Every visit to Giapo is an experience, a teasing of the senses, a bringing together of fresh flavours that create a new sensation. Every creation is an artistic masterpiece pushing ice cream to the next level.
From that first moment years ago, and still today, there has never been a doubt in my mind that this is the best. Giapo ice cream is perfection. And now, without sacrificing even an ounce of flavour, Giapo is 100% gluten-free.
And that’s not all, the menu also identifies items that are: vegan, egg-free, vegetarian, nut-free, Halal suitable, and Kosher suitable.
For most people, the change to 100% gluten-free doesn’t matter. In fact, it would go unnoticed if not pointed out, as you enjoy your flawless Giapo ice cream creation.
Yet to a family like ours, and others with Coeliac disease, all gluten-free restaurants in Auckland make a big difference. But when it’s my favourite place for a treat, well, our family’s ecstatic.
Be tempted by some of Auckland’s yummiest treats…
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How to get your Giapo creation
Visit the shop
Giapo’s shop is not a classic ice cream location.
With only a few seats inside and benches outside, it’s more of a takeaway destination. The indoor seating is there for eating, without tables, it’s not a place to come and hang out for the day.
Although, if you don’t plan ahead, you may be here a while.
There is almost always a queue to place your order, as there is with most places worldwide that always exceed expectations and are generally considered the best of their type around.
But even that is never boring. We have stood in the queue and been offered samples of hot chocolate, cups of water, and even some chocolate samples in the past.
The shop itself is at 12 Gore Street, in the heart of Britomart in Auckland CBD.
Currently, Giapo is open only on the weekends:
Friday 6pm to 10pm
Saturday 2pm to 10pm
Sunday 2pm to 9pm
Check out the app for click and collect or local delivery
With the new app, order ahead and skip the queue (when they are open), or for those who live closer than we do (we are pretty far away), you can have these great flavours delivered.
Download the new app to your phone.
The Giapo ice cream experience
Let me tell you, the wait is worth it for a taste of the ice cream nirvana created by Giapo, short for Gianpaolo Grazioli, the mastermind behind it all, and Annarosa, his wife and partner.
Typically, we find the queue moves pretty quickly, and when you get to the front, you are treated so special that you barely remember the wait.
Greeted by an enthusiastic employee, we are brought inside to a small tasting station, and made to feel like the only ones that matter. A brief discussion and they know our food allergies, sensitivities, preferences, and our current desire for savoury or sweet.
Now the fun begins with samples, brought out just for us to try. Once you finally take your first taste, you instantly know it was worth all the fuss.
Although we can see into the kitchen, our server has captivated our attention. We each make a selection, not fully knowing what our masterpieces will look like, only that it will exceed our expectations.
Our favourite Giapo artisan ice cream creations over time
Here are a few family favourites from past years. My personal favourite is Giapo Bueno, seen in my hand in the second shot below. Whatever your choice from the Giapo ice cream menu, you can’t go wrong. Over-delivery is the unwritten motto. We have never been disappointed.
Pro tip: Arrive feeling hungry as Giapo ice cream creations may be a bit larger than you expect.
What Cher said . . . about Giapo ice cream
New Zealand gets excited when divas like Cher visit, and even more pumped up when they share about it on social media. Cher visited in September 2018, and 10 months later (July 2019) she lovingly remembered her Chocolate Evolution Cone (a popular favourite on the Giapo menu) and tweeted this:
Behind the scenes
After Giapo moved from Queen Street to Gore Street in 2017, we were invited upstairs into the workspace next to one of the kitchens. It’s an enchanting place where creativity flows and Giapo’s brilliant creations begin to take form. We sat, talked, and each enjoyed one of their classics.
Join an Auckland food tour that stops at Giapo
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Food tours are a fun way to explore a city, and there is one top-rated tour we found that includes a stop at Giapo for a sample of his famous ice cream. But that’s not all. This 3-hour afternoon walking tour will treat you to other artisan samples, plus wine and beer. As a bonus, you will discover a bit about the city and its culinary history.
You will want to start the tour hungry, wear good walking shoes, and bring a rain jacket. Don’t forget to advise your guide of food allergies or sensitivities.
Check reviews or book your afternoon food tour
A few of Giapo’s past ice cream creations
Giapo’s winter comfort foods provided something good to remember about 2020
First, what you came for, Giapo’s ice cream masterpieces for winter 2020. As we all need something warm and comforting, especially this winter, I think Giapo has nailed it with these two gluten-free Auckland treats that combine cold and warm on top of a cone.
- The apple pie cone: An ice cream-filled crunchy waffle cone topped with a spicy shortbread crumb and a warm whole baked apple.
- The steamed pudding cone: An ice cream-filled waffle cone topped with a light and airy spiced steamed pudding drenched in a rich, sweet caramel sauce (recipe is adapted from the ‘Life with Krystle’ Facebook page).
Looking back to Giapo in 2019
By now, I am sure you know why I think this is the best ice cream in Auckland.
The year 2019 was all about fun, with the new creations being a 60 cm tall king of cones, and ice cream encased in chocolate lips. Later in the year, in his usual artistic and unconventional flair, Giapo created two irresistible holiday treats that are more than just delicious.
Breaking ice cream barriers
In 2017, several new recipes expanded the menu, challenging the boundaries of ice cream with treats designed around worldwide comfort foods.
“In one bite from the new menu, you take a magic journey to two places: it could be to a street cart in Mumbai, to a trattoria in Naples, an izakaya in Tokyo, or to an old-school Maori family gathering. The other part of the journey is to somewhere new, a place where ice cream speaks to you in a new and thrilling language – a journey to a Giapo state of mind.”from a 2017 press release
From the original Queen Street location pre 2017
We have been fans of Giapo back when they were at their original Queen Street location, a smaller shop that also always had a queue out the door. Even then, it was a unique New Zealand ice cream shop offering the perfect handmade combination of flavours. A lot has changed over the years, but many of the originals still exist.
The first time I met Giapo, he wore a button-down shirt and matching cap, both with ice cream cones printed across them. We talked about ice cream, attention to every detail, fresh New Zealand ingredients, and family. His passion shined through and I couldn’t help but smile when I spoke with him. Today, I still think of him as a friend.
At the time, they served about 1,000 people every day, estimating Giapo to be the busiest hospitality place in New Zealand. The Queen street shop staff of 25 employees included nine chefs working behind the scenes 24 hours a day to create everything from scratch.
Giapo personally knows all 67 farmers and suppliers and ensures he has the quality ingredients required to create his masterpieces (only the chocolate, vanilla, and a few spices are grown outside of New Zealand). The result is nothing short of perfection.
A few flashbacks to the original location, which no longer exists except in our memories:
We love Giapo! Both the man’s ethics and the shop’s tasty treats. We like it so much, in fact, we have included Giapo on our lists of best things to do at night in Auckland, most unique restaurants in Auckland, and unique things to do in Auckland.
While there may be other New Zealand ice cream brands, Giapo is not only incredibly tasty, it is also the full experience. From the greeting through to the last bite, everything is perfection. Some may balk at Giapo prices, but they are worth every bit. Giapo is a unique dining experience in Auckland, and unquestionably our favourite place for New Zealand ice cream.
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Have you been to Giapo? Do you agree that it is the best ice cream experience in Auckland?
Disclaimer: Some ice cream creations were provided for us to photograph and enjoy. However, the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.