Pretty much everyone loves eating ice cream, but not everyone knows where to grab the best kind. Some prefer brand names like Haagen-Dazs or Breyer’s while others prefer the little shop around the corner from their house. Well, in Auckland, the best ice cream I’ve ever had came from a well-known shop called Giapo.
On the last weekend of March, Shivani Rajan, my co-coordinator at AUT, organized a kitchen tour of Giapo, a cutting edge ice cream parlor in the heart of Auckland. We not only got to see behind the scenes of how Giapo Grazioli and his wife and business partner, Annarosa Petrucci Grazioli, come up with their creations, we got to taste some as well!
The first sample we were given to try was avocado and gravy. I know it doesn’t sound the most appetizing, but for some reason, it actually worked! The gravy made it slightly savory, which I could only taste if I thought about it really hard. But the flavors weren’t overpowering at all and if you like pistachio ice cream, you’d definitely get a kick out of this.
Next, we got to see some of the creations Giapo is known for. Annarosa brought out the Colossal Squid and the Auckland Sky Tower, and I was nervous to even touch them. The Squid was inspired by the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum which holds the world’s only display of a colossal squid. Perched on top of a waffle cone sat a miniature chocolate covered squid, complete with arms and tentacles running through the cone. The Sky Tower mimics Auckland’s tallest landmark and is detailed with the Tower’s levels, making it New Zealand’s tallest ice cream.
Using 3D printing technology and meticulous placement, the team at Giapo created two of the most unique ice cream cones I’ve ever seen. By printing out models of both the Sky Tower and the Colossal Squid, the team at Giapo is able to recreate these ice creams perfectly and on demand every time. Both are completely customizable to any flavor which are all made fresh every day in the shop.
Annarosa next brought out two more creations for us to sample: Parāoa Parai (traditional Maori fried bread) with a caramel, hazelnut ice cream and caramelized french fries with coffee ice cream. There’s definitely a fine balance when using sweet and savory flavors but just like the avocado and gravy ice cream, Giapo nailed these combinations as well. While I’m not a fan of coffee in general, the ice cream did taste just like coffee and the Parāoa Parai was soft and slightly sweet, adding something extra to the caramel and hazelnut.
We ended our ice cream outing with my favorite part of the whole tour. Giapo showed us how he makes the New Zealand famous hokey pokey ice cream, which is officially my new favorite flavor. It consists of vanilla ice cream and bits of honeycomb toffee, making for an extremely sweet flavor which is right up my alley. Giapo boiled the honeycomb for about five minutes and then poured it out onto wax paper so it could cool and harden. Annarosa then gave us all our own serving of hokey pokey, covered in a dark chocolate shell.
Complete with both vegan and gluten free menus, Giapo is by far the most innovative ice cream shop I’ve ever stepped into. And, it really helps that their creations are all delicious! From the sweet french fries to the handmade honeycomb, it’s easy to see why Giapo’s ice cream is an Auckland favorite.
Charlotte Williams studies professional writing and psychology. She is a tutor at the Writing Center, a writer and editor for the Center for Publishing, and an editor for Champlain’s literary magazine Willard & Maple.