WINTER

WINTER

By
Lisa Valmorbida
Contains
15 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781743793367

Anyone who doesn’t believe that winter and gelato go together should have come to the closing night of our temporary store. We’d decided to celebrate the success of the store and preview the opening of the permanent Pidapipó in a few months’ time by holding an event, like a closing night party. We called the event the Last Lick, organised a DJ and put it out there that we were giving away a free scoop to every customer. Luckily, I’d prepared enough to get us started. We usually make the gelato as we go but I thought because we were giving it away that we might be a bit busier than usual. We were. It was a freezing cold night in July and the line just kept getting longer and longer, stretching for blocks along Faraday Street, almost to Melbourne Uni.

It was an absolutely crazy night. I had to send Jamie down to the local supermarket a few times to bring back trolleys full of milk because we kept running out and at one stage I had the DJ helping me pour milk into the machine. It was unbelievable. I know that free gelato is a pretty good deal but all those people standing around outside in beanies, gloves, coats and scarves eating gelato showed me that it is something people want to snack on all year round. We might not be at the same level as Italy, where people go out for gelato like we go out for coffee, but we’re on the way.

Winter obviously limits the kind of fruit you can source but some of the produce you do get at this time of year – blood oranges, pears, kiwi fruit, lemons and so on – is as good as any of the flavours you can get in summer. And then there’s winter’s chocolate factor. Chocolate and gelato is a popular combination all year round but it’s a particular favourite when the weather gets colder.

The most popular flavour on our menu in winter, though, are the ones that feature Nutella. The idea of swirling Nutella through our gelato first came to me in the temporary store and kind of happened by accident. On this particular day I’d run out of certain ingredients and so I had to come up with something else to put on the menu. I had all this Nutella that was sitting around on the shelves, just for decoration really. We weren’t using it at the time. I was thinking about stracciatella, which is one of the most popular Italian flavours, like chocolate chip in fior di latte. And then I thought, ‘I wonder what would happen if I put Nutella instead of the chocolate chip in the fior di latte?’ I didn’t know if it would work but as soon as I tried it I knew it was great. Then I thought that it would be even better if we put the Nutella straight on top. We decided to try it that way and it straightaway became our most popular flavour. It was how our Nutella tap was born because from then on we had to have a constant flow of it in the shop.

Chocolate was also used in one of my favourite winter collaborations. I teamed up with Harry and Charlie, a pair of young chocolate-making brothers who work under the name Hunted + Gathered. They make their chocolate from scratch, from beans they source ethically. They don’t use cane sugar (they use coconut) or dairy (except when I wanted to do something with milk chocolate and so they agreed to custom make it for me) and their chocolate is all around 70 per cent cacao. It’s dark and intense. The winter range we did with them was called Death By Chocolate and included three different gelati: dark chocolate fondant with candied orange, malted milk chocolate with caramel, and a chocolate gelato with salted chocolate ganache.

Winter is when we do some of our most interesting collaborations. The Melbourne International Film Festival approached us to do gelato in little cups that would be sold at all the cinemas playing their films. I did two flavours for that, popcorn and caramel, and a zabaglione and biscotti. Another collaboration was with chef Pierre Roelofs, who is famous for his multi-course dessert evenings that he holds at different venues. He’d been on the list of people I’d always wanted to work with so when he reached out to us it was a great compliment. We brainstormed some ideas and decided we would recreate one of his dessert nights at Pidapipó, pairing his desserts with our gelato. It was a ticketed event with two seatings of 15 people a night.

I can’t imagine going without gelato during the winter. You just have to work out the right kind of gelato to eat. Believe me, there’s plenty of choice.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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