27 Mar. 2021
by Ian and Leanne Neeland, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
Italians love to eat gelato any time of the day, but it is particularly popular at 4pm in the afternoon as a late in the day ‘pick me up’ to get them through to dinnertime. Italians also love gelato any time of the year. It’s not just a summer treat but enjoyed regardless of the season.
When we were touring through Belgium, France and then Italy in 2012 buying equipment to set up the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery we soon found that everywhere we found great chocolate, we also found exceptional gelato. It made perfect sense to marry the two together in the Yarra Valley.
A good gelato is a trip to heaven. So, we’ve called our month of gelato “Paradiso del gelato”. We have around 36 flavours to share with everyone, and will be adding exclusive flavour combinations as part of the celebration.
At the Chocolaterie, everyone is hands-on with making gelato – it’s a team effort. We also source as many ingredients as we can from our own gardens – we have seasonal berries, herbs from our kitchen garden, and stone fruit from our orchards. All this delicious fresh produce will be picked, prepared and turned into gelato for everyone to enjoy.
In every Italian gelateria you will also find the colours and flavours of the Italian flag are on offer – vanilla or lemon for ‘white’, strawberry or raspberry for ‘red’ and pistachio or fresh mint for ‘green’. We’ve also mastered a delicious chocolate, of course, with our own unique handmade chocolate, and we’ve created lots of chocolate inspired variations. There are all the classic flavours that everyone loves, but especially during the Ciao Yarra Valley Ciao festival we will be making a feature of the traditional, and perhaps lesser known, Italian gelato flavours that we encourage people to try.
One of the most delicious gelato I have ever tried is the classic Stracciatella, which is based on a traditional Italian egg-based soup. It is creamy and scrumptious especially with the addition of chocolate flakes. Dulce de Leche – a sweetened caramel, Bacio – a chocolate and hazelnut combination or Amarena – Fior di Latte blended with a sour cherry sauce, are also delicious. We will always have some surprise flavours so it’s worth visiting more than once!
I love looking out across the lawn at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery and seeing people sitting around enjoying a gelato with that magnificent view of the mountains stretching out in front of them. It reminds me of Italy where having a gelato is a social outing, one that is a way of bringing people together to enjoy each other’s company.
You typically won’t find a tub of gelato in an Italian’s fridge to be eaten at home. It is always an occasion for an outing!