In the words of my birthday soulmate, “parting is such sweet sorrow”. And indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever ended the school year on such a sweet note.

Today was fabulous.

Breakfast from Filou’s Artisan Patissier, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia:


Almond croissant



The French employee that usually helps me isn’t here today! There’s a slew of new “summer” employees, so I’m pretty bummed. The croissants also got a lot smaller, but the quality is still unbeatable. And I eat one without feeling stuffed now! Best almond croissant ever.  I’m really going to miss this.

Snack at Rustica Sourdough Bakery, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia:


“Cronut” filled w/raspberry jam & custard

This bakery ran a contest for a new name for this awhile back, since D. Ansel apparently took the rights for “cronut”. But they’re still labelling it as a “cronut” so I guess “dossant” didn’t stick.

Anyway, I didn’t have to wake up at a ridiculous hour and stand in line, so that’s a plus. There’s several other places here that sell the cronut too.

What strikes me most about this cronut was that it wasn’t as sweet as the authentic one and that it resembled a puff pastry and croissant hybrid more than a donut and croissant hybrid. I remember Ansel’s as having a bit more of that crunchy, croissant-esque crust with inseparable (for the most part), doughy layers. These layers just flaked off – especially the top and bottom ones. For several minutes I thought I was going to have to eat this like a stack of chips, but the middle layers demanded some peeling. So if you imagine making a puff pastry tart, where you roll out the pastry, fold it over and over until it gets to the height you desire, cut out a chunk and fry it, this cronut would resemble that. I think they took the name too seriously, because a croissant’s flaky layers aren’t necessarily perfect. They kind of swirl together and some parts are peelable, where others are meshed. I will admit that I like this one better on the terms of its lightness and mild sweetness, but I still prefer the original overall. Without the filling, this would have been just thin slices of fried dough.

Lunch at Vegie Bar, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia:


“Vegie Special”: banana, honey & bee pollen soy smoothie (+cacao powder)

They had a chocolate soy milkshake on the menu, but since I wanted it super thick, it would have cost way too much. The waitress recommended this one and while I don’t usually add honey or bee pollen to my smoothies since I think natural fruit is sweet enough, I decided that I wasn’t going to pay for just blended bananas. Also added the cacao powder because I wanted it to be as chocolate milkshake-esque as possible.

Obviously, the texture was not milkshake-y at all, but it tasted great! Bit sweet, but complemented the burger well. I love me a burger and shake. I swear, the second almond milk based ice cream becomes ubiquitous, I’m becoming vegan.



Lentil burger on a chia seed bun w/lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cucumber, carrot & satay (served w/mixed greens)

Was deciding between this and vegan nachos, and decided I really wanted my “burger and shake”. This burger was amazing. I love vegan food! The flavours are always so potent and fresh. Another plus is that I got to experience the “Aussie burger”, which is basically a hamburger with a fried egg, bacon and beetroot. But since I don’t really like meat, and I don’t eat eggs or bacon (at least not straight up), ordering an Aussie burger would just be silly. So I’m super pleased that this burger came with beetroot, which just enhanced the satay sauce and lentil patty. This satay sauce is to die for. I don’t know what’s in it, but I literally wiped the plate clean. It’s tangy, yet savoury and there’s a bit of a spice kick. Combined with the sweet acidity of the beetroot and spiced lentil patty, my tastebuds were throwing a party. I definitely have to visit this place again.

Sugar Overdose at the Gelato World Tour – Oceania, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia:

Gelato-CollageJust to give you an idea of all the flavours. I tried all fifteen contestants (there’s supposed to be sixteen, but I couldn’t find the white peach one for some reason), but couldn’t take photos of every single one. And some of these photos repeat flavours. All the gelatos were similar in texture: very smooth and creamy with varying degrees of richness. For the most part, it really was just the flavours that set them apart from each other.

Contestants that I didn’t take photos of but sampled: (#5) Gusto Italiano, (#8) Pavlova Gelato, (#9) Pure Sicilian Pistachio, (#10) Mascarpone and Fig and (#11) Rusty Chocolate. I’ll comment on those flavours below. The contestant I couldn’t find and subsequently couldn’t try was (#14) White Peach from Pompei’s in Bondi Beach, Australia. There were also other vendors with various flavours, but I didn’t sample them.

(#5) Gusto Italiano from Brunetti Gelateria Artigianale in Carlton (Melbourne), Australia
 This is a “Sorrento walnut-based gelato variegated with candied figs and topped with dark chocolate pieces”. Since this store is pretty close to where I live, I wasn’t too keen on getting a cone from them but I did want to sample their entry. While I’m usually tactful in front of chefs/bakers when tasting their creation, I’m pretty sure my face contorted into something weird. There’s nothing wrong with this flavour but I don’t think I have the acquired taste for it. Initally, I thought there was alcohol in this but the people assured me that the walnut was just very strong. Very strong indeed. The chocolate and fig was quite subtle.


(#8) Pavlova Gelato from Frangipani Gelato in Sydney, Australia
This is a “meringue-based gelato with a passionfruit swirl mixed with meringue pieces”. The gelato artisan from this store, Diana, was so nice! She explained her flavour to me and her reasoning behind it. While I really liked the passionfruit, the gelato was too sweet overall for me. Meringue is already very sweet and this is meringue-based, with additional meringue pieces and added sugar. I can’t handle that much sugar. The passionfruit flavour was really strong though.


(#9) Pure Sicilian Pistachio from Gelato Amico in Stirling, Australia
 This is a “milk-based pure pistachio gelato with pistachio topping”. I wanted to ask this artisan, Tino, what the difference between Sicilian pistachios and non-Sicilian pistachios were, but he kept talking to this guy in Italian. Finally, Diana (the lady from the pavlova gelato place) just tried her best to explain and gave me a sample of his flavour. I’ve tried a pure Sicilian pistachio gelato before and with the exception of a few, I think all of them are extra rich. I don’t like extremely rich things and this was way up there on the scale of watery to suffocating richness (think Junior’s cheesecake from NYC). Flavour was great – super nutty with a roasted creaminess, but I cannot handle that much richness.


(#10) Mascarpone and Fig from Il Gelato in Perth, Australia
There’s no flavour description for this one, but it’s a mascarpone-based gelato with figs. I rather enjoyed this one because it’s relatively light compared to most of the others, but it was way too sweet. One spoonful and I knew I couldn’t handle a cone of this. Figs are pretty sweet already and I think the added sugar just enhanced the sweetness of the fig variegate and fresh figs. The flavour of this gelato wasn’t as bold as the others though and almost tasted more like a sweet cream with subtle fig undertones.


(#11) Rusty Chocolate from Art of Gelato in Carramar, Australia
This is a “rich, full-bodied chocolate gelato … made with red cocoa”. The guy serving this explained to me that the cocoa was alkalised to remove some of the bitterness without compromising the texture or flavour. He also wouldn’t let me leave after giving me the spoon and proceeded to ask me how it tasted, so I was held hostage and told him that I preferred my chocolate dark and bitter. Which I do, but while the chocolate flavour was strong and the gelato creamy with the right dosage of richness, the guy manning the booth creeped me out too much. On another note, the colour of this gelato really did have a reddish tint to it – think of a red velvet cake mix (because the cake becomes too red after the wet ingredients are added).


(#12) Pistachio Crunch from Cones Ice Cream Hawthorn in Hawthorn (Melbourne), Australia

#12: Pistachio Crunch from Cones Ice Cream Hawthorn in Hawthorn (Melbourne), Australia // This is a “smooth and creamy pistachio gelato made and layered with roasted pistachio nuts”. Note that these are Australian pistachios.

My favourite contestant! This was one of the first booths I sampled actually, because after I couldn’t get through to the Sicilian pistachio booth, I went over here. The artisan, Voula, was extremely nice and gave me a huge sample. I told her pistachio was one of my all-time favourite flavours and she asked me if I had tried the other one yet. After I said no, she told me to go try it in the case that I liked it better and off I went again. This is when the nice pavlova lady helped me and after I tried the incredibly rich Sicilian gelato, I booked it back to this non-Sicilian pistachio booth. These Australian pistachios don’t taste like the pistachios I’m used to from America, but I can’t aptly describe the difference. I really enjoyed the roasted flavour and loved the incorporated pistachio nuts. While I do enjoy creamy ice cream, I also love texture contrasts. Since these pistachio nuts were quite finely chopped, the flavour of each individual piece just burst into my mouth, enhancing the already boldly flavoured gelato. On top of the potent flavour, the texture was also on the lighter side so I could definitely have had a double scoop without complaints.

(#2) Mandorla Affogato from Cow and the Moon in Sydney, Australia


#2: Mandorla Affogato from Cow and the Moon in Sydney, Australia // This flavour “embodies a Madagascan vanilla bean gelato with roasted caramelised coffee almonds folded through with a coffee caramel sauce”, although I think that description contradicts with their “quest to recreate the ‘classic’ affogato on a cone”.

Coffee-flavoured gelato is one of my go-to flavours when nothing sounds particularly appealing because it’s pretty hard to mess up. I was quite excited when I saw this booth, but after sampling the flavour and getting a cone, I don’t think it’s aptly named.

The coffee flavour isn’t very prominent and for this to represent the gelateria’s mission, well, is a disappointment. It should have been named Nutty Caramel or something involving caramel; the caramel flavour was that bold. I might be moaning over the lack of coffee flavour, but one thing they got right was the crunchiness. The gelato wasn’t as saturated with almonds as the pistachio crunch with pistachios, but the pieces were huge. This provided a satisfying, caramel crunch throughout and helped ease my irritation over the subtle coffee flavour. Another perk of this was that the texture was light and almost on the whipped side.

(#4) The Italian Immigrant from Gelatissimo in Rydalmere, Australia (this store is part of a chain)


#4: The Italian Immigrant from Gelatissimo in Rydalmere, Australia (this store is part of a chain) // Its description reads, “the ‘Italian Immigrant’ flavour incorporates finely ground pure Australian Macadamia nuts, folded through with freshly baked Sicilian biscotti crumble, roasted macadamia pieces and lashings of salted caramelised milk ripple”.

Since this store is part of a chain, I wasn’t too keen on getting more than a sample from its booth. While I could feel the texture of the biscotti and taste the subtle sweetness of the salted caramelised milk, the main flavour here is macadamia nuts. It’s macadamia nut-based with macadamia nut pieces and these nuts have quite a strong flavour. I kind of wish they went with the traditional route and had a salted chocolate (or just plain chocolate) ripple instead. The texture contrast was great, with the crumbly biscuit pieces and crunchy nut chunks, but I wasn’t in the mood for macadamia at that moment. Perhaps if I was about to leave Australia, I would grab a scoop but for now, this chain is pretty big so I’m sure I could get it if I wanted some during my travels.

(#13) Dark Chocolate from Caffe e Gelato Milany in Brisbane, Australia

#13: Dark Chocolate from Caffe e Gelato Milany in Brisbane, Australia // This artisan’s dark chocolate gelato has a “smooth, creamy and dense texture and an intense bittersweet dark chocolate flavour. Very pure.”

The guy manning this booth saw me coming, winked and proceeded to give me a huge sample just as I got to his booth. Perfect timing and what a mind reader.

I enjoyed this dark chocolate a lot more than the one made from red cocoa. Very pure indeed – this intense chocolate flavour was almost like eating a bar of 70% dark chocolate.

It wasn’t dark enough to be much higher than that, but bitter enough. I would argue that it’s not very dense; this was one of the lightest gelatos out of all the contestants. If I had the stomach space, I probably would have gotten a cone of this. However, I usually go for the “exotic” flavours so dark chocolate got put on the back burner.

(#7) Banana with Dulce de Leche from 7 Apples Gelato in St. Kilda (Melbourne), Australia


#7: Banana with Dulce de Leche from 7 Apples Gelato in St. Kilda (Melbourne), Australia // This is a “banana gelato with dulce de leche cream variegato”.

Initially I thought I would hate this flavour because bananas are really sweet (no one uses green bananas) and dulce de leche is extremely sweet. But I was pleasantly surprised!

While sweet, this flavour wasn’t overbearingly so and the banana and dulce de leche were perfectly balanced. It was reminiscent of a bananas foster dessert without the rum part, just the sweet, creamy caramelised banana part. The texture of this was also very light and it was actually more like whipped frothed cream than gelato. Think of the steamed milk atop lattes instead of whipped cream though, because whipped cream is a lot denser than this. Perhaps this gelato wasn’t that light, but it was pretty light.

(#3) Tiramisu from Giapo in Auckland, New Zealand


#3: Tiramisu from Giapo in Auckland, New Zealand // This gelato features “ladyfingers dipped in coffee in a multilayered, textured, egg-coffee custard” and is “decorated with white chocolate curls and a golden truffle”.

One of my favourites! If I could have voted for two, this would have been my second choice. I first sampled this and later went back from an entire cup. The lady manning this book was so sweet and gracious; by the time I left the area, we probably exchanged at least twenty grins. Hurrah for fleeting moments of connection!

Anyway, I think this is the best tiramisu flavour I’ve had. Most tiramisu-flavoured gelatos are on the sweet to sickeningly sweet side; this isn’t. The bitterness of the coffee and chocolate were allowed to shine through and were enhanced by the sweetness. My favourite part is that there were actual ladyfinger chunks in here -sizeable chunks, mind you- and combined with the creamy gelato and rich custard-esque sauce, this would have been a great actual tiramisu. I liked that the toppings complemented and enhanced the flavour of the gelato, rather than masking it. Intense and bold. Apparently there was also gold dust in here as well…

Carpigiani Gelato University  Demonstration Sample


Sample of freshly banana gelato

The Carpigiani Gelato University is one of the sponsors of this event, and their demostration resulted in fresh banana gelato. Obviously it’s not done freezing yet, but the banana flavour was quite intense. To be honest, it kind of tasted like a creamier version of mashed up frozen banans (which I eat whenever I’m craving ice cream anyway).

(#15) Deconstructed Kaya Toast from N2 Extreme Gelato in Fitzroy (Melbourne), Australia


#15: Deconstructed Kaya Toast from N2 Extreme Gelato in Fitzroy (Melbourne), Australia // This is a “pandan kaya gelato, with swirls of kaya and a Malaysian cream cracker crunch”. If you don’t know what kaya is, it’s a “caramelised coconut egg jam, which is usually served on butter toast” and this flavour aims to present a “deconstructed form of this well loved Malaysian classic”.

As much as I wanted to try more, I’m allergic to coconut, especially desiccated coconut. I thought this just had coconut cream in it (the disguishing ingredients in each gelato flavour is posted), so I asked for a very teensy tiny sample but to my surprise, there’s a lot of disiccated coconut in here. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the little bumps – that’s the coconut. And I could feel my throat itching and starting to constrict from that tiny sample already.

So I’d like to say that this flavour was good, but I can’t comment much. It was very sweet and coconutty, which sounds about right from the description of kaya. I couldn’t taste much of the pandan, but with my coconut sensitivity, I probably wouldn’t have been able to detect it anyway. I did notice a lot of Asians getting a cup of this though, so that’s something. Another thing to note is that N2 Extreme Gelato is a liquid nitrogen-based gelato store; I’m not quite sure if this particular entry was frozen through liquid nitrogen or not. If it had been initially frozen by liquid nitrogen, it certainly wasn’t for the duration of the festival.

(#1) Cremino from Gelato MESSINA in Fitzroy (Melbourne), Australia


#1: Cremino from Gelato MESSINA in Fitzroy (Melbourne), Australia This is a “salted caramel gelato with house-made gianduia fudge, fresh meringue and crushed amaretti”.


It sounded really good, until I noticed that hazelnuts were in the list of ingredients. From my sample, I couldn’t taste the salted part of the salted caramel or the crushed amaretti pieces; it was very sweet and creamy. A bit too rich and creamy actually.)

(#16) Za’ -Za’s Revolution from Za’- Za’s Italian Cucina in Richmond (Melbourne), Australia


#16: Za’ -Za’s Revolution from Za’- Za’s Italian Cucina in Richmond (Melbourne), Australia // This gelato is “a classic representation of Italian delicacy with an Australian twist: ‘classic Italian hazelnut spread and pralines’… with buttery Northern Australian macadamia nut”.

The description is vivid, but it’s basically a deconstructed ferrero rocher. In fact, the display had halved ferrero rocher pieces decorating the tubs of gelato. The chocolate hazelnut spread flavour was so strong that I honestly couldn’t taste anything else. I’m also not sure if the minimal crunchy pieces I had were from hazelnut, pralines or macadamia nuts. Everything was masked underneath the cloak of the chocolate hazelnut spread.

(#12) Pistachio Crunch from Cones Ice Cream Hawthorn in Hawthorn (Melbourne), Australia

#12: Pistachio Crunch from Cones Ice Cream Hawthorn in Hawthorn (Melbourne), Australia



None of the flavours were particularly appealing to me, so I got another cone of the pistachio crunch. So good.

(#7) Banana with Dulce de Leche from 7 Apples Gelato in St. Kilda (Melbourne), Australia
(#6) Vulcano from Vulcano Gelato in Rye, Australia (there’s also a store in Moonee Ponds)


#7: Banana with Dulce de Leche from 7 Apples Gelato (left) in St. Kilda (Melbourne), Australia and #6: Vulcano from Vulcano Gelato in Rye, Australia (right, there’s also a store in Moonee Ponds) // The description for the banana dulce de leche gelato is above, but here’s the one for vulcano: “an eruption of layered flavours to blow your mind. Luscious, naughty and unpredictable. Vulcano will tantalise…tease..rumble and build you up to an orgasmic explosion! Gelato never tasted this hot! ‘Try it, you’ll love it!’”

I saw so many people chuckle over the description. And while it’s amusing, it really doesn’t describe the flavour at all. Here’s the list of distinguishing ingredients: milk, sugar, 99% toasted hazelnuts, 99.9% cocoa, cereals & chocolate glaze. When I saw the 99% toasted hazelnuts part, I kind of balked because I can’t eat hazelnuts in that concentration.

From my small sample, all I can say is that I was definitely not tantalised, teased, rumbled or built up. This tasted like what I would think a chocolate rice krispie bar would taste like if I covered it in chocolate sauce and left it in a bowl of cream. There was some crunch factor but the chocolate glaze was a bit overwhelming.

Hello Kitty: “con tanta latte, tanta yogurt e tanta fragole”


Hello Kitty: “con tanta latte, tanta yogurt e tanta fragole” // Roughly translated, this is “with a lot of milk, lot of yogurt and lots of strawberries”.

While this wasn’t one of the contestants, I really liked this flavour. Perhaps because it’s more of a frozen yogurt than gelato and provided a nice flavour contrast. The “gelato” was tart and creamy, embedded with little bits of strawberries and very refreshing. I would have gotten a cone of this, but felt that I needed to honour one of the fifteen contestants. Besides, as good as this frozen yogurt was, it still doesn’t compare to the ones back in America.

(#7)Banana with Dulce de Leche from 7 Apples Gelato in St. Kilda (Melbourne), Australia


#7: Banana with Dulce de Leche from 7 Apples Gelato in St. Kilda (Melbourne), Australia



Ended up getting a cone of the banana with dulce de leche and chatted with the guy manning the booth for a bit. He surprisingly remembered me from my previous visits!