Piccolina Gelateria Founder Sandra Foti launched her very first gelato collaboration with Scott Pickett in 2020. The duo created three Thai-inspired flavours: caramelised banana gelato with roasted peanuts and lemon sorbet infused with lemongrass; ginger and Thai basil gelato; and caramelised palm sugar gelato with palm sugar caramel and honeycomb. It was an expertise that might spark the launch of The Piccolina Gelato Venture.
“I used to be fascinated by the best way a chef approached gelato in comparison with how I used to be skilled,” says Foti. “I merely needed to be round them to look at how they labored and see what they’d invent, so I created a challenge that allowed me to do
Every annual season of The Piccolina Gelato Venture runs for eight weeks, with a
completely different chef creating three flavours which are obtainable for one week at a time. This system has seen many hospitality figures strive their hand at gelato together with Serai’s
Ross Magnaye, Hope St Radio’s Ellie Bouhadana, and Etta’s Rosheen Kaul.
In relation to choosing collaborators, it’s all about inspiration. “We gravitate in direction of cooks who’re doing new and attention-grabbing issues,” says Foti. “There are not any actual guidelines on how we select the folks … we’ve had some new, up-and-coming cooks and likewise labored with some who’re award-winning and fairly established.”
Expertise making gelato shouldn’t be a requirement; the challenge is an opportunity for each Foti and the cooks to be taught from one another. “It’s a lot of enjoyable to have the chance to show these extremely artistic people one thing new,” she says. “Sharing information is likely one of the most inspiring facets of the challenge and is personally
As soon as chosen, cooks sit down with Foti and her crew to start out engaged on flavours. There’s no actual transient apart from attempting one thing new. “We ask every chef to throw away the rule e-book and to reimagine all that gelato might be,” says Foti. “The entire foundation of the challenge is to permit cooks the chance to be as artistic as potential, and to strive issues they don’t essentially get to strive in their very own eating places.” It’s a hands-on course of finalising the flavours with Foti’s crew, with a lot of trial and error earlier than the merchandise are locked in.
Nagesh Seethiah of Melbourne’s Manzé participated within the challenge earlier this yr and jumped on the likelihood after being approached by Foti. “[I was told] to maintain it enjoyable, partaking, and to get folks excited a few completely different tackle gelato — to not maintain again,” he says.
Seethiah had by no means made gelato earlier than and was in a position so as to add a brand new ability to his repertoire. “I bought to be taught gelato. Sandra and Head Chef Simon Colacino are doing an incredible job of maintaining it modern whereas maintaining custom alive.”
Seethiah drew upon the flavours and components of his childhood in Mauritius for his gelatos — suppose marzipan gelato with quince jelly, basil seeds, and evaporated milk syrup; coconut gelato with frivolously roasted grapes, creamed cornbread, and toasted coconut; and Mauritian vanilla bean gelato with pineapple jam, toasted coconut flakes, and spiced rum syrup.
“The quince alouda [Mauritian milk drink] was a mirrored image on adopting a childhood favorite right into a gelato sundae with quince,” says the chef. “The vanilla gelato with
pineapple jam was influenced by the decades-old ice cream model in Mauritius known as Vona Corona.” His recommendation for future cooks collaborating? Get ingenious. “Don’t be afraid to be as artistic as you could be, Simon and Sandra will assist you obtain the gelato of your goals.”
The Piccolina Gelato Venture has not solely been a profitable and fulfilling train for Foti and her crew, however its patrons who’re at all times desirous to strive the brand new gelatos. “It’s been wonderful — a lot of our loyal clients ask us about when the following sequence is launching,” says Foti. “This yr, we had some flavours that might have examined folks’s tastebuds, however I feel it’s one factor clients actually take pleasure in concerning the challenge and it’s all a part of the enjoyable.”
For those who’re questioning when you may get your arms on the following gelato cups, Foti says The Piccolina Gelato Venture will return in 2024. “We’re at all times methods to innovate, so subsequent yr might tackle a special kind — watch this house!”