The Australian - Wish Magazine - - FOOD -

Kieran Tosolini was on hol­i­day in Italy when he stum­bled across some amaz­ing ge­lato at a place called RivaReno in Turin. In a coun­try lit­er­ally full of thou­sands of gela­terie, this one stuck out. It was all nat­u­ral, stored in the tra­di­tional pozzetti counter (steel cylin­ders with sealed lids) and the flavour was in­cred­i­ble. So much so he sought it out in the next Ital­ian city he went to and the next.

“I thought if they can keep such con­sis­tency and qual­ity and each flavour was ex­actly the same [in the dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions], maybe we could do it in Aus­tralia,” Tosolini tells WISH. “I thought it was a long shot. It was very chal­leng­ing and it has been very dif­fi­cult be­cause we have had to im­port a lot of in­gre­di­ents and get a lot of per­mits. But we made it hap­pen in the end.”

Tosolini opened RivaReno in Dar­linghurst in Syd­ney’s in­ner city three years ago and has just opened an­other store at Baranga­roo. RivaReno was con­ceived in Bologna in 2004 when a group of friends (in­clud­ing two ge­lato mak­ers, an ex BBC jour­nal­ist and a for­mer car sales ex­ec­u­tive) de­cided to open the “best Ital­ian ice-cream lab­o­ra­tory ever”. The name came from the river that runs through the north­ern Ital­ian town. They opened the first one in Mi­lan in 2005, won scores of awards and now there are nine stores around Italy (in­clud­ing Rome and Florence) as well as in Spain, Malta and Aus­tralia.

“It is milk-based and only uses min­i­mal su­gar, ba­si­cally as much as you need to bal­ance the recipe,” ex­plains Tosolini, com­par­ing RivaReno with the av­er­age ge­lato. “It is bal­anced re­ally well – the flavours come through in­stead of hav­ing a sickly sweet taste.”

And it is all about the qual­ity. Tosolini im­ports frozen Ital­ian milk to make the ge­lato and only uses the best in­gre­di­ents; pis­ta­chios from Bronte in Si­cily, hazel­nuts from Pied­mont or red African co­coa beans. In line with the orig­i­nal RivaReno recipes, the ge­lato is made daily and only a few ki­los are made at a time. It is made on­site and stored in a pozzetti (so cus­tomers can­not ac­tu­ally see it) and kept at a slightly warmer tem­per­a­ture than nor­mal ice-cream. “Keep­ing it warmer al­lows you to taste it bet­ter on your palate,” he says. “It seals in the fresh­ness of the taste.”

Tosolini was in fi­nance in his pre­vi­ous life (work­ing for Ernst & Young) but he al­ways knew a desk job wasn’t quite him. His pas­sion for food was sparked by grow­ing up in an Ital­ian house­hold in Syd­ney’s south where the meal prepa­ra­tion was al­most as im­por­tant as the meal it­self. “In­stead of go­ing out with friends, I used to spend all my time off watch­ing cook­ing shows and cook­ing – way be­fore it was cool,” he says of his child­hood. “Back then, I didn’t even tell any­one!”

De­spite swapping his sta­ble job for a life of ge­lato, Tosolini is not sick of it. But he ac­knowl­edges that they still have a long way to go in Aus­tralia. “Peo­ple who come in and try our prod­uct, they un­der­stand, it but the hard­est thing is get­ting peo­ple to try it in the first place. But it is hap­pen­ing more and more now be­cause of word of mouth,” he says. “Ev­ery­one says they make a high­qual­ity prod­uct and use high-qual­ity in­gre­di­ents but we re­ally do and the proof is in the pudding.”

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