My favourite word and my favourite meal. And what better way to celebrate it with a walking dessert degustation held in the Heart of the City? I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Tuesday night!
Held as part of Auckland’s Restaurant Month* and with support from Auckland Transport, this Dessert Degustation Walking Tour is a brand new addition to Restaurant Month and one event that I have long been waiting for!
We met the lovely food and travel writer, Delaney Mes, who was our host for the evening, at Aotea Square, and spent the next two hours walking through the city’s laneways, and shared spaces, and devoured three sweet delights (and a fabulous cocktail) at Giapo, Cornerbar, Miann and Milse.
Our first stop was Giapo. This iconic ice cream shop opened in 2008 by creative genius, Giapo Grazioli (pictured below) and his wife, Annarosa, and still remains one of my favourite places in Auckland’s CBD. Their ice cream is different to that of the normal ones you would get at a dairy – Giapo’s are like works of art. I particularly like that all of their gelato flavours are hidden from the public (however you can taste as many as you like) and also not knowing what you are going to get for toppings and decoration makes my anticipation levels go through the roof! It was great meeting Grazioli in person and seeing how passionate he is with ice cream. And here’s a heads up for all you Giapo fans, they are opening another ice cream haven soon (most likely in Britomart) where Giapo will go next-level, including using liquid nitrogen. I can’t wait!
We tried three of Giapo’s most popular ice creams:
– Siamu Popo (coconut and caramel jam from Samoa and made into ice cream, dusted with cocoa powder, and topped with a chocolate disc)
– Giapo Buono (lightly salted caramel ice cream, rolled in hazelnut praline and amaretti biscuits, and topped with swirls of Italian meringue and bronzed hazelnuts)
– Afghan Cookie (caramelised white chocolate ice cream, rolled in cornflakes and topped with a cookie and walnut halve!)
Giapo’s Instagram / Website
Location: 279 Queen Street
Our second stop was Cornerbar, a brightly coloured bar (part of Hotel DeBrett) situated on the corner of High Street and Shortland Street. They serve wine, craft beer and lovely cocktails. We stopped here for a palate cleanser – a champagne cocktail named ‘The Great Gatsby’ which consisted of bubbles, apple juice, elderflower liqueur, a dash of absinthe bitters and garnished with a slice of cucumber. It was refreshing, sweet, delicious and set us up for our chocolate-ty night ahead. [Note: this cocktail is not on the menu, but feel free to ask the bartender, as he will definitely make you one!]
Location: Corner High Street and Shortland Street
We headed down to Fort Street to our third stop, Miann, where I might add that it’s owner and head chef, Brian Campbell, continues to amaze me with his dessert creations. With 15 years’ work experience under his belt, including having held the position of head chef at Milse and starting up his own company in 2015 (where he did dessert pop ups around Auckland), this pâtissier has done great things for Auckland’s foodie scene. And last year, he and his wife, Roselle, opened up Miann on Fort Street. When you walk into Miann, your eyes will light up. You will see brightly coloured gelato sticks with edible decorations, handmade chocolates in all shapes and colours, perfectly formed macarons and last but not least, the creative and decadent cakes saying “eat me”. And trust me, it is hard picking just one thing.
For the dessert degustation, Brian had been working on a chocolate creation and was equally excited as we were for us to try his dish. Pictured below is his Chocolate Balloon Sorbet with 68% dark chocolate, filled with caramelised white chocolate cream, a white chocolate crumble, chocolate brownie, dulchey flakes and hints of marmalade. It looked like a work of art and it had all my favourite elements – creamy, crunchy, sweet, and chewy. Personally, I am not a fan of marmalade (so I didn’t quite finish the dessert) but overall, it was pretty good… especially when you cracked down the middle!
Miann’s Instagram / Website
Location: 57 Fort Street
Our final dessert stop, Milse, was the most special. Back in 2013, I remember hearing about this one of a kind dessert restaurant that would be opening up in a few weeks’ time. I was so excited that I stopped by the restaurant every week to ask when they were opening their doors – which turned out to be Milse! Even though it opened three years ago, it forever remains my favourite restaurant, for their ever changeable desserts and exciting creations. It is also where I can go and order dessert for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and not feel weird about it.
You may have seen my many posts on Instagram featuring Milse’s Bombe Alaska gelato sticks, here, here, and here. Yes I am obsessed. And guess what?! We had one for our final dessert of the walking degustation. I was over the moon! This is their most popular gelato stick and every three months, they change the flavour inside. So far, I have tried their passionfruit, feijoa and vanilla, and for a time they had kiwifruit (not a fan) and just recently, they have launched a new flavour – green apple and vanilla gelato, which is then covered in white chocolate and dipped in meringue. Amazing. Seriously head there now!
Milse’s Instagram / Website
Location: 27 Tyler Street
Overall, it was a fabulous foodie night – a HUGE thank you to Delaney Mes, Heart of the City and Auckland Transport! Bring on August 2017!!!
* Sadly this will be the only event (as part of Auckland Restaurant Month) that I will be attending, as I’ll be overseas. If you would like some more information on Restaurant Month, click here and here. Enjoy!