Two scoops of Moro Gelato
Heine van Wyk and Stefano Moro live so high up in one of Long Street’s mixed-use buildings in Cape Town that the apartment can’t be seen from the road. Modest in size, it’s nonetheless abundant in everything for which the city has become known among the international fashion pack: light, views and, of course, location.
The balcony of the one-and-a-half-bedroom corner apartment is bursting with succulents of every shape, size and colour – plants are something for which former model Heine has an absolute passion, and the couple couldn’t imagine living in Cape Town without that connection to nature.
The floor-to-ceiling wraparound windows create the effect of being in a glass chamber above the CBD. ‘We look out onto Signal Hill and Lion’s Head. When all the window-doors are open, it feels like our lounge is hanging in the open air,’ says Heine.
When they bought the apartment in 2009, they did so with the intention of spending half the year here and the other half in Europe. As a prolific fashion photographer, an important box that Italian-born Stefano needed to tick when house-hunting was that their home had to be good for business. ‘We needed an apartment in the centre of town, a lock-up-and-go that was close enough to hotels, modelling agencies and photographic studios for my international clients,’ says Stefano.
Once the apartment was theirs, the process of injecting their personalities into the space and capitalising on the home’s enviable surrounds began. ‘The apartment was new when we bought it, with the typical stock-standard accessories – downlighters, white walls, tiled floors and curtains,’ says Stefano. ‘We stripped all of this away and set about making it feel more personal.’
They discovered that the bulkheads carrying the dreaded downlighters were hiding high concrete-block ceilings with an interesting retro feel.
Also, instead of having the main living area centred around the lounge, they focused theirs outwards, towards the views. ‘We don’t watch a lot of TV so our couches face the windows that look onto Signal Hill and Lion’s Head. Its nature’s show, and one that’s slightly different with every sunset,’ says Stefano.
Their eclectic tastes, which range from European and Asian antiques to a Karoo farm-style dining table, give the space a sophisticated and varied global aesthetic, while the mirrored Art Deco-style cabinetry that lines the living-room wall makes the space feel bigger and airier.
‘Life is too short to have bad ice-cream. Our authentic Italian gelato is made in the traditional way with the best local ingredients’ – Heine van Wyk
‘When decorating, we decided to put a bit of our respective souls into it, with the furniture each of us loves from different parts of the world,’ says Heine.
They put an equal amount of passion into their business, Moro Gelato, which has brought them back to Cape Town on a more permanent basis. They learned the craft of making authentic Italian gelato from Stefano’s family, but even Heine, who’s Afrikaans, has become quite the connoisseur. ‘It’s been a part of Stefano’s life since he was a child. His grandfather was one of the first in the early 1980s in Italy to get a domestic gelato-making machine, and his grandmother became an expert in homemade gelato,’ says Heine.
When they decided to turn this universal pleasure into a business, they went to Bologna to learn from the gelato-making masters. To go with their generations of gelato wisdom and treasured family recipes, Heine enrolled in an online website-building course, and after they landed in Cape Town he did another one through UCT in small business management. All this homework resulted in a brand, a website and logo, and premises at the very trendy Mason’s Press development in Woodstock.
‘Woodstock is close to home, and is an area with lots of new energy, mainly because of the young businesses that put in a lot of hard work and are very creative. It’s a neighbourhood that has a lot of potential for synergy and collaboration,’ says Stefano.
Heine and Stefano only sell their artisanal product to a few local restaurants, and at the Oranjezicht City Farm market and Lourensford Harvest Market on weekends, preferring to keep the scale small for now; even their shop at Mason’s Press is open only for a few hours on Thursdays or by appointment.
The gelato is made using the freshest natural and local ingredients. ‘Our product is fresh and made in small batches, as the artisanal manner requires. That’s how we’re able to avoid adding preservatives and vegetable or hydrogenated fats,’ Stefano explains. ‘We would never sell food that our grandmas wouldn’t recognise as edible.’
And with choices like marchese (made from macadamia butter and homemade caramelised almonds), pawpaw and Black Forest sorbets, and portofino (cream with a cherry sauce), it’s a sure bet his grandparents would be proud.
Stefano’s ideal foodie day
- 8am Breakfast at Skinny Legs and All in Loop Street.
- 12:30pm Lunch at Giulio’s Cafe in Loop Street.
- 3pm Coffee at Haas in Buitenkant Street.
- 5pm Beer and snacks with friends at The Village Idiot.
- 9pm Dinner at Bukhara.
- Moro Gelato: morogelato.co.za
- Skinny Legs and All: skinnylegsandall.co.za
- Giulio’s Café: giulios.co.za
- Coffee at Haas: haascollective.co.za
- The Village Idiot: thevillageidiot.co.za
- Bukhara: bukhara.com
Text: Genevieve Putter
Photographs: Micky Hoyle