautiful Pinocchio mural against one wall, to the mish-mash of furniture and the knickknacks dotted around on high shelves which the family have personally collected over time. The aforementioned window, where you can peak through to the small, brightly lit kitchen is a lovely touch. There’s a real openness about this place, which you only get with these true family businesses.
We tried so many flavours and eventually opting for the blood orange and lemon + basil flavours was such a hard decision. I liked the softness of the basil flavour in the lemon and basil, it worked very well with the bitter lemon. I’ve tried basil ice cream before and really haven’t been a fan, but Gelocchio managed to get the balance just right. I chose the blood orange as it’s a personal favourite flavour of mine and it worked well with the lemon and basil. Mr Boring went for salted caramel (his go to ice cream flavour) and the panna cotta. The orange panna cotta flavour was a real highlight for me, and Gelocchio do a great job of having lots of flavour through their ice creams, but without it becoming intense. This ice cream was smooth, and I really enjoyed the creamy orange flavour.
There are far too many flavours to mention, but I’ll just try to skim a few more highlights so I cover all your bases. If you want something indulgent, the chocolate (pictured) is divine, with a rich flavour, or the Ferrero Rocher will take you back to the piazzas and fountains of Italy in a split second. The tropical mango or passion fruit flavours are enough to brighten up any winter’s day and have you wishing for the beaches of Queensland! They are fruity and fresh. And if you want something very Melbourne and on trend, give their creamy Turkish Delight flavour a try, you won’t be disappointed. They have gluten free cones too.
In addition to ice creams, sorbets, and the cakes I’ve already mentioned there’s coffee – which was pretty great for an ice cream parlour, and served in the the cutest cups – a range of ice lollies, which would cater perfectly to the more health conscious customer and even treats for your dog. They really have gone the extra mile to ensure they are catering for as many people as possible.
This place get 5 out of 5 for me on a lot of fronts: the quality of their produce, their authenticity and their effort. It’s beautiful and welcoming. It will be fabulous to sit out the front of in summer, but it the more recent weeks, it’s bright, quirky interior and gorgeous ice cream flavours are more than enough to make you forget about the chilly winter outside. I know Lygon Street can sometimes feel like a lottery, with so many places trying to capitalise on the area’s notoriety for great Italian food, but popping in here for an ice cream is hitting the jackpot.