I have literally spent weeks fantasising about this visit. It got so out of hand that I travelled by light-rail to its other store at The Star, in Pyrmont (not realising at the time that the Darlinghurst store was actually closer) two weeks ago, just to take the edge off my cravings. I had a scoop of the delicious 'Apple Pie' gelato, and that in combination with three macarons from Adriano Zumbo a few stores down sent me straight into a sugar coma. Not an entirely unpleasant way to round off the working week.
However, my brief encounter with the "best gelato in Australia" at The Star only intensified my desire to visit the flagship store. It was mostly borne out of a sense of curiosity over the 'Creative Department (Laboratorio and Patisserie)' which recently opened next to its main store at the Darlinghurst location. From what I'd seen on other people's blogs, as well as on Messina's own website, the Laboratorio sells an amazing array of gelato-based cakes, in single-serves or as big cakes which will feed 14-16 people.
One of the big cakes: 'Dr Evil's Magic Mushroom'
My jaw dropped when I saw the 'Dr Evil's Magic Mushroom'. Or rather, a whole troop of them (yes, "troop" is the collective noun for mushrooms!). Fingers-crossed that Messina keeps making them until the end of this year, because I cannot think of a cake I want more for my birthday!
Some more large cakes
All of the large cakes looked fantastic.
And still some more.
As did the small cakes.
The small mushroom cakes are called 'Mini Me', lol xD
It was very cool (pun intended!) that some of the small cakes were being made on counters right next to the entrance to the lab. My friend P., who'd met up with me for an ice cream date, and I watched the making of the 'Samurai' for a while, before proceeding to the main store for some gelato!
The 'Samurai', which to me looks like an
upside-down Magnum that's been attacked by Gloomy Bear
We did originally have plan to sample at least one of the small cakes, and P. in particular was looking forward to trying the 'Darlo Bar', which is an ice cream sandwich consisting of peanut butter gelato and spiced gingerbread, amongst other things. However, I really wanted to try some of the gelato flavours which were on the 'Specials' board that day. P. was nice enough to split a 'Misto' with me - a sampler or tasting plate of 5 gelato flavours, if you will.
As you can probably imagine, we had a very hard time picking only 5 flavours. Everything sounded so good!
But choose we did...there was the '1985', which was from the 'Specials' board. It's a coconut gelato, with huge shards of chocolate and cherry jam stirred in. It does look like a lot of jam, but it wasn't overly sweet. I really liked this one! The gelato tasted strongly of coconut, and I think I could taste bits of desiccated coconut in there.
The 'Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich', also from the 'Specials' board, had real bits of bread in it! Well, "vanilla soaked brioche', to be specific :D The gelato was peanut butter flavoured, and the raspberry jam was swirled in. I love my peanut butter, so I loved this flavour. An even stronger peanut butter flavour would have been even better.
'Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich' - can you see the bread?
The 'Boss's Wife', consisting of "coffee and hazelnut gelato with hazelnut and white chocolate praline", was my favourite. There's no mistaking that this gelato had COFFEE in it - I got a caffeine kick out of it, and I usually take my coffee strong and black. I admit to being guilty of deliberately finding the pieces of praline, and eating them while my friend P. was preoccupied with the other flavours.
'Boss's Wife' - I hope the actual allusion is a lot more innocent than it sounds ;D
Talking about my friend P.; her favourite flavour was the 'Saffron with Pistachio & Orange Cake', which was also the last 'Specials' flavour that we ordered. No surprise there, as she's a major fan of the pistachio and orange cake that Black Star Pastry in Newtown does. I was happy to let her have her way with it since I was busy prying the praline pieces out of the coffee gelato anyway.
'Saffron with Pistachio & Orange Cake'
And last but not least - the 'Poached Figs in Marsala' was loaded with dried figs, and my friend and I both enjoyed it.
'Poached Figs in Marsala'
The scoops weren't huge, but we had plans to have dinner after our gelato date so we agreed to leave the cakes to another day. And with flavours being changed on a weekly basis, there's no doubt that I will be back for many more visits in the future!
Gelato Messina - Darlinghurst Store/The Creative Department (Laboratorio & Patisserie)
241-243 Victoria Street,
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Phone: (02) 8354 1223