Giapo|Kiwi Ingenuity Meets Italian Dessert
When I decided to opt for a vegan diet a few years back I was thrilled when some fellow vegan friends introduced me to Giapo; an ice cream eatery in Auckland, New Zealand, offering rich and aesthetic vegan options.
Giapo and his wife Annarosa recently gave me the opportunity to meet them in person, have a look behind the scenes and discuss the ethical aspects of their business. A warmer and more welcoming pair is hard to come by.
Giapo moved to New Zealand from Italy sixteen years ago, joined not long after by Annarosa. He and Annarosa now proudly identify as “Kiwis” and have two children, both born and raised in New Zealand. Together, and with their staff, they work as a team, changing people’s perception of ice cream. Giapo approaches ice cream as an artist, moving away from basic ice cream in a cone to something far more creative and varied.
Giapo parlour offers a separate menu that is entirely vegan. Options include Coconut Chocolate Chip (my personal favourite), NZ Blackberry & Martini Rosso, Kiwifruit & Garden Coriander as well as Kofe Samoa; a sorbet made with coffee from the New Zealand company Millers Coffee, with a base of soy milk and coconut cream.
From there you can choose from a selection of ice cream holders: from cups and deluxe cones to Parāoa Parai (traditional Maori fried bread). Giapo tells me he hopes to one day make the change to only offer dairy free options at the eatery.
“I think if each one of us, in our little own worlds, start planting little seeds to save the environment it will make a bigger difference.”
Since moving from their Queen Street site to their new site on Gore Street, Giapo has become dedicated to being 100% compostable. “From spoons, cups, serviettes, plates, takeaway containers – everything is compostable”, says Annarosa. The couple’s dedication toward making a positive impact through their business becomes obvious when Annarosa tells me, “I think if each one of us, in our little own worlds, start planting little seeds to save the environment it will make a bigger difference.”
She adds, “We are very conscious of the environment and issues that we have.”
Giapo and Annarosa radiate a love for what they do as well as for the world around them. They are hands on, work directly with all of their farm suppliers and display a transparency that is rare.
They offer a Kitchen Tour, “which is basically a day in our life”, says Annarosa. “The way the kitchen tour is run is like introducing the people that come for the tour to what we do here, explaining the setup of the store, the front of the house, the service kitchen and then there is the production kitchen,” she tells me before showing me some of the onsite creative processes, such as their home made vacuum former which allows them to make their own moulds on site. “This one is pure kiwi ingenuity”, she smiles, “it’s been working amazingly!”
Another behind the scenes experience is The Chef’s Table, which Annarosa describes as “a brainchild of the study that Giapo has done with AUT (Auckland University of Technology)”.
The couple explain that the experience involves a combination of food and music; “You experience ice cream but each ice cream course that you have is matched with music.” They tell me in summary that it is, “a high energy experience with lots of ice cream!”
After friendly conversation and goodbye hugs I left the store with an impressive ice cream in hand (and the eyes of many passer-by’s checking it out). With creativity, sustainability, vegan options and a desire to continuously evolve, Giapo really does bring more to the table than just ice cream. The ice cream is delicious and visually stunning but, most importantly, Giapo is a business run by two people who really seem to want to make a positive impact on the world.
For more information on Giapo experiences and treats, visit: https://www.giapo.com/