A ferry ride from Auckland city across the beautiful Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island is always a treat, anticipating island time. And there’s a treat to enjoy before boarding the ferry, or to head to once you reach the island, which is especially good right now - on these warm sunny days - but indeed all year round. That treat’s a gelato, but not just any gelato….welcome to Island Gelato, downtown ferry terminal and Oneroa village.
New Zealanders (and visitors to New Zealand) love ice cream. Turns out they love gelato just as much.
For those still getting their heads around the ice cream and gelato distinction, we’ve written about this before….here. Gelato - the Italian word for ice cream, and so Italian styled ice cream - often contains less air and more flavouring, making it just that bit more dense and rich and, well, delicious.
And so to the island gelato. The first home of Island Gelato is a terrifically decorated shipping container on a corner site in the the main street of Oneroa village, just up the hill from the Matiatia ferry terminal. Seek out the black container, surrounded by ice cream coloured picket fences, and inviting wooden tables and stools. There’s even a sign inviting you to “lick me till ice cream”….
But it’s not just any shipping container. Inside that limited space, there’s room for the gelato display fridges, espresso machine, bagel grill, serving counters and more. That more includes delightful servers, chatting and scooping the deliciousness that the throngs crowd around for.
There are crowds, there always seem to be crowds, Waiheke locals and travellers to the “rock”…all keen for those delicious, and tremendously original, gelato flavours. On a recent visit there were colourful fridges displaying beautiful and unique seasonal inspiration, showcasing fresh local produce - peach and tarragon, basil and lime, Waiheke plum, and grapefruit and gin - as well as cold press coffee affogato, pics peanut brittle, and sicilian pistachio - and so much more.
And, the story goes, the couple behind this gelato excellence, Ana and Geoff, took inspiration for the gelato venture a few years back - after a visit to Sydney and a fantastic gelato business there. They brought that idea home. We’re so pleased they did.
Now, a few years on, there’s a second place to find the gelato, a central city outpost in the heritage ferry building on Auckland’s waterfront. The island comes to the mainland. Treats all around.
It’s always tremendous to enjoy a New Zealand food business in its beautiful surrounds. We hope that you can get to visit, have a chat - and a scoop, and appreciate the stunning gelato. Island Gelato is one of a delightful collection of very clever New Zealand ice cream and gelato makers, and we’re so pleased to find them as we travel around the country.
Wishing you happy sunny days ice cream (and gelato) travels.
And to find more on The FoodPath NZ’s ice cream mapped trail, for our collection of delicious New Zealand ice cream and gelato makers, and other food moments through New Zealand, download our New Zealand Food Trail Guides app here.