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Published March 10th 2015
The Ape Van cometh
What does gelato have to do with an ape? Stay with me here. First, gelato...
I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream… but not just any ice cream. Screamingly good icy treats are authentically artisan and come from gelAperia in Healesville. Heaven on a stick, minus the stick.
Authentically crafted for full natural flavour, the gelato and sorbetto made by gelAperia are divine.
It's a return to the ice age with a proliferation of dedicated ice creameries and gelaterias appearing in the city and its nearby day-trip destinations. Only a handful can claim true brilliance. GelAperia is stellar in this regard. The ice cream is made on the premises and this mysterious process may be viewed through a window in the Green Street gelateria (just off the main street). I visited with a friend and four children, and once our cups and cones were in front of us – silence. Maybe just a few "Mmmm" sounds of extreme surprise and satisfaction. We even understood the kids' need to lick the cups clean.
Perfect enjoyed outside all year, gelato always satisfies.
The gelato menu is a core of classic flavours plus a seasonal response to available produce, locally sourced when possible. Fresh, fresh, fresh is the difference and mouthfuls were alive with the source of the flavour. I tried peach and plum "sorbetto" with white chocolate gelato and "fior di latte" cream gelato. Each of those clear flavours are there with the icy tradition supporting their fullness. Thanks to tasting spoons, I nicked little samples from my children too. "Cioccolato" dark chocolate gelato, "limone" lemon and "arancia" orange "sorbetto" were deeply rewarding with a good balance of sweetness. My friend chose "pistacchio" and I was offered a taste from the freezer cabinet when my nostalgic awe for this flavour was noticed. "Mio Dio!" I'll have what she's having, next time. We also loved "tiramisu", strawberry and "bacio". See the menu on the website here.
With one wheel at the front and two wheels at the back, the Piaggio Ape is an iconic Italian essential for trading through the narrow streets of ancient towns.
Now, Ape. We all know the fame of the Italian Vespa scooter, cute and retro and revived over this century as a cool commuter vehicle by maker Piaggio. In Italian "vespa" means wasp and the word for bee is "ape". Ape is the name Piaggio gave to their commercial scooter equivalent with two wheels at the back for stability when carrying a load. Eventually the design enclosed the front for the rider and provided the perfect means for transporting goods through the narrow streets of ancient Italian towns. As the name suggests, gelAperia plans to combine the ingenuity of the Ape with their own gelato, taking their product to the streets for sale in the iconic Italian van.
GelAperia staff are knowledgeable in the art of gelato and will help with taste samples.
An accomplished range of Italian style coffees and a selection of small cakes and treats are also available from gelAperia, but I promise you really do need to have something from the gelato range. When in Rome, and even in Healesville, do as the Romans do. "La dolce vita".
A beautifully Italianate espresso boiler promises the flavours of Italy.