I had seven months to do the research for my top 10 desserts of Queenstown post, but my time in Auckland was considerably shorter. During my 3-day trip, I gave it my best shot and ate as much dessert as I could.
This is the way that ice cream should be done. The ever-present line out the door indicates that there’s something special inside. And the sample of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted that’s given while you wait solidifies the inkling that Giapo is something great.
But the real difference is made clear once you step inside the shop. Instead of fluorescent lights and plastic cases, you’re met with a personal ice cream concierge who walks you through your purchase. They don’t believe in judging a book by its cover, so-to-speak, so instead of displaying the ice cream’s looks, they let the taste speak for itself. Your ice cream concierge will talk with you about any allergies and preferences before leading you through an extensive tasting.
I loved my afghan cookie ice cream, which came coated in corn flakes and hardened butterscotch and topped with an afghan cookie. And my friend didn’t mind waiting an extra minute as the Giapo team made a fresh doughnut to top her doughnut ice cream.
I thought freakshakes were the stuff of fairytale fantasies and Pinterest dreams, but Cereal Killa has brought these fanciful treats to life.
I did my homework by stalking their Instagram and Facebook pages, so I knew to expect to wait and that I most definitely wanted a freakshake topped with cotton candy. The menu doesn’t describe any of its shakes, so I asked the waitress which ones come with cotton candy and was led to an off-menu mint chocolate chip. This put my freakshake excitement level through the roof, because mint chocolate chip is my favorite ice cream flavor.
This freakshake comes with pieces of Cadbury mint Oreo chocolate inside and a rock candy stick inside the straw. It’s topped with green cotton candy, which looks a little like the stuff inside a vacuum cleaner. I’ve never tasted vacuum cleaner fuzz, but I imagine Cereal Killa’s version is much tastier.
Waiting for the freakshakes was the worst part of the experience, but the gratification of receiving these mason jars of perfection was complete when the table full of trim latte-drinking, toast-with-avocado-eating girls next to us looked at us and said “you win.” That’s right, ladies… we did.
Little & Friday
Here’s a sweet find thanks to my pastry chef friend who’s baking her way around the world. Little & Friday’s Instagram mixes mouthwateringly photogenic food with a human aspect that makes you want to go into the shop to get to know the people featured in the photos. So that’s just what we did.
Little & Friday has a few locations in Auckland, and they’re all a bit different in what they serve. We started at the Ponsonby location for breakfast… and fell in love with their raspberry and cream doughnuts.
I also got a chocolate beetroot salted caramel cake that sounded just weird enough that it had to be amazing… and oh my goodness, it knocked my socks off. The beetroot keeps the cake from being too rich (which, I’ve heard some people consider a bad thing). I had to restrain myself from eating the whole thing, because I promised I’d share, but it was light enough that I could’ve killed the whole thing without a problem.
Once we had a taste… we just had to go to the flagship shop in Belmont, which serves a wider range of food. Their pear and prosciutto gallette was flaky and amazing… and the amaretto and coffee doughnut was worth the drive.
Grill & Shakes
I noticed them because of the claim on their window to make Auckland’s best milkshakes… and if it’s spray-painted onto the front of a shop, who am I to argue? Now, I have to admit, I’m partial to the sugar-laden freakshakes, but Grill & Shakes milkshakes are special because they don’t add any syrups or flavorings. Their menu boasts 69 different milkshake flavors with everything from M&M to Turkish Delight and Tim Tams. I tried the Cookie Caramel Slice flavor, and can vouch that these syrup-free milkshakes are tasty!
When I left Auckland, my list of places yet-to-try was even longer than when I arrived. Looks like I need to plan another trip to the City of Sails someday soon!