I'll just put it out there that I'm not a motorsports fan. When Buzz and I found ourselves cruising down Lygon Street, heart of Melbourne's Italian community, with people spilling out of their pavement restaurants onto the street, wandering across the road and posing to have their photograph taken next to the innumerable Ferraris and Lamborghinis that had parked under streetlights on a Saturday night, I swore and began to think that accidental death by motor vehicle was sure to be understandable in the circumstances.
It wasn't until we passed the Ferrari shop with its horses and red flags aflying and afluttering, "Feeling' Hot Hot Hot" pumping out of megabass speakers, that I remembered that it was Grand Prix weekend and not only had I broken a personal rule by driving between Victoria and Alexandra, Rathdowne and Lygon on Saturday night, but that Ferrari had taken it out and all the Ferrari groupies had amassed, magnetised, to their spiritual heartland.
What was it that made me venture into Little Italy in the first place? It sure wasn't the allure of doing blockies with the Commodores. It was, as you may have guessed, food.
Casa del Gelato may not appear from the outside to offer anything particular lip-lickering for vegans. There are, after all, almost as many gelato shops along Lygon as there are pasta places and gentlemen's ponytails. Flourescent lights, sparkling white walls and a vast array of flavours, with a queue three deep - check. Fruit flavours made without lactose - check. But wait! What is that illuminated sign in full view? Does it promise soy based flavour, made without lactose or animal fats, and suitable for vegans? Does it loudly, brightly, prominently placed scream out to me that finally, here may be the sweetie dessert that doesn't force me to order acidic fruity flavours that hurt my tummy? Oh yes! And here's a picture of it!
I ordered four soy based flavours, being baci, hazelnut, pistacchio and coffee, reluctantly leaving chocolate and natural alone. And I had no shame in ordering two thirds of the menu. Each flavour had a lingering soy taste, as you would expect, and each was exactly as promised and bloody bewdiful. Creamy, thick, solid flavours which truly vied with the very best dairy-based flavours I ate pregan in Italy. I could barely pick a favourite, but the pistacchio and hazelnut won a special place in my heart for their clear and fulsome taste. We ate in the mock piazza, a piece of urban planning as naff as it is obvious, and again I showed no shame in slurping out the very bottom of the cup.
Full snaps with both hands to Casa del Gelato. Their soy flavours are well-advertised - with the sign showing that they really understand their market - and they back it up with top notch flavours which are totally lick-worthy. Which I did.
Casa del Gelato
163 Lygon Street, Carlton, Vic
Ph. (03) 9347 0220