Every day it seems like a new ice-cream parlour opens in Perth, each more tantalising than the last. As our civic duty to you, dear reader, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to try each one – tough gig, we know. Whether it’s velvety traditional Italian gelato or mango ice-cream so concentrated it tastes just like biting into the fruit, we give you the scoop (sorry) on the best in the state.
New Ice Cream Places
No one could accuse the couple behind Chicho of being unimaginative. Schooled in the art of traditional gelato making at a Bologna university; hipster ingenuity via Portland and New York food vans; and explosive Latin flavours by way of South American travels, Chez and Carly De Bartolo know a thing or two about making exotic gelato. A few of our favourites include rockmelon and prosciutto, peanut butter and jelly, and lemon and basil.
TASTE TEST Their chocolate gelato was smoother than Don Draper, and the salted caramel sauce and crunchy peanuts drizzled on top were insanely delicious. Plus, we’ve got to give them bonus points for combining three of our all-time fave flavours in one. Afterwards, I tried the lemon and basil sorbet, which turned out to be the perfect palate cleanser – tangy and tart with just a subtle hint of the herb for extra freshness.
WHERE Twilight Hawkers Market, Maylands Hawker Markets, Perth Upmarket
Two young Italian lads would be making their nonnas proud with this old-fashioned gelataria, which serves gelato hand-crafted fresh from WA milk and cream. Don’t be fooled by the soft-serve machines: this is made the authentic way, with traditional flavours and toppings to match. If you’re after gimmicky frills like Gummi Bears or Froot Loops, go elsewhere.
TASTE TESTI tried the panna cotta strewn with coconut flakes and strawberries – it was super creamy with a subtle hint of tartness, and a hell of a lot tastier than most actual panna cottas I’ve had lately. Meanwhile, my friend was in raptures over her scoop of coffee: she claimed tasted just as it does in Italy (and with a Florentine husband, she’d know).
WHERE 151 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
Another graduate of the Bologna gelato-making university (whodathunk?), owner Sean Lee likes his gelato authentic. Like, really authentic. A scoop of
apple pie doesn’t just have a hint of flavouring; it has a real pie, baked fresh on premises and folded into it. The strawberry flavour is so bursting with the fruit you can taste the grit. “When you try our gelato, there’s no ambiguity about what’s in it,” says Sean. “You get a real punch of flavour, as flavours should be.” And trust us, once you’ve had a try, the fake stuff just won’t cut it.
TASTE TEST I can always judge the deliciousness of food by how much I resemble a happy toddler when eating it. After a visit to Gusto, I was making more noise than an entire preschool. Though I tend to think salted caramel is overdone now, a taste of Gusto’s swiftly changed my mind – it was super salty and sweet at the same time, and almost startlingly good. The Zabaione – traditional Italian custard made with Marsala wine – was luxuriously silky with a delicate taste.
WHERE 741 Newcastle Street, Leederville
Marie Antoinette Café Glacier
This Napoleon Street ice-creamery is owned by a sweet French couple, who imbue their treats with ‘extra pretty’ in the way only Frenchies can. After making their ice-cream from scratch with locally sourced milk, eggs and fresh fruit, they use a paddle to fashion each scoop into a dainty rose – yet not all smell as sweet as each other. The rotating flavours range from the traditional (French vanilla; praline) to the gourmet (pistachio; liquorice) to the downright bizarre, and decidedly un-Gallic (Vegemite).
TASTE TEST After breathing a sigh of relief Vegemite wasn’t on the menu that day, I settled on a combination of green apple and caramel, hoping for a sort of toffee-apple medley. It didn’t disappoint. The green apple was sugary, tart and a bit fibrous, but in a good way – just like the actual fruit – and the caramel tasted exactly like homemade buttery caramel. Y-u-m.
WHERE 38 Napoleon Street, Cottesloe
York Ice-Cream Company
The little tubs call this ‘the best tasting ice-cream in the world’. We initially snickered at the boldness of the claim, but after digging in we weren’t laughing: our mouths were too busy devouring the stuff. Their ice-cream is made with a traditional French recipe and prepared in a truly artisanal way with fresh local ingredients. Trust us, you can taste the difference.
TASTE TEST I tried a few flavours (shout-outs to salted caramel and macadamia), but my favourite was the mango. Made with tree-ripened Kensington Pride mangoes from Carnarvon, the flavour was pure and sweet, but not overpoweringly so. It tasted just like a perfect mango – but better.
WHERE Stocked at The Grocer, 26 Brown Street, Claremont
For the Vegans
No more bitching, vegans! Geláre’s new animal cruelty-free ice-cream – made with coconut milk and cream, agave syrup and organic everything – means even the most staunch activist can partake in some frozen fun. We love how virtuous we feel licking the Naked Chocolate, Cappuccino and Dark Chocolate flavours – better still, the flavour and creaminess have not been sacrificed. Hurrah!
PS Though they’re not specifically marketed towards vegans, the dark chocolate from Gusto Gelato, and the Macadamia from York Ice-Cream Company are suitable for vegans – but both are so sumptuous you won’t quite believe it.
Gelato vs. Ice-Cream
Nope, gelato isn’t just a wanky synonym for ice-cream. “Though the main ingredients are the same – milk, cream and sugar – the difference between gelato and ice-cream is the fat content,” says Simone of Whisk Creamery. “By Australian law, ice-cream must contain at least 10 per cent fat, and most of the time it’s much higher. On the other hand, our gelato contains only around 6 per cent fat.” By the way, their sorbet is even healthier, without even a skerrick of fat.
Fro-yo goes with California like hotdogs go with New York and cappuccinos with Freo, so it’s no surprise this Cali chain nails the fro-yo game with super-fun flavours and a selection of toppings that’s more extensive than a candy store. We’ve been stocking up on favourites like strawberry cheesecake, green apple, and peanut butter on our lunch breaks. Shop 9, 1 Rokeby Road, Subiaco.
Icy Vendors We Heart
We have been in love with these Mexican-inspired icy poles since we first tried them a few summers past, and the love continues to burn bright. How could it die, after all, when they continue to supplement their classics like coconut, or Hendrick’s and cucumber, with one-off new flavours like blue cheese and fig?
(No, really – it’s delicious.)
Miss Tartufo Gelati
If you think this retro van – with colourful lanterns and pictures of pin-up girls – is cute, wait till you see the ice-cream. The local Azzura Gelati comes in flavours like orange marmalade, blossom nougat, and chocolate truffle bubblegum.
These artisan ice pops are seriously awesome, with surprising flavours served from an adorable vintage cart. Our hands-down favourite is the Salted Malted Caramel, made using the wort from local breweries like The Monk, Colonial Brewing and Bootleg Brewery. Other top contenders are basil and elderflower, and strawberry margarita. PS They also have a stand in Northbridge.
A new Tiffany-blue truck is roving the streets of Perth doling out frozen yoghurt in flavours like coconut, Nutella and dulce de leche. Stay tuned for its pop-up store, opening in North Fremantle this summer.
Simmo’s Truck on Rottnest Island
So the company isn’t new per se, but the concept? Pure novelty. Summer trips to Rottnest just got sweeter with this roving van of icy treats, featuring Simmo’s classics like salted caramel and whiskey prune. But news of the Dunsborough-born company hasn’t just travelled to the other port of the ferry; last year, USA Today dubbed the ice-creamery, which uses an old-fashioned Irish recipe, as one of the best in the world – did someone just say crème de le crème?