Manly Wharf’s Gelatissimo

Apologies on the lack of posting lately. Between the engagement, work, and travel, my ice-cream writing has taken a back seat. But don’t you worry… I’ve still been eating my fair share of it!

Now, where were we? Oh yes… Australia.

As you know from the last post, the fiancé (K) and I traveled to Australia a few weeks ago. We spent most of our time in Melbourne, where my sister is studying abroad and my dad’s side of the family lives. Melbourne is a gorgeous city – lots of greenery, beautiful architecture, and a peaceful river running through downtown. But if I were to ever move to Australia, I’d probably choose to live in Sydney. Not only is it the biggest city in the country, but Sydney is one of the nicest metropolises I’ve ever seen. It has the intense energy of New York City, the cleanliness of Singapore, and the urban beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Best of all, K shares my fascination with Sydney and is more than happy to visit whenever we’re in Australia. So before we headed back to the States, K and I spent an action-packed 24 hours in Sydney.

While most of my family members live in Melbourne, a few have migrated to Sydney over the years. My dad’s dearest cousin married a Sydney businessman and raised four awesome boys in the area. She and three of her sons now live in the town of Manly, a quaint beach town in Sydney’s North Beaches. K and I made plans to meet her and one of her sons for dinner in Manly. Traveling to Manly Beach involves a 30-minute ferry ride from Sydney’s main ferry terminal – and this has to be one of the coolest ferry rides ever! Sydney’s ferry terminal is located right near the Sydney Opera House, and you get awesome views of the stunning building from the water!

After a fun (and choppy!) ride across the Harbor, the ferry arrives at Manly Wharf. We had an hour to kill before dinner, so K and I stopped at a great German beer garden before walking along Manly Beach. When dinnertime rolled around, we walked for ten minutes or so before spotting the Thai restaurant my cousin had chosen.

We had a great time catching up with family and sharing delicious Thai curries. But it was getting late, so K and I walked back to Manly Wharf to catch a ferry back to Sydney. The ferry terminal was pretty quiet on a Thursday evening after rush hour, but many of the food and magazine vendors were still open. I had spotted a gelato kiosk on our way in earlier, and I was happy to see it was still open at 9pm!

Gelatissimo in situated right in the center of the ferry terminal building. While surveying their extensive gelato offerings, I suddenly realized that I had an appetite for dessert ;). Italian-based Gelatissimo is an international chain, with locations in Italy, Malaysia, Kuwait, Singapore, the Philippines, and Australia. Gelatissimo serves all the quintessential flavors you’d find in an Italian gelateria, such as Pistachio, Amarena (dark cherry), Panna Cotta, Tiramisu, and Bacio (chocolate-hazelnut). But tonight, I was drawn to several unusual flavors. The Ricotta, Pear & Walnut sounded great… if you like ricotta cheese (which I don’t). The colorful Passion-Fruit sorbet looked quite tempting. But in the end, I decided on two flavors I’d never seen before: Saffron Risotto and Carmelised Fig. While living abroad in Spain, I developed an appreciation for saffron’s deep and slightly-bitter flavor. And figs are one of my favorite “grown-up” foods. I loathed Fig Newtons as a kid (too healthy-tasting for dessert), but now you’ll catch find me eating Trader Joe’s Fig Butter by the spoonful.

 I wasn’t sure whether the two flavors would clash, but I took a chance and ordered a two-scoop cup.

The verdict? So disappointing. I had such high expectations for these flavors, but I was sadly unimpressed by both. Had you not told me what I was eating, I wouldn’t have known there was any saffron or figs in this gelato. The Saffron Risotto was sweet but bland, and the texture was disappointing. Ever since that amazing tapioca gelato in Rio de Janeiro, I’ve been on the hunt for texture-intense flavors. Risotto gelato is a great idea, but it was poorly executed at Gelatissimo. There were a mere few grains of rice in my entire scoop. Likewise, the Carmelised Fig flavor was underwhelming and lacked the crunch of fig seeds. To top everything off, Gelatissimo is quite pricey (almost $7 for a pretty small cup). But don’t worry; this ice-cream disappointment didn’t ruin my night. The ferry ride back to Sydney with its stunning views was enough to put a smile back on my face 🙂

The Stats:
Gelatissimo
Manly Wharf Shopping Centre, Kiosk 2
Manly, New South Wales 2095
Australia
http://www.gelatissimo.com.au