What if you could get a punch of spicy Indian flavours of pani puri and samosa in your sweet, creamy and frozen ice cream? Giapo, located at the Queen Street here, is serving all this and more inspired by India.
“Some of our specialities are jacket potato ice cream, pani puri ice-cream and samosa ice cream. We made our own pani puri and then we filled it with ice cream that we have. We are also doing wonderful dosa so, yes I am learning. This is not yet in the menu, but we are experimenting,” the ice cream store’s owner Giapo Grazioli told IANS during an interaction at his beautiful store.
In fact, he has even dedicated an ice cream to Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra, who is the Tourism New Zealand brand ambassador in India.
“I feel Indian food is one of the best foods and Indians race is probably my second main race after Kiwi,” he added.
So, is there any specific flavour that Indians ask for when they visit the store?
“Indians love sweet fruity flavours. At the moment, their favourite is On My Way to Keri Keri which is an avocado ice cream made with avocado coming from Shelly Beach. Keri Keri Macadamia praline is also popular,” said Grazioli.
Giapo opened its door in the beginning of 2008 with the purpose of changing the way people feel about ice creams.
“When we first opened, Giapo was nothing like what it is now, it was a patisserie, which lasted only three months. After closing the initial store, we rethought the entire concept of the store and started creating ice cream,” Grazioli said.
His wife Annarosa added: “From here on, the innovation started. We realised that everything anyone else was doing anywhere else wasn’t good for us. We decided that ‘new’ was our narrative.”
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The couple, who have two children Francesca and Pasquale, shared that all the produce used for the ice cream creations come from New Zealand because they “like to take advantage of the bounty that New Zealand has to offer”.
“The Christchurch hazelnut is one of the most popular flavours. We own a small hazelnut farm in Christchurch and we make the ice cream out of our own hazelnuts. The Keri Keri Lemon is probably the second most popular. It’s a sorbet made with lemons coming from Keri Keri, a city in Northland of New Zealand,” said Annarosa.
They have a team of 24-26 people who work in shifts and make cones, chocolates, bake and do other activities involved in making an ice cream. They also make sure that customers don’t mix and match two-three flavours together.
“We don’t encourage mixing. We want people to buy only one flavour but customer is the boss,” Grazioli said.
“Some of the high points of this shop are outdoor seating, children friendly with a lot of vegan options, desserts and gluten-free options and of course, vegetarian-friendly.”
The store is also known for playfully decorated toppings on every serve, particularly those in a cone.
They also made an ice cream inspired by singer Katy Pery’s album “Prism”, and incorporated her signature sunflower. It took 80 to 100 hours work to bring the colourful ice cream to life.
With so many customers, why aren’t they planning to open any other outlet?
“Because the goal was not to become big, but we are trying to do something great. We cannot be big and great at the same time,” Grazioli told IANS.
The price of the ice creams available here ranges from $10 to $25.
(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of Tourism New Zealand. Nivedita can be contacted at email@example.com)