For a long, long time I have been admiring the Mario Brothers-style mushroom-shaped dessert in the window of Gelato Messsina.
I would pass by on some boring Tuesday night and see four or five mushroom desserts, with their big red heads and white comic book-type spots, in the big showcase freezer, and I would try and dream up reasons to buy one.
Surely it would make an ideal birthday present. Or perhaps I could buy one to take into work for my colleagues to enjoy.
But there was always the melt factor. A frozen, gelato dessert would never last the distance.
And then Messina Laboratorio opened up next door.
Messina Laboratorio, or Messina Lab for short, is like the weird Willy Wonka side of the traditional Gelato Messina, where the ice-cream makers go a bit kooky and make big crazy stuff and miniatures of stuff, such as hamburgers (above left) or the strange (usually much bigger) Mario Brothers' mushrooms (below centre).
So when it opened a few months ago, I had my heart set on the mini mushroom - I could eat it on my own; no need for a birthday present or other reason.
I had to have one.
But then I was on some stupid detox for a while and it seemed revoltingly indulgent to go in and buy the mini mushroom purely for myself.
Until last night, that is.
Last night, I thought, "stuff it, I deserve the $9.90 mushroom", and so I bought one and carried it home like precious cargo, put it in the freezer and forgot about it for four hours until I got the munchies about 11pm.
That was when I pulled the box out of the freezer . . .
opened it up . . .
photographed the mushroom . . .
put it on a plate . . .
and started to eat it.
The mushroom crown is all chocolate gelato with a caramel centre, then there is the vanilla gelato mushroom stem, which grows out of a "moss" of green crackly stuff, which has the same effect in your mouth as Magic Gum, that weird pop-in-your-mouth chewing gum you may have had as a child.
Eating the mushroom, known as "Mini Me", was a bit of a production, and had me interested at every spoonful, unlike the usual bowl of ice cream or gelato in a cone, which still has me excited, just not switched on.
It is not the most dainty thing to eat - especially when you get down to the green moss, crackling base - but I still devoured it pretty quickly.
Messina Creative Department
Laboratorio and Patisserie
243 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 8354 1223