A sign out the back of Giapo Ice Cream (now at 12 Gore Street) in Auckland says “Don’t be normal” and it is clear this is a philosophy Head chef and owner Gianpaolo Grazioli lives by. Originally from Italy, Gianpaolo says he was born to be a chef. The ice cream shop/factory, although neither of these words accurately describes Giapo, has been open for five years.
Gianpaolo and his wife came to New Zealand for a holiday and fell in love with the country so decided to stay. It was not ice cream that drives Gianpaolo but the creativity and pursuit of producing the very best product from the very best ingredients. Ice cream just happens to be his muse and a little more accessible because had Gianpaolo and his wife opened a restaurant with such pursuit of excellence and drive for constant creativity very few of us would be able to afford to taste what Gianpaolo can produce.
I arrived at Giapo on an ordinary Thursday morning and although not open yet it is humming. This place is tiny, just 50sqm which include the ice cream shop. It’s even tinier considering there are eight chefs working here making absolutely everything that goes into their ice cream.
And when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING! From the butter and yoghurt, to the hokey pokey and chocolate. I even think if he could Gianpaolo would milk the cows for the milk too. The ever changing varieties of ice creams are made fresh every day. They have to; one because they sell out every day and two, because there is no room to store them.
Every year Gianpaolo and the team create over 1200 flavours. Before my very eyes I see a Sangria flavour being tested and tasted, then its earl grey. While that is going on fresh waffle cones are being made by scratch, popcorn is being popped, caramel made, edible flowers sugared and dehydrated for garnish, the list goes on!
With ice cream still the focus Gianpaolo now says he is looking to invent more than just new flavours. He has successfully mastered making warm ice cream. That’s right, warm ice cream. And while I’m being a fly on the wall (a well fed fly I might add) chocolate profiteroles are coming out of the oven for a test run of Gianpaolo’s latest creation, the Chouxaroon. This is a macaron base with ganache and then topped with an ice cream filled profiterole.
So next time you are in Auckland make sure a stop in Gore Street for one of the best ice cream in the world is on your list, you never know what else you may discover.