The night was still young and a lot of us Filipino ADEs were itching to check out the local night life. Some of us had walked down the street to check out Chapel Street, a street filled with bars and everything else between (I didn’t go). One of our companions, Joe, suggested we head over to Fitzroy Street and try out Gelato Messina, in his own words “the best gelato I’ve tasted outside of Italy”. From a foodie’s perspective and that statement coming from someone well-traveled, it was a no-brainer for us.
We packed ourselves into a taxi and took a 20 minute ride to another part of Melbourne. By this hour the city was already winding down for the day. When we got to Fitzroy, it was even more evident, a lot of cafes and restaurants were in the process of closing or were already closed for the night. Gelato Messina on the other hand was bursting with activity!
It was odd for me to see a gelateria bursting and bustling with activity, back here, these types of places are usually void of anyone let alone see at least groups of people jostling their way just to order scoops of gelato. It was quite otherworldly for me and something totally new.
Inside Messina, I couldn’t see hide nor hair of the counter, there was just a lot of people crowding around the counter. The brief moments of space gave me time to peek at some of the flavors they were offering: coconut something, some fruity sorbet there, traditional chocolates, vanillas, and everything else between. The prices weren’t so bad, a scoop costs $4.8 (Php. 193), 2 scoops $6.8 (Php. 274), and 3 scoops $8.8 (Php. 354).
I ordered two scoops of gelato: white chocolate hazelnut and pistachio ($6.8) and made my way out of the steadily heavy crowd and into the restaurant’s al fresco area (the sidewalk). This was a bad idea, the weather was an unbelievable 4-6°, and I was about to take my first bite at the best gelato outside of Rome. What came after was probably something better than all of the other gelato I’ve ever had, and believe me that the Philippines has such a limited option. The pistachio was absolutely bursting with flavor, it was nutty and I distinctly remember feeling bits and pieces of it. The chocolate was creamy and the hazelnut was altogether different. Growing up with Nutella, I’ve grown accustomed to associating hazelnut with the brand’s flavor, but tasting Messina’s I was trying to make heads or tails of this distinct flavor. I can’t say it was bad and I also couldn’t say it was good, it was just different and I wasn’t used to it.
After wolfing down my entire gelato while freezing my butt off, I would have to say that it was a good gelateria. I can’t affirm or deny whether it is the best outside of Rome/Italy, but I can say that its uniqueness and difference from the ones I’ve had here is way better. There was none of the sweet sore throat or feeling dehydrated after, everything went down smoothly.