For Milanese gelato-maker Andrea Di Fiore, the best compliment he can receive is when an Italian customer says, ''This is just like we have in Italy.''
Moving to Australia in 2010 with his Melbourne-born wife, Camille, Di Fiora worked a series of odd jobs while waiting for his residency visa, hoping to come up with an enterprise that would make use of his masters in business. ''I tried gelato from a mobile van and thought, 'That's not gelato,''' he says. The idea of an Italian-style gelato cart began to take shape.
He imported a traditional Sicilian street-vending cart and customised a trailer to transport it to festivals, markets, weddings and private parties. ''We began the business thinking we would only do festivals but quickly realised people go to festivals to drink. Beer and gelato don't really mix, so we tried some markets where there are lots of families and things took off,'' he says.
To hone his craft Di Fiore enrolled at the Carpigiani Gelato University, in a course taught by Nick Palumbo, owner of Sydney's celebrated Gelato Messina.
Since starting Bianco Latte at the end of 2012, Di Fiore has begun churning out 300 to 400 litres of gelato a week. He has a rotating list of about 30 flavours, and is constantly experimenting with new ones. Unsurprisingly, chocolate is the top-seller, followed by salted caramel. Other popular flavours include passionfruit and lime, hazelnut (made with pure hazelnut paste), and coconut and banana jam (coconut gelato combined with his housemade banana jam).
Di Fiore says many Australians confuse gelato, sorbet and ice-cream. Gelato is milk-based, sorbet is water-based and ice-cream is cream-based. ''Compared with ice-cream, gelato has a lower fat content, creating a more intense flavour,'' he says.
The key to authentic, beautiful gelato, Di Fiore says, is using pure ingredients and not taking short cuts.
Bianco Latte is at Queen Victoria Market most weekends. For location details, see facebook.com/biancolattemelbourne