The Central Park complex in Chippendale is home to a Din Tai Fung, however there is a huge number of other food outlets to sample. La Mama del Gelato Anita is a relative newcomer to Sydney, and while it may not have quite the profile of Gelato Messina, it serves up amazingly good gelati in a much less frenetic atmosphere. Bilby Blue and I had previously visited Gelato Messina in Darlinghurst, and have vivid memories of long, long queues, an extended wait for service and limited ability to see (let alone sample) the range on offer due to the crush of people.
On the ground floor at the back of the Central Park shopping mall, with the entrance opening on to Central Park Avenue, Anita Gelato is light filled and airy, with plenty of small tables inside and out. But the real action is at the long front counter where the crowd of indecisive gelato fans samples the flavours before choosing. The cheerful staff juggle requests from multiple customers – we reckon the chances are extremely slim that anyone will be walking away without commitment.
Note that even though there were lots of people in the shop, we were still easily able to take photos along the whole length of the cabinet.
Mixed berry and Ferrero Rocher
After due consideration (and tastings) of the options, we ordered two regular sizes, two flavours each, in waffle cones. Cups are also available, but we believe the textural crunch from the waffle cone adds to the eating enjoyment. Servings are huge – note that gelato is packed into every cubic centimetre of the cone – so the jumbo size must be truly enormous. I had the non-dairy dark chocolate, together with kiwi and banana. The chocolate was proper dark bitter chocolate, but not so bitter that it sucks all the moisture from your mouth, while the kiwi and banana was a fruity refreshing contrast to the chocolate – an excellent pairing. Bilby Blue said that the instant she sampled the passionfruit sorbet there was love at first taste, and her combination of the sharp fruitiness with creamy coconut chock full of whole raw almonds (in skins) and chunks of caramelised white chocolate was just divine. Note that Bilby normally reckons that white chocolate is not real chocolate.
It was abundantly clear that the best result requires thoughtful consideration in matching the flavours – the wrong choice and the end result will be less than optimal. But if you get it right – and given the ability to plan carefully from sampling there is really no excuse if you do get it wrong – it will be a heavenly match.
Hazelnut and almond cream, paired with cheesecake with a red berry couli
Anita Gelato is originally from Israel, where there are a handful of stores in Tel Aviv. Apparently they were encouraged to open in Australia by the Max Brenner people.
All the gelato is made on-site using only fresh ingredients. What is totally mind-blowing is that the range in the store at any time represents roughly a quarter of the more than 150 flavours in the Anita Gelato repertoire – these include non-dairy, sugar-free, vegan and yoghurt options. A huge range of toppings is available to accompany the frozen yoghurt – sprinkles, fresh fruit, dried fruit and all sorts of sweet things – and those toppings are unlimited. Yes, that means you can go back for a topping top-up as often as you want – but only for frozen yoghurt, not the gelato.
Of course, we went back the next day – and there were more new flavours to sample! It was another tough choice and this time I opted for hazelnut and almond cream, paired with cheesecake with a red berry couli – and it was just as good as the previous night. In other words, excellent. Bilby had mixed berry sorbet with Ferrero Rocher – the latter was very, very chocolate, with the added attractions of large chunks of Ferrero Rocher and thick dark swirls of even more chocolate. Bilby said it was a perfect match of chocolatey richness with the freshness from the berries.