Waiheke Island is a gorgeous spot. Just a short ferry ride away from central Auckland, the island is known for its beautiful beaches and is a great destination for food and wine. Waiheke is also the original home of the Island Gelato Company.
For us Melbournians, deep into our second coronavirus lockdown, Waiheke may as well be on the moon. So stuck at home, there’s plenty of hours to reminisce about a time – was it only a few months ago? – when I travelled over to Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud. And the gelati I enjoyed there.
Founded in 2014 on Waiheke, Island Gelato prides itself on using artisan techniques and fresh seasonal ingredients to produce superb gelato – packed with flavour.
From its Waiheke beginnings, Island Gelato expanded to the Auckland mainland with a second store, in the historic Auckland Ferry building. Then in September 2019, it launched a third store at the newly opened Westfield Newmarket rooftop dining precinct.
And on my last trip to Auckland, I popped into the Westfield store. Twice.
Of the 24 flavours in the freezer cabinets, half are dairy-based – using Jersey Girl organic milk – and the other half non-dairy or vegan. More than 80 flavours are in Island Gelato’s repertoire. All the gelati is made offsite in Eden Terrace daily and transported to the stores – my friendly server said they never know what to expect, with different flavours delivered every day.
Scoops are served in cups or cones, or inside warm brioches. There are also tubs for take-away. Belgian chocolate is on tap for extra indulgence. Liquid refreshments include affogato and gelato shakes.
A couple of fresh fruity sorbetti are perfect for a warm day. My choice: basil and lime, paired with raspberry and yuzu. Both are awesomely good, with the basil giving more depth of flavour to the lime. And the servings are enormous!
Argentinians adore dulce de leche, and my gelati companion, El Puma, is no exception. He chose a cup of Island Gelato’s buttermilk and dulce de leche gelato. This was a lovely milky gelato with a luxuriant helping of dulce de leche swirled over – definitely passing muster.
According to the friendly server, buttermilk and dulce de leche is one of Island Gelato’s most popular flavours. The other two top-selling flavours are salty caramel with white chocolate, and Pics peanut butter caramel.
The gelati were so good, I returned later, this time solo, for some of the dairy-based flavours. Sour cherry and darkest chocolate, paired with Sicilian pistachio. The pistachio – always a great test of gelato excellence – couldn’t be faulted. And the sour cherry chocolate – wow. Perfect for a dark chocolate tragic like me, with a generous dollop of sour cherry goodness to offset the richness of the chocolate.
One day, if the trans-Tasman travel bubble ever happens, we will return to New Zealand, to Waiheke. And Island Gelato.
Awesomely good gelati, gorgeous flavours based on fresh seasonal ingredients. That sort of quality doesn’t come cheap, but the serves are absolutely enormous, so overall we reckon it is excellent value for money.
Island Gelato Company
Shop S405 Level 4