Quick facts about ice cream and gelato
Gelato and ice cream are made by mixing milk, sugar, and cream with other flavouring and additives until they form a smooth paste. Sometimes, eggs are added for additional texture. While they can be eaten on their own, it’s also not uncommon to see them served alongside other dishes like crepes and waffles.
Sometimes people interchange the terms ice cream and gelato, but they’re entirely different things. There are a few small yet crucial differences between the two.
- Ice cream contains more fat (around 10 to 25 percent) than gelato. It has more air and additives for a more versatile product and is served cold for a filling, creamy texture. You can garnish it with things like sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, but you can also eat it by itself.
- Gelato contains less fat (around five to ten percent) than ice cream. It has less air and additives and more food bits like nuts, fruits, and other ingredients. It isn’t served as cold as ice cream, and is lower in calories.
Both gelato and ice cream can be made dairy-free, but not using milk has a noticeable effect on the texture and the flavour of both. If you don’t mind the difference though or can’t drink dairy, there are plenty of stores that offer them!
5 of the best gelato and ice cream shops in Sydney
5. Mövenpick Ice Cream
Location: K17/10 Harbourside, Darling Drive (Darling Harbour) 2000
Specialty: Swiss-inspired ice cream, gelato, and sorbets
Beginning as a small ice cream shop in Zurich in 1948, Mövenpick is known for their intense, flavour-packed desserts. They haven’t shied away from combining unusual flavours with each other such as mochi with crème brûlée.
4. Bellingen Gelato
Location: 688 Darling St., Rozelle 2039
Specialty: Low fat and dairy free gelato, ice cream, and sorbets
For a quick dessert, look no further than the Bellingen Gelato bar. With a constant, revolving selection of old favourites like Peppermint Choc-Chip to Thai Coconut & Pandan, you can always count on this shop to have something for your sweet craving. They also offer catering for parties and events, which is handy if you’re looking to serve gelato in bulk!
3. Rivareno Gelato
Location: 280 Crown Street or 4/33 Barangaroo Avenue
Specialty: Italian artisanal gelato and ice cream
If you’re looking for gelato or ice cream with a unique flavour, try Rivareno. They have the classics like Black Sesame and Chocolate and Vanilla, but they also have super unique selections that will have your tastebuds dancing. With a wide variety of choices from nutty to fruity made fresh every day, this is one gelato store you need to try at least once.
2. Anita Gelato
Location: 180 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, 2026
Specialty: Fat-free and soy-based ice cream and gelato
Anita’s Gelato began as a small mum and son shop in the suburbs twenty years ago, and has since grown into a beloved Sydney favourite. Their flavours are a rich blend of modern and rustic tastes, inspired by the kitchen recipes of Anita herself! Known for its fruity selections like the White Chocolate and Strawberries or the creamy Pistachio Bronte, it’s a delightful combination of succulent toppings and healthy gelato/ice cream bases.
1. Gelato Messina
Location: G6/61 Hall Street, Bondi 2026
Specialty: All-natural and homemade gelato (both soft-serve and cakes)
Gelato Messina grew from a humble Darlinghurst gelato shop in 2002 to a multi-chain sensation that serves some of the best gelato in Sydney. With over 40 flavours in each store, there’s a mixture to suit everyone’s taste for the sweet stuff. All their products are homemade from the gelato to their toppings – they’re one of the few gelato chains to own their own dairy and hazelnut farms.
So the next time you’re craving some rolled ice cream or fruit gelato in Sydney, you know where to go! Treat yourself at any of these shops for a deliciously good time.