After first visit to Piccolo Me, it’s difficult to determine whether they take their name from a translation of the Italian word for small – their adorable hole-in-the-wall setup and a pint-sized coffee hit both coming to mind – or that of the lesser-known woodwind instrument.
Much alike the Pied Piper leading a trail of tiny beings behind him, the growing café chain’s specialties seem to wield a similar power, beckoning foodies near and far. Success for them is in the menu; their unique creations not found anywhere else in Sydney.
One key item reappears several times as you scan the menu for the most weather-appropriate sweet treat: Nutella. Deliciously rich and creamy hazelnut goodness whipped together in a family-run factory found in the hilly region of northwest Italy.
Every creature on this planet – I once saw a squirrel nibbling on some from a tossed-aside jar in Germany – is a fan of the good stuff. Its mother company Ferrero would probably win the title of ‘Best chocolate factory of all time’, runners up Lindt, Cadbury and the completely real Willy Wonka all kicking themselves in jealousy.
But down here in Sydney, titles don’t really matter – it’s all about the flavoursome qualities of a product, and this is where Piccolo Me have found a business winner, now operating seven citywide cafés that stretch from their latest shopfront on the CBD’s King St to Bella Vista in Norwest Business Park.
For the caffeine savvy, there’s the Esprookie – a store-baked choc chip and Nutella cookie cup sprinkled with crushed hazelnuts and accompanied by a hot espresso syringe. It’s ideal for those who mightn’t wish to fill their ‘mug’ to the brim.
Then there’s the equally delectable Nutella Bomb – a thick block of hazelnut chocolate on a stick plated beside a glass of hot milk, which can be made into a hot chocolate or mocha. Slurp this down with their latest creation, the Crotop (Nutella-stuffed mini croissant bite topped with peanut M&Ms or hazelnuts), which is bound to infuriate the most conservative Frenchman alive.
And for the affogato lovers? They’ve got you covered with two menu regulars – the Nutellagato or The Cookiegato (with that delicious choc chip and Nutella cookie base), both complemented with vanilla ice cream, double ristretto and chocolate flakes.
Is your mouth ready to give a few of these a go? You won’t even have to leave your office – a number of Piccolo Me stores do catering.
And then there’s the most important question for any brides-to-be – have you got your wedding catered yet?