I have been wanting to do the Gelato Messina class for a while. The classes are released a couple of times per year and sell out within half an hour so you have to be lucky!
I had booked a class last year and then realised I would be in Europe when it was on and had to let someone else take my place. Suffice to say I was happy to secure a spot when the new classes were released late last year. The class was even more exciting when it finally rolled around, because it was a chance to break the very rigid 30 Day Shred plan I am on, and indulge in both sugar and dairy!
I arrived at the Gelato Messina store in Darlinghurst early in the morning, ready for a coffee and a quick brief before a bus trip to the new factory. The staff clearly love what they do. Modestly describing themselves as “just a bunch of guys who make gelato” their passion is plain to see. Alex was the particular host for our class and his enthusiasm was infectious. You could tell this was a man who genuinely enjoyed his job and was proud of what they have achieved. Rightly so.
Now onto the eating.
While Alex was at the front of the class demonstrating how to make tiramisu and chocolate gelatos and lychee sorbet, we were treated to a degustation menu comprised of some dishes specially created for us.
O.M.G. Amazeballs. I discovered I do like fennel seeds (if candied they go very well with apple), and caramel mandarin gelato is a surprising wonderful taste sensation.
You get the chance to ask as many questions as you like during the class, so I used this as an opportunity to beg for the musk to be returned, and also to suggest toffee apple as a flavour would be pretty delicious!
Next up one of the other chefs comes out and demonstrates how to make one of their very cute mushroom cakes. And then we get to eat it. It was a chocolate gelato so this wasn’t my favourite dish of the day but the skill which goes into making them is pretty immense and something I would like to attempt. All of the recipes for the different elements are adjusted slightly for cake making as the gelato itself needs a separate structure. Things like sugar levels can impact melting speed (and is one reason gelato melts faster than ice cream) so there is quite a science behind creating such complex and intricately decorated products, one which ensures that every cake which is distributed has been quality controlled and checked by the production team. The work which goes into cataloguing all ingredients and hands used on any particular cake is quite impressive, and an insight into their success (and price).
Once the cake was demolished it was back to Darlinghurst to sample as many of the different flavours as we could. I am proud to say I gave it a red hot go and discovered that:
- The salted coconut and mango is delicious!
- As I suspected, I did not like the peanut butter flavour.
- Italian nougat is still my absolute favourite of the everyday* flavours.
- The chocolate sorbet was quite yummy too and I would like to try it using cacao – wanky foodster it up a bit ;-p.
Other things I took away from the day:
- I wish I had known when I was 17 that my passion for science and food would have translated perfectly into a food science degree.
- The Thermomix is pretty cool. I had kind of always looked at them as cheating. A single machine that does everything to a timer defeats the purpose of cooking for me, and takes away some of the skill. Using one for gelato making would be so much easier than trying to maintain a consistent temperature for half an hour on a stove top (which gives you an appreciation for how ice cream was made before the invention of whiz bang appliances). Although the new KitchenAid multi cooker also has a heat and time function so if KitchenAid would hurry up and bring it to Australia…
- In addition to my one day dream home having enough space for a composting machine, chicken coup, flow hive, vege garden, huge double oven kitchen and wine fridge, it also needs to fit a blast chiller.
The great news is you get a copy of the Gelato Messina cook book so now the hard part is trying to decide which flavours to make first!
* Everyday meaning always available, not in any way mundane.