Tucked away from the busiest intersection in the Chatswood shopping district there is a little gelateria that opened in December 2013. The owners; Luca Zanini and Davide Barbisan, friends who trained as chefs together in Italy, are dedicated to creating ‘gelato as it was meant to be’. Their store, Gelateria Gondola, is a joint project that allows them to share their passion for this distinctively Italian dessert with their customers.
The sea green-blue storefront, Venetian masks, oar and gondolier hat displays evoke scenes from the famous canal city, home to the store’s namesake. Inside, the tiny store has just enough room for customers to gaze on the artist’s pallet of flavours on display. There are a few stools tucked along the wall opposite the counter if you do want to sit and savour; however, on the weekends it can get quite cosy. Lines out the door are not unusual with dinners from local eateries looking for something sweet to finish the evening. Staff attired in the stripped shirt and necktie of a gondolier welcome visitors to the counter. Should you visit in the morning; Luca will be at hand to answer questions about the product and serve your cup or cone, where as Davide is on duty in the evenings.
Commitment to fresh ingredients and flavours sees the gelato made daily in small batches. Artists at heart; Zanini and Barbisan chose to import a Cattabriga Vertical Gelato Maker from Italy to use in the store. While some gelato chefs prefer the efficiencies of horizontal machines, here their drive to perfect the art of gelato making has seen Gelateria Gondola rely on more traditional methods of production. Although the vertical gelato machine demands the supervision of a trained eye, it also allows the gelato maker more control over the crafting of their product. The gelato is churned in the refrigerated bowl batch-by-batch; frozen and aerated concurrently to produce a smooth, densely textured gelato.
The gelato is made in small batches and the gelatiere are continually innovating, developing new recipes to supplement the classics. About half the offering are sorbets, many of which are fruit based. Made with a minimum of 40% fruit, these seasonal flavours speak distinctively of their source. I chose a scoop of peach sorbet, soft and summer-sweet, delicately fragrant. Another standout is the Chocolate sorbet; egg and dairy free, the depth of flavour and creamy texture are unexpected. Gelateria Gondola also has a range of milk-based gelatos. The subtle unflavoured base is sold as Fior di Jersey; Madagascan vanilla is another deceptively simple choice. Gelateria Gondola sources the hazelnuts and pistachios used in their nut-based varieties from Piedmont and Bronte respectively. The high quality of nut produced in these ‘protected designation of origin’ areas translates directly into richly flavoured gelato. Another traditional Italian flavour; Stracciatella Amarene, sees the simplicity of the milk base augmented with melted Belgium 70% chocolate poured into the gelato during churning. The piquancy of amarena cherry couli makes it an ideal garnish. Alongside the luxurious dessert-inspired Panna Cotta Caramello Mandorle and Banana Nutella sit the more exotic Black Sesame & Walnuts and Lychee & Cacao; nods to the high Asian population of the area. Even with two ‘tastes’ to help you choose a scoop, making such a delicious decision is fraught! Perhaps, you’ll need two or three scoops instead or maybe even a tub to take home (available in 500mL and 1000mL sizes).
Shop 2/77 Archer Street
8:30am – 10:30pm Monday to Sunday
(excluding some Public Holidays)
1 scoop $5
2 scoops $7.50
3 scoops $10
500mL tub $17
1000mL tub $27
Tea and coffee $3.00 (takeaway) or $3.50 (‘drink’ in)
On par with other ice cream and gelato shops in Chatswood and with such regard for quality ingredients and beautiful flavour, your money is well spent.
It would be difficult to go wrong however the following cover a range of different flavours and are all very good;
Arancia Rossa (Blood Orange) sorbet
Banana Nutella gelato
Panna Cotta Caramello Mandorle gelato