Giapo has been an Auckland fixture for over five years now. When we were last there, queues stretched out the door and the place was always buzzing when the rest of Queen Street was sleeping.

Needless to say, I was excited to get this tweet from owner and head chef, Gianpaulo Grazioli:

Experience Giapo from A to Z? Sounds tasty! But what we didn’t expect was a sneak peek at a whole new category of dessert; one that had been made less than half a dozen times, and is being released this summer.

To listen, hit play below or find episode 295 in iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud:

The Giapo kitchen

The Giapo kitchen starts work before dawn and makes just enough ice cream for the day. Nuts come from South Island orchards, sugar is milled into raw cacao for chocolate, a pâtissière works on macarons while cones are individually created and decorated, and vanilla pods are fished out of pans full of cream. It’s a full kitchen dedicated only to ice cream.

We watched over a batch of hokey pokey being made: the traditional New Zealand toffee-crunch ice cream. The ingredients were mixed and brought to a carefully controlled temperature, then one last ingredient was added, resulting in an explosive reaction and enough hokey pokey for the day.

Giapo’s artist in residence

When a business is paying chefs to work through the morning to make ice cream, you know this isn’t a standard dessert stand. Who’s responsible? Meet Gianpaulo Grazioli – owner and artist in residence.

The Plated Cone

AKA the future of ice cream

Giapo claims to be the first in the world when it comes to the quality and style of their deluxe cones, but they’ve gone a step further with another world first: the Plated Cone.

Being released in the summer of 2013/14, the plated cone comprises the universe in an ice cream. A flat, chocolate-covered waffle disk is added to a cone of the same material, then glued together with chocolate. On top of this is added decorations — in this case, chocolate, gold, vegan fruit gums, macarons — creating a landscape of planets, moons and stars.

It was both exciting and humbling being behind the scenes at Giapo. At times it felt like a Michelin-starred kitchen which only made ice cream; at others, like touring an industrial design lab with the head engineer; and then again like wandering around an artist’s workshop. In any case, they’re on the way to achieving their goal: making New Zealand as famous for its ice cream as it is for its dairy produce.

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