Monday, March 21, 2016

Piccolina Gelateria Naturale, Hawthorn by Bilby Blue

Having set ourselves the task of exploring the best gelato that Melbourne has to offer (including Tutti Frutti Artisan Gelato) the following words were guaranteed to spur us into action:

“Have you been to the new gelato place in Hawthorn? You MUST go – it is fantastic!”

Benny and I were on its doorstep just over 24 hours later – on a warm Melbourne summer evening that was perfect for frozen treats.

Our first impression was blue. Deep saturated shades on the awning and footpath umbrellas outside, on the interior walls, and on posters listing the available flavours and explaining Piccolina’s gelato philosophy. It is not a large shop – only a few small tables and stools inside, plus a couple of tables on the footpath.

Piccolina Gelateria Naturale, Hawthorn, gelato
Passionfruit and coconut

On entering, we were enveloped in a heady aroma of passionfruit. This came from a large pile of freshly halved fruit sitting behind the counter, in the process of becoming tomorrow’s batch of passionfruit sorbet. A good sign – illustrating Piccolina’s commitment to using fresh ingredients.

Missing were the displays of huge fluffy clouds of brightly coloured gelato seen in many establishments. According to Piccolina, these are only possible with the use of preservatives, thickeners and stabilisers – all things that Piccolina avoids in pursuit of traditional Italian techniques and only natural ingredients. The gelato is made on-site in small batches and is kept in round lidded containers called Pozzetti. The gelato colours, in general, are soft and muted.

There are around 20 flavours on offer – a core group of regular flavours, plus a couple of specials that change regularly. All the sorbets are dairy-free, as are a couple of the gelato flavours. Several flavours of Sicilian (hand churned) granita are also available. Taking our reviewing responsibilities seriously, we tasted just about all of them before making our final selections.

All the flavours were outstanding, even the rather intriguing Bread, Butter and Jam – studded with small chunks of toasty goodness and swirled with jammy raspberries. Special mentions go to the gorgeous smooth choc hazelnut richness of Better than Nut-lla and the beautifully refreshing hit from the watermelon, mint and lime granita.

We observed that the gelato was a little soft, which apparently is also a characteristic of the additive free approach.

Piccolina Gelateria Naturale, Hawthorn, gelato
Coffee and vanilla

But eventually we had to make our final choices. Cones or cups; one, two or three scoops. Or tubs for take-away.

As usual we each opted for two scoops in waffle cones, with no doubling up of flavours to ensure our selections covered a good range. Given the overwhelming fruity atmosphere (plus a very encouraging taste test), one of my go-to flavours – passionfruit – was a no-brainer, but what to choose for my second? The obvious pairing was with one of Benny’s favourite flavours so I was reluctant to choose it – however that was the firm recommendation of the friendly serving staff. So bad luck Benny – I was having coconut. The passionfruit was intense – one of the best I have ever tasted. And the coconut…sublime. It was stuffed with slivers of fresh coconut pieces, not the grainy desiccated product.

With his favourite flavour taken off the table Benny was dithering, so the staff made another suggestion – coffee and vanilla – a fairly ordinary sounding combination and a very unlikely choice for Benny, but he grasped it like a drowning man, and boy was he glad that he did. Think of an extra smooth coffee lathered with clotted cream, cold rather than hot, and so thick that you have to eat it rather than drink it. It was wonderful.

Piccolina Gelateria Naturale, Hawthorn, gelato

Piccolina Gelateria Naturale, Hawthorn, gelato


We loved it
We loved it.


Amazing flavours and luscious textures, with the advantage of being much closer to home than the on-trend gelato hotspots. If we weren’t committed to exploring gelato establishments it would need to be something pretty special to tempt us to travel further.

Find it at

Piccolina Gelateria Naturale
802 Glenferrie Road
Hawthorn Vic 3122
Phone: (03) 9815 2815

Piccolina Gelateria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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