Cult favourites Messina and Little Bao are bringing Hong Kong the sweet, nostalgic scoop it deserves with two limited-edition flavours available only for three weeks this summer.
Known for its expectation-pushing collaborations with brands all over Australia, Messina prides itself on bringing innovative ideas and the nonsensical to life in a smile-inducing gelato form.
Little Bao has been raising the bar on food in the city since its inception, slinging Hong Kong’s favourite bao since 2013.
With their shared alignment of core values, the two come together for Messina Hong Kong’s first culinary crossover.
The result is a product inspired by the local food scene while remaining true to the shared backbone of using only top-quality ingredients.
In the name of gelato and making people happy, Black Sheep Restaurants’ Group Pastry Chef Karys Logue and Little Bao’s celebrated Chef-founder May Chow have designed two custom, limited-edition flavours for this summer’s collaboration.
First up is the distinctly Hong Kong Lil’ Bean gelato (main image), infused with fermented black bean or dou si (豆豉). To produce its robust and full flavour, the beans are rehydrated in warm water before blending. Lil’ Bean is accompanied by a dou si shortbread, made by mixing fermented beans with sugar and butter, while hazelnut flour is used to add a nuttiness to the cookie.
Second, Messina x Little Bao introduces Se’same But Different, a toasted white sesame gelato topped with a crunchy chilli crisp. The gelato begins with a sesame paste, prepared in-house by toasting and grinding the sesame seeds. The chilli crisp is made by tossing feuilletine with chilli-infused butter, sugar, honey and freshly chopped chilli. After being baked to a perfect crisp, it is coated in a mix of chilli oil and cocoa butter. A generous drizzle of gooey soy sauce caramel, made using local favourite Kowloon Soy Company’s premium soy sauce, adds a salty-sweet twist.
Starting 30 June, both of Messina x Little Bao’s flavours will be available as limited-edition Hong Kong specials alongside Messina’s 35 classic flavours at the Pottinger Street shop ($60 one scoop; $75 two scoops; $90 three scoops available in cone or cup). Team Little Bao is serving up both flavours in their SoHo and Causeway Bay shops with a twist, kicking off with a launch event on Sunday, 3 July at Little Bao SoHo.
Try the Se’Same But Different Gelato Bao ($48), sandwiched between the classic crispy mini bao with a soy caramel drizzle and extra chilli crunch, or the Lil’ Bean Waffle, shown above, and priced at $98, or a double scoop delight on a Belgian charcoal waffle with fresh cream, banana, and mini cookies for garnish.
“We wanted to create something very local, very authentically Hong Kong,” comments Logue on the creative process, “May was really enthusiastic about taking different elements of sweet and savoury cuisine, combining them together and trying every possible combination,” even going as far as experimenting with hot sauce and pork skin.
“At Little Bao, we love twisting things, finding new ways to showcase ingredients we all know and love. Using rich Kowloon Soy Sauce and fermented black bean is just another way we like to infuse a unique, creative spirit into our food,” Chow adds.
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