A BOUTIQUE backyard Gelato maker has claimed a top award at the 2016 Perth Royal Dairy Show.
Mimmo's Gourmet Gelato was named Best Small Other Dairy Product Maker at last week's dairy dinner Show award-winners announcement.
The best other dairy product award covers all dairy products apart from cheese.
Mimmo's Honeycomb Bliss won the Champion Gelati award and a gold award, and Mimmo's Cheesecake Meringue, Bacio and Red Velvet flavours also won gold.
"This is a great achievement by a small local producer," said dairy show chief steward John Watson.
Mimmo's first entered in 2014 and won five silver awards, before winning eight silver last year and another six this year to go with its gold, champion and best awards.
Its gelato and sorbets are made to order for selected restaurants, wineries and functions and for specialist retail outlets Tubs Gourmet Gelato, Guildford, and Scoop Gelato and Crepes, Mundaring.
Domenico Sabatino is Mimmo - it is his Italian nickname - and he produces his gelato in a shed behind his Helena Valley home.
It is not just any shed, but a specially-equipped, licensed commercial kitchen just for making Italian-style ice cream and desserts.
Mr Sabatino learned the art back in Naples as a lad from the age of 9 or 10, washing dishes after school in a pasticceria with seven chefs.
"The old chefs had their secrets, they wouldn't tell you what they did, but I used to watch them and I learned from that - it stuck with me all these years," Mr Sabatino said.
He came to Australia on holiday in 1984, met his future wife Teresa and stayed.
He spent the next 22 years in the manufacturing industry applying protective coatings before deciding to revive his gelato making skills and turn them into a business.
"I use Harvey Fresh milk and cream bought from the shop, but I try to source all the fruit and natural ingredients fresh, of course, and local when I can," Mr Sabatino said.
"When it comes to flavours, your imagination is the only limit.
"I work with the chefs at the restaurants I supply to develop new flavours."
The neighbourhood children also provide inspiration and he uses them and his family as taste testers for new flavours.
"I enjoy experimenting with flavours for young children," he said.
"The children next door say, 'can you make this, can you make that?' and they are my guinea pigs, I try out new flavours on them."
He has just taken delivery of a gelato cart in bright orange, Mimmo's corporate colour.
The cart is based on a traditional Italian design and might help his award-winning dairy treats win more public attention.
York Ice Cream Co's Jarrah Honey was named Champion Ice Cream and the company also won gold for its Espresso flavour.
Mundella Foods' much-awarded Greek Vanilla Yoghurt received another champion award and it won gold in the yohurt and cheese sections.
Harvey Fresh and Bannister Downs Dairy both won champion and gold awards for their milks - Jersey Girl Milk was a winner for Harvey Fresh and Mango Smoothie in the flavoured section for Bannister Downs, which also won a champion award for its cream.
Best Small Cheese Maker Award was won by Porongurup Pure, Mount Barker, for its Labneh product.
Mr Watson said cheese entries increased significantly this year with the competition very close and to the highest standards.
The awards for chocolate had many entries, with local makers demonstrating initiative in flavour combinations, he said.
Champion Chocolate Award was won by The Margaret River Chocolate Company, Metricup, for its Vodka and Chilli Truffle, which scored 99 out of a possible 100 points.
"This is the highest score for many years," Mr Watson said.
More than 400 products were judged by a team of 12 judges under the direction of international chief dairy judge Russell Smith and local chocolate chief judge Roy Southworth.