"Have you tried their milk-flavoured gelato?"
It's not the usual flavour recommendation. You'd expect someone to recommend a chocolate flavour or perhaps even a lemon sorbet. But milk?
Still, that was the recommendation floating around the office when this story first came up: a chance to make gelato with the team at Spilt Milk Bar in Dickson. A place where everything is made on site. The milk is pasturised, the pistachios are roasted, the lemons are juiced and the gelato churned, all in house. And with as much local produce as possible. Which, for an ice-cream lover and buyer, seemed like a no-brainer. Why wouldn't it be?
"It's actually pretty rare for gelato to be made completely in house," owner Omer Siddiq says.
"Usually there's a supplier that ships in the gelato mix and then it's churned in house. But then you look at their kitchens and they're also a lot small than ours because they only need to churn the ice-cream."
So we're here, to get the scoop on gelato. It's 7am - because that's how early you need to start to churn everything fresh.
And after numerous cleaning sessions of the churner we start things off with a dark chocolate sorbet. It's only three ingredients - sugar, water and dark chocolate.
Everything here is just a handful of ingredients. Aside from a couple of flavours that need a stabiliser because there's not enough natural pectin or the like, it's just the basics. The sorbet is just sugar, water and, for example, lemon. The gelato is milk, cream and sugar, plus whatever extra ingredients you want to add. But in the case of the milk flavour - or as it's known, Spilt Milk - those extra ingredients aren't even a must.
But, according to Siddiq, you don't need to be in the kitchen to know whether a gelato is back to basics or not.
The colour is the first thing to notice. There are no bright colours to be seen, because they're not added.
"We had a blueberry gelato and there was this kid who was sad because it wasn't blue," he says.
"But when you think about it, when you squish a blueberry, it's not blue."
And then there is the display itself. When you walk into Spilt Milk in Dickson, you're met with their display of gelato held within pozzettis - gelato containers underneath cloches - rather than in a glass display, piled so high that it almost defies gravity.
"Those mounds of gelato? That's not normal," Siddiq says.
"It's not natural for gelato [to be] piled up high like that, so you need to think about what's in it that makes it stand up that high."
But for Siddiq, the main tell is the taste. It's heavy and creamy and if you know how fresh gelato tastes, it's easy to tell the difference.
"It always tastes best when it's straight out of the churner," he says.
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