299 Lygon St
Carlton, VIC 3053
For the longest time, my go-to place for good gelato is Gelato Messina. Between their 40-odd flavours and half a dozen decadent specials that rotate on a weekly basis, I saw no need to ever go anywhere else. But after a few people have told me that Pidapipo is even better than Messina, there was nothing for it but to try it out.
Having previously walked past and seen the ridiculous queues, I had deliberately chosen a cold, drizzly night to visit and sure enough, there was no wait to endure. With that said though, the small gelateria still benefited from a steady stream of customers; enough to make any other place jealous for sure.
Instead of sitting out in showy mounds, the gelato here is hidden deep within the traditional insulated stainless steel canisters – pozzetti – to ensure minimum oxidation and maximum freshness. There are just under two dozen flavours available on any given day, including a few dairy-free options, and some vegan soy-milk based ones.
We started with Two Scoops ($6.5) of gelato in Fior Di Latte and Hazelnut. And before you ask, no, Fior Di Latte is not cheese-flavoured. Rather, it is a simple milk-based gelato that had a fresh creaminess to every bite, and is arguably gelato in its purest form. The Hazelnut on the other hand is a complete show-stopper, and definitely the best rendition I’ve ever had. Silky smooth and absolutely decadent, the aromatic nuttiness of it really has to be tasted to be believed.
After a short break, we went back for seconds, and this time it was a Single Scoop ($4.5) the Bacio, topped with Hot Nutella ($1). Simple and perfect, this is a chocolate-hazelnut flavour with pieces of chopped nuts mixed through. You can taste every element clearly, the toasted nuttiness complemented by a hint of bitterness from the rich cocoa. And if that isn’t enough, the flavour is intensified by the pocket of hot, gooey Nutella drizzled over the top.
As much as I hate to say it, I am now torn between Messina and Pidapipo. Messina is the winner for those over-the-top confections in crazy flavours, whilst Pidapipo reigns supreme if you’re after something that’s classically perfect. All things considered, I’m happy to flip a coin, as both places basically make my frozen dessert dreams come true.
Rating: 15/20 – equal first.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.