Sometimes, when it comes to ice cream, we can get a little hyperbolic. But we mean it when we say that in New Zealand, we had the following ice cream experiences: 1) the best of the trip thus far, 2) the most ridiculous in our lives to date, and 3) the healthiest (pictured above, from The Shed at Te Motu: Valrhona Chia Pudding with Sour Cherry-Anise Sorbet and Coconut Meringue).
Island Gelato Company
The best was at this generic but accurately named outdoor counter on Waiheke. This spot is on the main drag and could easily get away with selling the same crappy ice cream found in Provincetown or the Florida Keys or Anytown, Earth, where people eat cones as a fun warm weather activity, not because they take ice cream to be Serious Business. But whoever is making this gelato knows what s/he is doing, for real for real. in our forty or so hours on the island, we went to IGC thrice. The flavors were beautiful and balanced and rich and salty where necessary (it’s usually necessary). During round one, Blake had a sour apple flavor made from apples grown by the couple sitting next to us at the counter, #local #seasonal.
A lot of people count Giapo Ice Cream in Auckland as the best that New Zealand has to offer—including Giapo’s own website, which also describes its wares as “haute ice cream.” You guys, we hated this place sooooooooooo much, our murderous hatred only intensified by the fact that the ice cream itself was delicious. Giapo has remade the scoop shop experience, but they have done it in the most self-serious, precious, and inefficient way possible.
When we arrived post-dinner, there was a line out the door—never a bad sign at an ice cream shop. There were about fifteen people in that line when we joined it; when we got to the counter, we had been waiting forty minutes. After our sampling experience, we understood why. There were a dozen flavors on the menu, many with abstract names, and each patron is encouraged—required?—to sample every single flavor. Before we had said a single word, the ice cream…sommelier presented us each with two samples, neither or which we particularly wanted. The best (and by best we do mean worst) part? The ice cream case is blackened out like the windows on POTUS’ Cadillac. “Chef prefers to remove the sensory experience of sight so as not to influence your decision.” OMG GIAPO, WE HATE YOU SO MUCH.
The predictably expensive ice cream is served up by really lovely scoopers, who help the experience not become total dessert hell. Also the ice cream is excellent whatever who cares. Each flavor comes with its own specific accompaniments, no substitutions or modifications because what is this, Baskin Robbins? Ours was dusted with gold.
Magnum Salted Caramel
We do take ice cream seriously, but we’re not above the occasional mass market bar. Below is some special edition salted caramel flavor coated with silver that we bought in Taupo. Yes, our second ice cream coated in a precious metal in a week. Was it purchased alongside the gas on pump three? Yes. Was it also baller in its own right? Yes. All god’s creatures are beautiful.
In Hastings, MacKenzie ate some feijoa ice cream that tasted like unripe strawberries and that she liked very much, while Blake ate just half the cup pictured below because it was basic as hell.
This dairy brand is all over New Zealand, and it’s hella solid. Pictured below is their nectarine flavor at the impossibly adorable Ponsonby Central in Auckland.