A Day Behind The Scenes at Messina HQ
From dreaming up new product ideas and collaborations to making and baking every single item you eat in your scoops, our HQ is where ice cream dreams are made, and a lot more in between.
Messina HQ has been in Rosebery since 2014. After finding an old factory big enough to house our first-ever production facility, warehouse, office and store, it’s now the hub of all Gelato Messina goings on and a place we’ve been slowly filling up with new machines and things to make ever since.
Inside the 100ft building you’ll find our gelato production facility, in-house bakery, chocolate and dulce de leche being made, some verrrry big and cold freezers, a classroom, an office and a fully functioning store. On an average day you’ll find 20+ chefs making everything for our gelato from scratch, plus the rest of the marketing, operations, accounting teams and Gelato Messina owners.
5am: Messina Milk gets delivered from our farm
Each week we're sent up around 14 pallecons (each one contains a tonne of fresh jersey milk) from our farm in Numurkah, Victoria, home to the 450 jersey cows who produce all the milk we use in our gelato. They’re only milked once a day, and are completely pasture-fed, which means they produce amazing creamy milk, just what we need!
5.30AM: ALE ARRIVES TO START MAKING OUR DULCE DE LECHE (ALE IS THE SON OF DANNY PALUMBO, ONE THE OWNERS, WHO’S WORKED AT GELATO MESSINA FOR FIVE YEARS NOW).
We produce dulce de leche from scratch in our specially imported Paila machine three times a week. We’ve perfected our recipe to make it the Argentine way and use the dulce for everything from a ‘caramel’ in our gelato, to selling it in jars and toppings in our stores. Ale needs to get a head start before the gelato and pastry team arrive - we make on average about 50 tonnes of dulce de leche a year, so there’s a lot to do!
6am: Doors Roll Up
Our Warehouse team rolls up the loading dock door and starts packing for their daily delivery to our stores. Inside our giant coolroom, they pick and pack the gelato bases which have been made from scratch the previous day for each of our flavours. You won’t find any pre-made pastes or bases here - we’ve been perfecting our unique recipes for nearly 20 years.
7am: Bake it Right
The gelato team and pastry team arrive to start the day's production - they make everything right through from the actual gelato to all our gelato cakes, pastries, brownies, cookies, and special products.
Every morning our Head Chef, Tom and his team meet in the development kitchen to discuss what they’ll be making that day and any product development which needs to be tackled that week.
8am: Gelato production is now in full swing
Lovingly nicknamed ‘Big Mumma’, we’ve tweaked and improved our pasteuriser to help us make the best product we possibly can. Every day, the gelato team produces nearly 4000ltrs of freshly pasteurised gelato base which is sent to stores to churn into gelato.
10am: The Berries Drop
We grow our own strawberries in Dural, NSW which we pick and bring back to Gelato Messina HQ during peak season. They arrive fresh from the farm and ready to be processed - they’re washed and hulled, then pureed or added straight into the gelato. Our strawberries are some of the sweetest, and juiciest strawberries we’ve ever tasted - and that’s thanks to ‘The King of Strawberries’ giving us a helping hand!
11am: Rosebery Store At The Ready
Rosebery store staff arrive to start setting up the shop - they have 40 flavours they need to ‘mound’ into beautiful pots ready for the customers to choose from when the store opens at 12pm.
11.30am Cookie Pies Get Baked!
We’ve recently launched a new range of ‘Bake at Home’ items which our pastry team make in the kitchen ready to be popped in your home oven, and eaten with a large scoop of vanilla. Each Cookie Pie is made from scratch, then weighed, portioned and packaged up to be sent to the stores. Maria is in charge of our Pastry team and has been making sure everything is ship-shape in this department for over 6 years!
12pm: First Scoop of the Day
The store opens and the scooping starts - first opened as an add on to the factory, the Rosebery store has grown to be our busiest store!
12.30pm Time for a break - Nonna has cooked meatballs for lunch.
Carla, who is Nick & Danny Palumbo’s (two of the Messina owners) mum, comes in and cooks for us three times a week - we’re totally spoiled. When Nonna’s not cooking we’re also lucky enough to have some friends and neighbours at The Cannery who make lunch for us like Banh Xeo Bar and Frenchies. Lunch is a whole office affair and a nice break for all departments to sit down and eat together.
1pm Back to Work and Gelato Cake Making Starts
We have 9 handmade gelato cakes which we make here at Rosebery and sell in our stores, plus a new range of ‘mini cakes’ which are all made by our in-house team. There’s filling, glazing and piping galore to get the cakes ready and finished in time.
2pm Creative Meeting
The Marketing and Kitchen teams put their heads together to brainstorm new launches and name upcoming flavours.
3pm Chocolate Making & Hazelnut Roasting
We’ve recently moved our chocolate machine to front and centre in our classroom so customers can see it. We make all our own chocolate in-house using an Ecuadorian blend and use it for everything - from choc chips in our gelato, to cake glazing and filling.
At the moment we also produce a small number of our own hazelnuts from our farm in Seymour Victoria, which we now roast ourselves for special products like the Archie Rose x Messina Cacao Husk & Hazelnut Whisky. We grow 4 types of hazelnuts which are suitable for our climate and region - Tonda Di Giffoni, The Lewis, TBC 20% and The Barcelona, all blended and manually roasted to give our preferred flavour profile. Until we can grow enough of our own, we also use the very best tondi di gentili dele lange variety from Cortemilia in the Piedmont region of Italy for all of our hazelnut gelato and additions.
4pm Churning for The Store
Each store has what we call a ‘churning machine’ and a ‘Churner’ who is the person who operates it. At Rosebery, we churn for the store and any gelato we need in the kitchen for cakes or special items. The liquid base which the gelato team have made earlier in the day, is poured in the ‘churning machine’ which turns it into gelato. Any baked editions or sauces (also made by our pastry team) are layered in during churning to create the perfect scoop.
5pm We’re Outta Here!
Home time for the kitchen team - that’s enough for one day!
7pm The After-Dinner Rush
Customers start to arrive for their after-dinner scoops. Dulce de Leche and Tiramisu are the favourite scoops at the moment, but since we’ve launched Messina Toppings, our Vanilla gelato (which uses the amazing Heilala Vanilla found in Archie Rose x Messina Vanilla & Pandan Vodka) has become increasingly popular. Once you have a bottle of Choc Hazelnut or Peanut Butter Topping in your cupboard, it doesn't last long!
10.30pm That’s a Wrap
After customers have scooped all they can scoop, the store closes around 10.30pm, and we’re ready to do it all again tomorrow. So much goes on within our HQ every single day, with a lot of moving parts. One thing is always a constant, though, and that’s the best gelato we can make, with every detail considered. Especially, of course, deliciousness.
Messina’s Fast Five
Most played song in the office…
Metronomy Salted Caramel Ice Cream - that’s a recent one which is very fitting! Declan is incharge of the music in the stores and has recently made some new playlists (we’re a bit behind on this month!)
Overheard at the Messina HQ today…
“What’s for lunch?” ...it’s always on everyone’s mind
How many litres of ice cream does Messina make a day?
About 4000 ltrs per day
How many Jersey cows does Messina have at their farm and how much milk do they produce annually?
450+ at the moment - they produce over a million litres of milk per year!