I am one of those people who believe any time is a good time for ice-cream, and that there is always room for dessert. As spring and summer arrive, there is a never-ending list of places to go in Melbourne to cool yourself down. Here are some places that have satisfied my gelato cravings:
Situated out in the open on Lygon St, Helados Jauja is an Argentinian gelato store with a wide selection of unique flavours (see below). They were typically busy on a Friday night and I'd say it's quite a favourite of many Melburnians.
We had tasted a few flavours and decided to go with the dulce de leche (Argentinian style caramel) and rosewater, roasted pistachios and raspberry swirls (the "Holy Mi Amor"), as they were popular flavours that I had heard of. The rosewater was not too strong and I didn't mind it, but it was not entirely to my taste. However, I did enjoy the dulce de leche. I would love to try more flavours but my list of places to go is continuously growing and there is ever so little time.
It is quite the norm now to have unique gelato flavours (goaty cheese sounds particularly interesting, but not something I would try), but they remain traditional with their storefront and are quite a popular destination on the Lygon strip.
The new kid on the block, surrounded by hype and lots of smoke, is N2 Extreme Gelato. The novelty factor is that you watch them make your ice-cream from liquid nitrogen, resulting in smooth and delicious flavours.
We braved the busy weekend line, and perhaps unsurprisingly tried the French Earl Grey Dulce De Leche. I was excited for a collaboration between N2 and Luxbite (cafe/dessert place near Chapel St) that weekend, however it ended up being a kaya flavour, and I can't stand coconut!
The wait can be lengthy during peak times, and with all the hype, the line went well out of the door. The flavour was delicious, and although $6 seems expensive the cup was quite filling even though I shared it with my friend. For any further indication, my friend enjoyed the flavour and she usually doesn't even like ice-cream. I know some people are doubtful over the quality due to the hype, but I believe they are making innovative flavours and have smart marketing tactics to engage their audience.
The fun doesn't stop there – there's funky art on the walls, the seating at the back is covered in fake grass and there's a bit of a grungy garage feel.
What will keep people coming back is their weekly change of flavours, constantly teasing fans with photos of their ingredients on social media. I have noticed they keep some flavours for more than a week, such as the sorbet for vegans and popular flavours such as the creme brulee.
Before the N2 craze, Spring St Grocer was at the top of my "ice-cream to eat list". Finally, on a lonesome adventure, I thought I would drop by. The storefront is wide open store on a corner in a less adventurous part of Melbourne, on Spring St near Parliament Station.
I perused yet another interesting list of flavours but could not bring myself that day to be adventurous. I did try a spoon of the salted caramel and chilli, but the chilli kick that comes after a few seconds was a bit weird rather than tasty to me. I was in the mood for something I knew would be delicious, so I went with a safe hazelnut.
The flavour was delicious and comforting, and at $4.50 or $4 was a generous price for something that looked small but was filling. I might even bring myself to try something a little different next time, like pear and nutella.
It lacks the novelty of N2, but provides a more homely feel as it is also a grocer. They are no frills, with their gelato hidden under silver tops, and rely purely on word of mouth and their mix of classic and modern flavours.
I have heard the The Lab, another nitrogen ice-cream place has opened on Bourke St, so that's another one for my list. If you have any favourite flavours from these places or somewhere else, please let me know so I can give it a try!