Giapo, Ice Cream as You've Never Seen It Before
This artwork of an ice cream isn't just any chocolate gelato; it is showcasing chocolate in four forms. There is chocolate gelato, chocolate mousse, chocolate bark and chocolate nibs – plus freeze-dried plum pieces. This is the ultimate experience for any serious chocolate lover, and this is my advice: one stylish photograph, and then eat it before it melts.
Now, we didn't travel to Giapo only to try the gelato (although we enjoyed doing a lot of that); we also had the chance to talk to the owners, Giapo himself, and his wife Annarosa. Both were lovely - so much so that they politely ignored the ice cream mess I made throughout the interview, apart from when they were offering me handfuls of babywipes and napkins.
I asked Giapo if his gelato was made from an Italian family recipe, and he shook his head; he is entirely self-taught, and the gelato he makes today has been formed through years of experimentation and testing. “Nothing from mum,” he said, smiling. It’s all him, Annarosa, and their committed team of 25 chefs and employees.
As well as the commitment put into their ice cream, what makes Giapo stand out is the belief that making gelato is an art form as well as a science, and that a wide range of haute techniques can be used to make a simple, fresh dessert sophisticated and completely new again.
I know people from other parts of New Zealand who travel to Giapo as soon as they arrive in Auckland. Giapo has become famous, and it’s filled even in winter. But when I ask Giapo about their success, he just shrugs it off – it’s taken them eight years to become what they are today, but this isn’t an endpoint. There is constant evolution; the only thing that remains the same is the constant goal of making the best product – and the best art – possible. That, and their aim to use local New Zealand ingredients, and to use our lovely country as constant inspiration.
Giapo has recently created delicious gluten-free and dairy-free cones from egg whites, almond meal and sugar, to keep the gelato experience crisp and delicious (no nasty rice flour to detract from your ice cream!). We tasted one filled with peanut butter gelato, and topped with soft meringue and gold-brushed hazelnuts.
The most popular dish right now is the ice cream-filled Yorkshire pudding; it's about as indulgent and delicious as it sounds. Ours was filled with vanilla bean ice cream and stewed rhubarb, and I instantly fell in love. Another wonderfully unexpected ice cream is the doughnut ice cream - and it's also Giapo's favourite. One thing we've learned is that Giapo is constantly changing, creating new, innovative ways to serve ice cream; you'll never walk in and think, "Oh well, I guess I'll just have the plain vanilla cone again..."
Even the cones alone are fabulous.
After all of this thought, love and care, we've got to know what the mission is. So? It's to make New Zealand famous for its ice cream. That’s something I can certainly get on board with.