With the Melbourne Summer heat beating down on me as I strolled along Docklands' NewQuay Promenade, I needed a cool-fix. And I needed it fast. Sticking out of the broadwalk, shaped like an giant grey ice-cream cup was Limonetto Gelati.
The interestingly designed stand-alone gelateria (Italian for gelato shop) with 140 tiny coloured windows was the result of two creative RMIT architecture students. Complimenting the hard-to-miss shop is its hard-to-beat gelato, with options made from whole milk and others from fruits.
The shop space is small and bare, dominated by a display of the main attraction in overflowing tubs seated in a long counter with cones, granita or slushy, and gelato machines in the background. Two busy staff offer friendly and patient service to customers dropping by for a sample or purchase.
With the main attraction being the gelato, Italians will tell you that it's either right or wrong (meaning you've end up with ice cream). Although the selection is limited to only 16 flavours compared to other gelaterias, it's the quality that counts.
And Limonetto served up proper Italian gelato, with natural and denser milk-based flavours, like pistachio and tiramisu, and lighter and richer fruit tastes from strawberries and mango. The colours of the milk-based gelato are generally pale, hinting at the use of natural ingredients instead of artificial colours.
Most importantly, the gelato is made fresh on-site every day unlike most commercial ice creams with preservatives for long term storage.
The prices for two flavours start from AUD4.50, which is reasonable when compared to the dearer yet lower quality substitutes around.
I decided on the shop's two best sellers - the Limonetto Special and the Ferrero Rocher. The staff expertly placed both flavours beside each other in a waffle cone, which might be irrelevant to most folks but it had some taste benefits when you're licking.
The Limonetto Special was the right blend of citrus tartness and light sweetness, without being too sour or sugary, as often found in a frozen lemonade pretending to be a gelato.
The Ferreror Rocher offered a blend of creamy chocolate and hazelnut on the palate. I got to enjoy the interesting flavour change of creamy milk to citrusy fruit on my taste buds when I licked across both gelato. The overall flavours were one up from the gelato at Calatrava Gelati.
It was certainly an excellent cool-fix to the Summer heat or an alternative dessert to a meal in the neighbouring restaurants for adults and kids alike.
Next time you're wandering around the Docklands, make a stop at Limonetto Gelateria and relax by the marina. With a light and smooth gelato in one hand, you might just end up with a date in the other.