Gusto Gelato. What can I say about Gusto Gelato?
It's not every weekend that you can respond to peers at work asking what your plans for the weekend are, with "I'm going to a gelato masterclass on Saturday morning" and then proceed to say "to have gelato for breakfast." That weekend though, I could.
Ever since seeing the fittings out of the gelato parlour a month or so ago, I knew I had to visit when it opened. Prior to the Gelato Master Class that I had the good fortune of attending, I had recently found my new love of strawberry and dark chocolate gelato. It was one of the first flavours that I had tried and one that has ended up in my cup held with gleeful hands more times than I can count.
Accompanied by the lovely ladies The Queen of Bad Timing, Bitchez Who Brunch, Foodie Cravings and Perth Munchkin, we were lead around to the kitchen. This was where we were given the 101 by Mr Gusto owner and chef himself, Sean Lee, on how to make the perfect gelato.
Firstly we were educated on three key differences between ice cream and gelato. Air, fat and temperature. Gelato posseses less air and fat than ice cream and is stored at a warmer temperature. Although these qualities distinguish gelato from icecream, what distinguishes Sean's gelato from others are the amazing flavour profiles he takes such great care in creating.
The processes undertaken to create such magnificent gelato also sets Gusto's apart from so many others. With the use of several different bases, three different types of sugars (sucrose, dextrose and maltodextrin), only the finest natural goods, highest quality seasonal fruits, local dairy products and in-kitchen created pastes, Sean Lee gelato extraordinaire, has cultivated an innovative and alluring gelato, while still maintaining that same respect, care and passion he has had for it since day one.
Ready and waiting for us on the kitchen bench were three bowls of the aforementioned sugars. We taste tested each sugar, with Sean explaining to use the difference in each and how integral it is to weigh and balance the fats and the sugars. With those gelato possessing a high quantity of fat, for example pistachio or hazelnut gelato, it must be balanced with the right amount of sugar - all a mathematical numbers game, one that Sean revels in. We were also fortunate to have a little taste of the homemade hazlenut and pistachio pastes, 100% natural nuts, grinded and whirred up to create the paste that is added to the base to make the delicious gelato in the front freezer cabinet.
Sean moved on to detail on the use of the Valrhona cocoa, of which the Bahibe cocoa sourced from the Dominican Republic, is used to make our very own milk chocolate gelato. The distinct flavour profiles were there, with the way in which the workers have handled and treated the cocoa beans prior to its formation into powder, influencing the texture, colour and flavour of the cocoa.
Those natural and exciting flavour profiles are also the reason behind Sean's choice to purchase specific and expensive vanilla pods in addition to ensuring that 50 - 60% of the gelato is comprised of real fruits. There are no artificial bases used that smell poignantly of fake vanilla, Sean's gelato is all real. Even the apple pie gelato is filled with apple pie made onsite - it's all about the maths and knowing how the apples' compounds will react and change as they cook and ensuring that the fats and sugars add up. You can honestly taste the delicious pastry in every spoonful of ice cream. There's no aftertaste.
One thing that you notice very quickly is just how passionate Sean and his team are about gelato. Doing things from scratch takes much longer, but returns a higher quality product, one that provides a flavoursome experience. Sean loves gelato himself, eating it two to three times a week. Driven by his need for Italian gelato in Perth, he attended Gelato University in Bologna and now finds delight in experimenting with flavours and spreading his love for gelato.
To each batch of strawberry and dark chocolate gelato there are three kilograms of strawberries added, the chocolate flakes are delicious and you can taste the rich cocoa against the sweetness of the strawberries. The strawberry gelato is honestly unlike any I have tried before. It's creamy and smooth, gloriously pink in colour and in no way clashes with the chocolate. I have found that chocolate pieces in ice cream usually develop some sort of greasy film and reacts negatively to the cold. This wasn't the case. The chocolate melted away in my mouth but the Valhrona chocolate was subtle and bitter enough to balance the strawberries.
The art on the walls is a sweet swirl of pastel colours illustrated by Mekel Illustrations that match the fun and bright chairs scattered around and outside the parlour. You can sit near the kitchen and even watch Sean hard at work in the exposed kitchen, as he chops up pineapple or whichever fruit he's decided to add to his mix (but still also thoroughly enjoying his music in the kitchen). You can pop your head through the window and have a chat too, if it's not too busy! The staff are delightfully friendly and willing to let you taste the flavours they have on offer.
There are your usual suspects, vanilla, chocolate and pistachio for example. Then it gets slightly more exotic. Mango and coconut, salted caramel (number one best seller), blueberry yoghurt, lemon lime and bitters, the Gusto (comprised of roasted peanut, chocolate sauce, brownies... my mouth is watering thinking about it), Booze and Moos, pineapple and mint, baked apple pie. And he's not just limited to gelato, he does dabble in sorbets too - try the orange and passionfruit or the mango.
The flavours change with the fruits available and in season, as well as those more exotic flavours rotated every few weeks. Sean and his team are always concocting something different. I look forward to the changing flavours at Gusto - A little Chief Wiggum, based on a famous cartoon cop and his love of doughnuts is rumoured to be the next gelato to hit the store.
Gusto Gelato is a new and welcome addition to the Leederville strip, boasting various concoctions of gelato combinations and coffee. Next door to the Meatball Bar, Gusto Gelato is, as a friend described it "the dream gelato parlour." He isn't wrong. Gusto Gelato is indeed handcrafted happiness in every scoop.
741 Newcastle Street, Leederville
Sunday - Monday: 11am - late