Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Rise and Rise of Massimo's

Recognise the sign? Massimo's Gelateria is famous in Noosa. It is the kind of place that, on a summer's day, is packed out with lines trailing down the street. Like any seaside haunt, Noosa features about 5 other ice cream shops in Hastings Street alone. But the crowds flock to Massimos. According to the locals, anyone that eats ice cream elsewhere are obviously tourists (darling). Massimo's is so trendy it is featured in some artworks hanging in David Halls' Gallery in Noosa and is highlighted as one of THE places you must go whilst holidaying in Qld's answer to Double Bay. For an ice cream shop- this sure is a reputation. It got me thinking- how does an ice cream shop have such a cult following? Is Ice cream something that is a symbol of childhood, does it represent summer holidays, family time and something spesh?

I guess my experience with ice cream is very different to the norm. I am ALLERGIC to ice cream... Can you believe it? I know- I am not great on dairy products but something in the process of ice cream makes it a hell of a lot worse. My tummy starts to expand and harden. Maybe a bit too much information for you- but it does help to explain why I simply cannot and will not eat the stuff. Haven't since I have been about ten years old. Sigh.

I can relate though, because my experiences seem to be with fuity ice versions of the ice cream. Even to this day eating a frosty fruit takes me back to when Granny would give my sisters and I $20 in a little bag to take on holidays. We could choose to spend this money however we liked, but a large majority of my cash went to buying icy poles at the caravan pack shop near our holiday house in Nambucca Heads.

Thinking about ice cream/poles made me nostalgic. Quite often in the early 90's - ice cream was the dessert of choice. Apple pie with ice cream, neopolitan ice cream, ice creams at the town pool or from the surf life saving club. Ice cream cakes, ice cream with ice magic, ice cream in milk shakes. Ice cream when you have your tonsils out, ice cream sundaes, ice cream and fruit salad, the ice cream man. Ice cream cream when you are sad, ice cream when you are happy and ice cream when there was just nothing else.

Now Massimo's offer gelati and sorbet and there are obvious technical differences, but you get my point.

One thing is for sure- this isn't the late 80's/ early 90's so you won't get much change from a $20 if you are buying a couple of icecreams but Massimo's do offer a wide range of milk based and fruit based gelati.

I had the sorbet (obviously) and went for the rockmelon flavour on top of lime- I'm not sure how much this was probably about $5 or $6. My main pie, who is an ice cream lover, went the full milk option and had the chocolate and the pistachio. My rockmelon was a goer. The flavour had good depth and it tasted just like real rockmelon. My lime was a little underwhelming. I couldn't help but feel that there could have been some additional flavour packed in to make the ice come alive in my mouth- as the Massimo's reputation suggests it would. C was also a little underwhelmed with his choices feeling that they could have been better. This is not the first time we have eaten at Massimo's and it also is not the first time we have come away wondering if a) we ordered the wrong flavours and b) (heaven forbid there is a Massimo cultist reading this) Massimo's really is THAT much better than the other ice cream shops around. C reckons some of the other chain (gasp) stores are better and I think they are pretty much on par. Don't get me wrong- their ice cream is still good- really good, but to me it just doesn't justify or explain the fascination with Massimo's.

Massimo's is the only non chain ice creamery in Hastings street so I give them kudos for this and I'm pretty sure this had added to their popularity. It's no fun taking a skip down memory lane in a commercialised venue that just doesn't have the seaside, laid back, kinda vibe. I'm also not privvy to Massimo's gelati making methods- them seem to have some pretty indivual flavours that are obviously seasonal but i'm not sure if they are all made on site although I suspect they are.

When thinking about ice cream, it dawned on me that maybe ice cream is not the soul reason Massimo's is so popular. They not only sell frozen desserts but they also include the cold ice cream headache with the sticky, quickly melting liquid that runs down your hands- or in essence -the experience. Most importantly, they present you a memory and a little piece of authenticity in a cone that tastes as good today as it did when you were five. Well done Massimo's. There are very few places that have captured the same amount of love, loyalty and adoration and if the lines are anything to go by- Massimo's are going to be serving a little piece of your childhood for a long time to come.

Massimo's Gelateria
75 Hastings Street
Noosa 4567
07 5474 8033
Massimo's Gelateria on Urbanspoon

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