Because one slice is never enough: the Viennetta makes a triumphant return

Gelato Messina's Messinetta, which sold 1000 units in less an hour.
Gelato Messina's Messinetta, which sold 1000 units in less an hour. Photo: Supplied

From baggy jeans to claw clips, the 80s are back (again) with beautiful vengeance. 

One cult classic that's undergone a particularly holy resurrection is the Viennetta dessert, created by British ice-cream company Wall's and forever associated with affordable luxury. 

Australian demand for the Viennetta – with its rippling ice-cream layers separated by compound chocolate – has increased by 50 per cent in the past 12 months, says Streets marketing manager Annie Lucchitti.

Australian demand for the Viennetta has increased by 50 per cent in the past 12 months.
Australian demand for the Viennetta has increased by 50 per cent in the past 12 months. Photo: Supplied

Lucchitti credits this surge to the power of positive association. "Every family has a Viennetta story, and everyone is just looking for that bit of joy," she says. "There may be more indulgent offers out there, but the Viennetta is that simple piece of happiness."

Viennetta quickly became synonymous with dinner parties and special occasions when it hit supermarkets in 1982. Streets' Australian version is currently made in Portugal and retails for $6.60.

The dessert can also be found in Italy, Israel, Japan, Finland, Austria, Greece and Thailand. A petition signed by more than 75,000 Viennetta fans led to the sweet treat's return to Indonesia in last year, where it was removed from the market in the early 2000s. 

Viennetta slice The Old Fitzroy Hotel Brasserie in Woolloomooloo.
Viennetta slice The Old Fitzroy Hotel Brasserie in Woolloomooloo.  Photo: James Brickwood

It's not just Australia and Indonesia that have gone Viennetta mad either. US consumers hadn't seen the dessert in freezers for almost 30 years until fan demand let to its American return in January.

This unleashed a new wave of cultural obsession for the mid-priced delicacy. Even model and TV presenter Chrissy Tiegen praised the Viennetta's return to her 13.6 million Twitter followers in April.

Back in Australia, jazzed-up riffs of the dessert have been spotted at Pilot restaurant in Canberra and Woolloomooloo's Old Fitz brasserie, where chef Anna Ugarte-Carral serves a wedge of ice-cream parfait criss-crossed with nuts and chocolate.

Advertisement

At Mimi's in Coogee, pastry sous chef Elodie Marion has championed the Viennetta in a super luxe take on the family-sized staple featuring double vanilla, dark chocolate and wattleseed sprinkle.

For Marion, the secret to her version is its simplicity. "We started off playing with different flavours, but in the end we went with the classic vanilla and chocolate," she says.

"We want to trigger that nostalgic feeling and create the same excitement and joy associated with the original when people try ours.

Pastry Chef Elodie Marion with her version of the Viennetta at Mimi's in Coogee.
Pastry Chef Elodie Marion with her version of the Viennetta at Mimi's in Coogee.  Photo: Janie Barrett

"If we were having friends over growing up I knew that meant my parents were going to crack open the Viennetta. It felt like the most extravagant thing in the world."

Gelato Messina is also getting a slice of the action with its limited-time-only Messinetta. Debuting in October, the Messinetta comes in a one-litre tub filled with fior di latte gelato, choc-chips and chocolate fudge, topped with piped vanilla chantilly and a chocolate-velvet spray. 

When the Messinetta was brought back for a second run this February, Messina sold 1000 units in less than one hour. The tub's success was so astronomical that a Messina spokesperson hinted to The Sun-Herald that the gelato giant is working on a new Messinetta product to be released later this year.

Chocolate Viennetta packaging circa 1998.
Chocolate Viennetta packaging circa 1998. Photo: Jon Reid

In the meantime: Viennetta beer

Known for experimenting with taste and flavour, Victorian brewery Dainton Beer has unleashed the Vienneipa, an IPA inspired by the Viennetta's vanilla, chocolate and cream. 

The beer was created after the team at Dainton were reminiscing on the "fancy ice-cream cake", says Dainton Beer's head of sales Todd Barac.

Vienneipa by Dainton Beer, inspired by "fancy ice-cream cake".
Vienneipa by Dainton Beer, inspired by "fancy ice-cream cake". Photo: Supplied

"You were so lucky if you managed to have one on a special occasion in the 80s and 90s. We thought 'how cool would it be to revive that in a beer?'." 

Since they rolled the Vienneipa to market in March, it has become popular with punters who "couldn't believe how close our brewers got to the real thing", says Barac. "It's a little reminder of simpler times."