There will always be a soft spot in our hearts for a few scoops of Tip Top in a cheap wafer cone from the dairy (especially a dairy with a beach nearby), and for creaming soda milkshakes in Giraffe-theme waxed paper cups, to be sipped at while your fish-and-chip order is cooked. But these days we also have a plethora of choices in the shakes and cones category, and here is a selection of Auckland's best shake 'n' cone spots to check out over the summer.
Consistently breaking the boundaries of icecream, cult-classic Giapo (12 Gore St, Britomart) just keeps the genius concepts coming - the latest being their ode to the Harbour Bridge, a feat of engineering in itself, spanning two cones. Giapo's owner, Gianpaolo Grazioli, is passionate about making the most of New Zealand's amazing summer produce each year, and this summer's special sorbet is certainly one not to be missed.
Their Blackberry and Martini sorbet features fresh local blackberries blended with vermouth and decorated with blackberries and blueberries, this is a refreshing and sophisticated summer treat.
The Master Milkshakes range of flavoured syrups are all-natural with nostalgic flavours including choccy fish and lime sherbet. You'll find these syrups used at choice spots around town including Fred's (181 Ponsonby Rd), and at Bestie (St Kevin's Arcade, 179-183 Karangahape Rd).
After a shopping session at Dressmart (can't go past those post-Christmas specials), there's nothing more relaxing than sinking into the pale pastel haven that is Giorgia Gelato just around the corner (175 Onehunga Mall). Fans of traditional Italian gelato are well catered for here, with Rome-born Giorgia Martufi serving up flavours like panna cotta with frutti di bosco (fruits of the forest), and dairy-free sorbets made solely with fresh fruit and water (the passionfruit is a favourite).
Burger Burger peanut butter and chocolate shakes are justly famous, so be sure to keep an eye out this summer for a new and delicious collaboration to shake things up: a series of creations featuring I Love Food Co's cookie doughs. If you missed last month's Munchie Choc Chip hit, make sure you're quick to slurp up January's offering, the Ginger Ninja winner. (Burger Burger, various locations round Auckland).
The best reward after a walk award goes to Takapuna Beach Cafe (22 The Promenade). A few scoops of their gelato, always made with the best seasonal ingredients (my pick: luscious lemon curd and yoghurt) is the perfect thing after walking the stunning shoreline from Milford beach (obligatory stop-off for a dip at Thorne Bay). Also a short stroll from the beach is the city's latest novelty nosh spot, Nitro Cow (1/56-60 Hurstmere Rd) where they literally whip up icecream in two minutes, mixing liquid nitrogen with fresh ingredients.
Go West, to New Lynn's The Tannery (44b Portage Rd) for a large selection of Kohu Road ice cream, which is made in the same building. The Tannery serves it up in scoops, shakes, old-school floats, smoothies and even sorbet spritzers, and they do an especially excellent affogato with local Mt Atkinson coffee.
You can secure your next fix with a take-home tub, too. New in the Kohu Road lineup are luscious dairy-free flavours, both sorbets and creamy coconut-based creations.
To the West and South is where to head for soft-serve made with freshly picked strawberries. Juicy NZ Strawberries (505 SH16, Kumeu) is well-placed for a post-Muriwai stop-off. They also have a range of homemade gelato flavours by the scoop and in tubs to take away.
At The Strawberry Farm in Mangere (127 Kirkbride Rd), you can reward your PYO efforts with fresh strawberry icecream or sundaes.
Be transported back to childhood in an instant at Cheltenham Milk Bar and Dairy (64 Vauxhall Rd, Devonport). This original corner site building is just over the road from pretty Cheltenham Beach; go at high tide for the best pontoon jumps, then (keeping in mind the togs, togs, togs, undies effect, mind) wander over to cool down with scoops of locally made Valentino gelato. The salted caramel is a total winner.
Also within a stone's throw of a great swimming beach, Island Gelato (124 Ocean View, Oneroa) generates a perma-queue throughout the summer, plus they've just taken their sweet and creamy slice of island across the Waitemata to open at the Ferry Building.
Parnell's new eco-friendly food hub, The Rise, houses Kaiaroha Vegan Cafe, home to much more than tofu and sprouts. They do a mean vegan shake, pimped up with syrups and toppings, and the whole shebang free of refined sugars.
Check out their Toothless Monster shake - their shaken vegan take on banoffee.
A nod to a few spots carrying on the Tip Top tradition. Ollie's has looked out to the busy Royal Oak roundabout since 1973 and is still raking in crowds with their generous scoops and giant banana splits, and in canvassing Facebook, I learned that there are fans aplenty of the old-school Longest Drinks in Town served up by the Azeeza, champion milkshake maker and super-friendly owner at Garnet Dairy (89 Garnet Rd, Westmere).
And, finally, for when you want something cold and creamy but just a little bit stronger, for when the sun goes down (or perhaps for when you require a little hair of the dog), check out the city's best hard shake makers. Bedford Liquor and Soda's (Ponsonby Central and 21 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna) list of liquor-laden shakes includes a decadent Rum & Black Forest offering, and then there's Franc's (The Strand, Takapuna), because life doesn't get much sweeter than a sunset beach stroll followed by a marshmallow vodka-laced S'mores shake.