Eight of Victoria’s top chefs have partnered with the renowned Piccolina Gelateria to create The Piccolina Gelato Project: 8 Chefs in 8 Weeks.
The project will see seven of Melbourne’s most exciting chefs, plus one from Geelong, take over the specials board at all six Piccolina locations. Each chef has crafted three gelato flavours that not only showcase the flavours and techniques that have made them famous, but also allows their personalities and creativity to shine through.
Launching just in time to celebrate the opening of Piccolina’s new Degraves St location, the project will run from Wednesday, 10 February until Tuesday, 6 April. Each week Piccolina’s specials board will include a trio of flavours from Victor Liong (Lee Ho Fook), Tom Sarafian (Little Andorra, ex-Bar Saracen), Dave Verheul (Embla), Zoe Birch (Greasy Zoes), Sam Stafford (MONO-XO), Andreas Papadakis (Tipo 00), Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters), and Aaron Turner (Igni, The Hot Chicken Project, Tacos Y Liquor).
Having recently completed a collaboration with Scott Pickett (Estelle, Matilda, Longrain, Chancery Lane) and Frank Camora (MoVida), Sandra Foti was keen to explore more culinary collaborations, reaching out to the people behind her favourite venues. What followed was a creative whirlwind, with a fusion of techniques, skills and ideas, resulting in a celebration of gelato that allows you to taste flavours of each restaurant with every scoop.
“The entire experience has been pretty phenomenal,” says Sandra Foti. “Everyone absolutely jumped at the opportunity. I was blown away and felt pretty humbled by how much everyone already knew and loved Piccolina. It made the whole thing even more special.”
The first chef in the series is Victor Liong from Lee Ho Fook who will be taking over the specials board the week of Lunar New Year. Among his three signature flavours will be a jasmine tea custard and burnt caramel gelato that uses high-quality jasmine tea from Tea Craft in Sydney.
“As a chef who owns and works in each of my restaurants, it is harder to learn about new processes. This project has given me a chance to delve into a really cool and exciting area of food that I’ve always been interested in. It’s kinda like going to Willy Wonka’s factory and being able to make your own flavour of sweets. It was great fun!” says Victor.
The gelato will also be served as part of the Chinese New Year banquet at Lee Ho Fook. The second chef to feature on the project will be Tom Sarafian, currently in the midst of a three-month residence in the kitchen at Little Andorra. His flavours include a yoghurt gelato infused with Persian saffron and vanilla bean layered with passionfruit curd, a goat’s feta gelato with crushed mamool and a green fig and toasted sesame jam, as well as a pineapple sorbet with arak and basil oil drops.
One of the project’s most adventurous flavours comes courtesy of Dave Verheul of Embla. Alongside his cultured butter gelato with butter biscuit and salted brown butter caramel and lemon sherbet, lemongrass and lemon verbena gelato Dave’s specials board will also feature a porcini gelato with chocolate, thyme and sour apple.
Dave says: “This whole project is about having a little fun and creating gelato that is completely different from the incredible product that the team at Piccolina deliver on a daily basis. That said, I think there will be a certain amount of trust needed to try the porcini gelato!”
“It’s amazing what can come together through gelato. I really hope people are excited to try the different flavours because they’re delicious,” says Sandra.
Another chef pushing the boundaries of how we perceive gelato flavours is Andreas Papadakis from Tipo 00. His fior di latte and potato gelato with a green olive caramel was a challenge to perfect but ended up being the perfect balance of flavours, and the buffalo ricotta, basil oil and rosemary gelato is the sweet mirror to the focaccia served at the beginning of every meal at Tipo 00. His trio of flavours is rounded out with a fior di latte, caramelised radicchio, balsamic & chocolate.
And while Piccolina is already known for its vegan gelato, Australia’s queen of vegan cuisine, Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters), will also feature as part of the Piccolina project. Shannon’s gelato flavours are based on some of Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli’s best sellers, including the famed cardamom and cinnamon doughnut gelato, Aztec gelato with dark vegan chocolate gelato layered with ancho chilli caramel, and a corn and blueberry gelato with corn-infused oat milk gelato, blueberry swirl & candied corn kernels.
“I’m always excited to work with people that have something to teach me, and I get even more excited that I get to do a collaboration with a fellow female owner/operator, because that is super rare!” says Shannon.
The Piccolina Gelato Project isn’t just for diehard foodies though. By capturing the spirit of each restaurant in a scoop, it allows Melburnians to experience the flavours of hatted and renowned restaurants through the familiar and nostalgic culinary medium that is gelato, and to get to know more about the chefs behind the venues.
Wed 10 Feb–Tues 16 Feb | Victor Liong (Lee Ho Fook)
• Lee Ho Fook’s jasmine tea custard, burnt caramel
• Mango pudding gelato, passionfruit sorbet and condensed milk
• Hong Kong milk tea with brown sugar boba pearls
Wed 17 Feb–Tues 23 Feb | Tom Sarafian (Little Andorra)
• Yoghurt gelato infused with Persian saffron & vanilla bean, layered
with passionfruit curd
• Goat’s feta gelato layered with crushed mamool and green fig &
toasted sesame jam
• Pineapple sorbet with a shot of Arak & basil oil drops
Wed 24 Feb–Tues 2 March | Dave Verheul (Embla)
• Cultured butter gelato with butter biscuit and salted brown butter caramel
• Lemon sherbet, lemongrass and lemon verbena gelato
• Porcini gelato with chocolate, thyme and sour apple
Wed 3 March–Tues 9 March | Zoe Birch (Greasy Zoes)
• Spiced Pumpkin Pie
• Chocolate Bay Leaf
Wed 10 March–Tues 16 March | Sam Stafford (MONO-XO)
• Pine-lime, coconut and smoked vanilla – Smoked vanilla-infused coconut
gelato with a Pernod-spiked pine-lime jam layered in
• Chamomile milk gelato, raw honeycomb
• Strawberry gelato, rhubarb jam, malt crumb
Wed 17 March–Tues 23 March | Andreas Papadakis (Tipo 00)
• Fior di latte, caramelised radicchio, balsamic & chocolate
• Buffalo ricotta, basil oil & rosemary
• Fior di latte, potato & a green olive salted caramel
Wed 24 March–Tues 30 March | Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters)
• Aztec – Dark vegan chocolate gelato layered with ancho chilli caramel
• Smith & Daughters cardamom & cinnamon doughnut gelato
• Corn & blueberry gelato – corn-infused oat milk gelato, blueberry swirl
& candied corn kernels
Wed 31 March–Tues 6 April | Aaron Turner (Igni, The Hot Chicken Project, Tacos Y Liquor)
• Council pepper leaf and strawberries
• Onion and honeycomb
• Charred orchard wood wild berries
The Piccolina Gelato Project : 8 Chefs in 8 Weeks
Dates: Wednesday, 10 February until Tuesday, 6 April
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Piccolina Gelateria locations:
FLAGSHIP | Collingwood 296 Smith Street, Collingwood
Richmond 85 Swan Street, Richmond
Hawthorn 802 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn
St Kilda 137C Acland Street, St Kilda
CBD Degraves St 32 Degraves Street, Melbourne
CBD Hardware Lane 43 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
Opening Hours: Daily from 12pm until late