4/33 Barangaroo Ave
Barangaroo, NSW 2000
There’s a pretty great story behind how I wound up at Rivareno Gelato. Four years ago when I was getting ready to move from Melbourne to Sydney, I decided to hit up my favourite denim store to stock up on jeans. And whilst waiting in line to get into said store, I got into a conversation with a lovely lass from Sydney. Of course, the topic of food came up, and because we were just down the road from Gelato Messina, talk quickly turned to desserts of the frozen variety. To my intense shock, my new friend confessed that she actually has a gelateria she loves even more than Messina, and that’s Rivareno. She then went on to describe some of the most scrumptious flavours that left me promising both of us that I would try it out once I get to Sydney. And although I’m really, really, really slow with making good on my promise, this one is for you, jeans girl!
Just like Messina, Rivareno has a few locations scattered around Sydney (though not nearly as many), but today we were at their largest Barangaroo branch. Their main deal is obviously gelato, made in the Italian way and stored away from sight (and oxidation) in stainless steel pozzetti, but they also have a generous selection of other desserts, such as pre-made gelato bars and crepes made to order. I was especially impressed when I found out that Rivareno is actually an award-winning brand originating in Italy, and although they’ve since spread across Italy, the Darlinghurst store was the first to be opened internationally.
The flavour I was the most desperate to try was the Alice ($5.5, 1 scoop), which was a surely fail-safe combination of mascarpone, Marsala wine, and gianduia. First up, let’s talk about the good: drizzled copiously both on top and bottom was the gianduia – a warm, rich sauce of chocolate and hazelnut that makes Nutella seem bland and over-sweet. Now if only the gelato itself was as good. Not only was the boozy taste of Marsala nowhere to be found, it also lacked the silky, dense texture of freshly churned high-quality gelato. In fact, I found it to be not too dissimilar to ice cream.
On another day, I tried the Morena ($5.5, 1 scoop), which was a combination of fior di panna (aka high quality cream) gelato, and sour cherries in syrup. If you’re a fan of maraschino cherries, then the combination is a classic. However beyond the nostalgia, there’s once again nothing overly special about this, and just like the Alice, the gelato itself was lacklustre.
I had originally planned to make this blog post a hattrick and visit once more before writing a review, but after over 6 months since my last scoop, I realised something – I just don’t like Rivareno enough to go back a third time. For me, Rivareno is stuck at an awkward place; the flavours aren’t as interesting and decadent as what you’d get at Messina, and the quality of the gelato itself isn’t up to par compared to the really good places like Pidapippo. There’s just no situation in which I would find myself picking Rivareno over other places, and the last 6 months is proof positive of that.
Rating: 11.5/20 – it’s fine i guess.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.