A sweet treat on the street

A sweet treat on the street
Carol Saffer

The Australian version of the Italian tradition of passeggiata, a gentle and slow stroll through the main streets of the city or town, sometimes stopping for gelato, is evident most nights at Lavezzi Gelateria at 334 Lygon St.

It is a fourth-generation business that started in the Italian coastal town of Formia in 1870 when Amalio Lavezzi decided to go to Mount Vesuvius to gather snow for the lemon and coffee gelato sold in his kiosk.

Marketing director and current generation family member Amanda Stafford said night-time trade in the shop was the busiest as things came to life on Lygon St as the sun went down around dinner time.

Her cousin Rafaello, Amalio’s great-grandson, is still selling gelati in Formia nearly 150 years later.

Ms Stafford said their gelato bases were handcrafted from scratch using original recipes and imported Italian ingredients.

We make everything from the ground up, we import all our nuts from overseas hazelnuts from Piedmonte and pistachios from Sicily

“In our Reservoir factory, the nuts are roasted and then milled to a 100 per cent pure nut paste as the base for our gelati which is all-natural and preservative-free and, for our sorbets, we use seasonal Australian-grown fruits.”

“We also roast coffee beans, and sometimes we have fun with cheeky flavours like gingerbread over the Christmas season, and mojitos or Aperol spritz throughout the summer.”

For nearly 15 years, the main focus of the business was importing cakes, and five years ago, when an opportunity presented itself in Eastland to set up a gelateria, it was used as a guinea pig to test the market.

“It went really well, so we decided to open in Carlton,” Ms Stafford said.

“My dad spent most of his childhood growing up on Lygon St, so it meant a lot to us to open our Carlton store about four years ago.”

“We plan to have at least another two stores open in the next 18 months.”

Their signature gelati is their nut-based flavours bacio, pistachio, nocciola, and in the sorbet range, their vegan-friendly dark chocolate sorbet and lemon are top favourites.

“I know these are traditional flavours, but it is what we do well.” •

For more information lavezzi.com.au

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