Walk by Gelato Messina’s Braddon store and you’ll likely see a line out the door, and for good reason. Canberrans have fallen in love with the 40-plus freshly churned unique gelato flavours, so much so that Gelato Messina has confidently opened a second store in the capital, adding to the already popular foodie hub at Eyre St Market in Kingston.
The first Messina store opened in 2002 in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Nick Palumbo is the man who started the empire, but his brother Danny joined him and took over the front of house a few years after the first shop opened. This left Nick to focus on the thing he was really good at, making gelato.
The name Messina comes from Nick and Danny’s Sicilian heritage and the birth city of their parents – Messina in Sicily, Italy. There are now more than 19 Gelato Messina stores across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
One thing I love about Gelato Messina (apart from their amazing gelato – give me super dulce de leche every day) is that they have their own farms. Over the years, they’ve acquired a hazelnut farm in Seymour, Victoria, a strawberry farm in Dural, NSW, and a dairy farm in Numurkah, Victoria. So the hazelnuts, strawberries and milk they use in their gelato come straight from their farms. If that isn’t quality control, I don’t know what is.
Have you ever wondered how they make such creamy gelato?
Well, they have more than 450 jersey cows on their dairy farm and they produce their own milk which contains close to 6 per cent cream (milk fat). It’s also high in protein, resulting in a very creamy, high-quality gelato.
Opening in late April, the Kingston store has a mid-century/Palm Springs look, and unlike the Braddon store where indoor seating is limited, the Kingston store looks like it has more room to sit and enjoy. The seating is split between semi-private indoor curved booths and outdoor tables. The interior features custom-built pozzetti cabinets from Italy, set within a bespoke brick bench running across the whole shop.
It’s open and spacious, and it’s already popular (we arrived at 5:00 pm on a Wednesday and it was buzzing).
In store, you’ll find a huge selection of standard gelato and sorbet flavours that are churned on site every day, with five weekly specials that constantly change.
We’re told the pistachio praline is the most popular flavour in Canberra. Chocolate fondant, salted caramel and white chocolate, and salted coconut and mango salsa are also making their mark.
If you’re after more than gelato, you can get your hands on their range of cakes, shakes and you can even grab litre bottles of Messina Jersey Milk fresh from their farm in Victoria. They also have a selection of dessert spreads, toppings and custom printed merchandise.
We walk out with a tub of gelato to satisfy our Messina cravings for the next week … if we can make it last that long.
Gelato Messina is located at Shop 10, 38 Eyre St, Kingston and is open from midday to 10:30 pm Sunday to Thursday, and midday to 11 pm on Friday and Saturday.