A few weeks ago I found myself in the kitchen of Giapo, an ice cream parlour that’s made it all over the internet for its offbeat creations, and everybody in Auckland seems to love (trust me, I asked).

I dropped in to meet the folks behind it, Giapo and Annarosa Grazioli, an Italian couple who moved to New Zealand from Positano sixteen years ago. The duo started out ten years ago with as most gelaterias do - using local ingredients, and creating conventional flavours but over time have evolved into an innovative ice-cream lab. (There’s a 3D printer in the kitchen. Enough said.)

But Giapo is not smoke and mirrors. The experience of ordering and eating it in their beautiful shop feels special - their staff give customers real attention, bringing them a couple of shot glasses of ice cream to try and explaining the provenance or ideas behind the flavours.

Said flavours are exciting. My favourite unexpectedly was the Maori Potato with Dargaville kumara, and raisins, which was moreish and had the earthy sweetness of a baked sweet potato. I also loved the tart feijoa flavour and the subtle creaminess of the buffalo milk flavour. When I took my family over (they were already fans), the Giapo Buono, with caramel, hazelnut praline and amaretti was a crowd favourite. The Christchurch hazelnut and chocolate came a close second. 

There are plenty of vegan flavours (with more coming) and gluten free options, a response to Annarosa’s own dietary needs. In lieu of regular cones, they also have a sky tower, a selfie cone with a chocolate “frame”, and a colossal squid that is a tribute to the one displayed at Wellington’s Te Papa museum. Side note: I had been to the Auckland Art Gallery earlier that day and my aunt mistook the ice-cream on the LCD screen for a gallery sculpture.

And yet with the flourishes, it is never gimmicky. Their ice cream may be fancy and fun but it doesn’t compromise on ingredients or on taste. If you’re in Auckland and have a sweet tooth, or even one that’s more savoury, put it on your list of things to do and eat. 


Above: Chefs Annarosa and Giapo are so photogenic on top of being adorable.

Below: Giapo offers many alternatives to cones including this one inspired by pani puri. 

Above: The ice cream my aunt mistook for a sculpture at the gallery. And yes I ate this.

Below: My favourite tiny person ordered the skytower after thinking about it for days.

Above: Staff came around carrying trays of glasses of water, warm biscuits fresh from the oven and chocolate for customers. 

Below: My personal favourite - a scoop of hazelnut ice cream over salty hot chips. 

Above: The Giapo Buono was a clear favourite with my family whether over hot chips or in Maori bread or inside a crisp roti. We ordered so many scoops.