Where do you find Sydney’s best ice cream?010

Last week I posted about a wonderful gelataria La Gelateria della Musica in Milan.

Such an article naturally invites comparison to other ice cream makers, especially your local favourite, so as promised in the above mentioned article, here are some notes on two of Sydney’s finest purveyors of ice cream. Fortunately our hot weather has meant it’s been a great week to do some research. And I was able to bribe friends to stand in the queues outside these places – with the promise of free ice cream and a guarantee that their input would be considered when my final decisions were handed down.

The two places I’ll look at are “Gelato Messina” and “Cow and the Moon”. Both are well known local establishments and have received many awards over the years.

It is impossible to test every ice creamery, so if you feel impassioned to tell us about your favourite, no matter where it is, post a comment in the space at the end of the article. Tell us where you fave is and why you love it so much. I was considering awarding a prize for the best comment, but my editor told me our budget doesn’t stretch to that. Maybe I’ll make an executive decision and donate “A Long Lunch” T-shirt if you inspire me enough!


Gelato Messina427

1/241 Victoria Street

Darlinghurst NSW
1800 435 286
02 8354 1223
Monday – Thursday 12:00pm-11:00pm
Friday – Saturday 12:00pm-11:30pm
Sunday 12:00pm-11:00pm

Gelato Messina was opened by the Palumbo family in Sydney’s Darlinghurst district in 2002. They had come from Adelaide with a commitment to sourcing the best natural ingredients for their products and using time honored production methods.

Their uncompromising standards and fabulous creations raised the standard of the city’s ice cream and ice cream shops and have earned them a loyal following. They now have a series of stores across Sydney and even interstate. Their flagship store in Darlinghurst is still the centre of their operations but there have been concerns about maintaining quality over an ever increasing spread of stores.


Of an evening there is invariably a queue of people snaking down Darlinghurst Road, waiting patiently for an ice cream hit. There are 40 flavours of more available – new ones created regularly as new ideas arise or as the availability of fresh ingredients change. This is in keeping in line with the family’s commitment to using only the best seasonal produce. They have also created amazing gelato ice creams and other deserts.




Cow and The Moon430
181 Enmore Road
Enmore NSW 2042
02 9557 4255

Mon – Thu: 8:30 am – 10:30 pm
Fri – Sat: 8:30 am – 11:30 pm
Sun: 8:30 am – 10:30 pm

The Cow and The Moon is popular cafe in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Enmore. This is also a family run business and has one numerous awards including several over the past couple of years at Sydney Royal Show in various divisions of the dairy awards.

Although it’s been popular for some time, this cafe really shot to prominence after it won an international

So which place do I prefer?

On balance, my most recent visits produced a preference for Cow and the Moon: I think their product’s texture is a bit smoother and the flavours cleaner and fresher. But  on any day I’m happy to visit either. A previous visit would have put Messina on top.

And how do they compare to overseas establishments? Well to be honest I still crave the sublimely smooth texture and skilfully blended flavours of Milan’s Gellateria della Musica. But of course it’s hard to be objective when you’re on holiday in an exciting Italian city. Unless the samples are sitting side by side most of us can only make our best guess.

Ultimately trying to decide on Sydney’s best ice cream, let alone the world’s, is a fatuous exercise. There are formal competitions, but also many informal and online polls and of course we all like a chance to spout our opinion.

Choosing winners makes for an interesting exercise and gives bragging rights to those who enter the various competitions and end up as champs. We love to see our personal favourites triumph and pooh pooh a poll that doesn’t even rate a mention of our pick.

The importance of competitions and the value and influence of critics generally is an incredibly interesting topic and one I intend to write more about in the not too distant future.

Ultimately, trying to decide upon the “best” ice cream is like many other products or services we consume, bottles of wine, plates of food, or quality of wait staff. It’s incredibly subjective and depends upon our mood or the circumstances of our experience.

Or as many have said before: “Context is Everything”.

So my advice: use your own judgement. It is as valid as anyone else’s when it comes to determining what is best for you. Support your local artisan producers that use quality ingredients and sound technique. You will get a superior product and will be supporting local businesses and their employees.

And for me (and I hope my discriminating readers) you will end up with a more satisfying experience. You will pay a little more, but you will need less because the intensity of flavours will be deeper and experience longer lasting.

So, better for your health, a boon to your emotional state and benefit for our society. Don’t forget to tell us about your favourite here ↓