Of all Aotearoa's great gifts to the world – insert your personal favourites here – one of the most original, most enduring and most civilising has to be hokey pokey icecream.
Surely it was on Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash's mind when he suggested recently that icecream could be our next global goldmine. Boris Johnson is probably wishing his staff had ordered a chillybin of hokey pokey instead of a suitcase of other summer treats.
Legend says Brian Simon came up with the idea at his father's icecream factory in Dunedin in 1953, using broken Crunchie bars from the nearby Cadbury plant. Here's your chance to create another legend – check out Herald readers' favourite icecream spots and vote in our Best of Summer 2022 poll. Go to nzherald.co.nz/bestof to vote for the number one.
17 Sharp Rd, Matakana, Warkworth
Made from scratch in very small batches, using seasonal produce grown onsite, the national award-winning Charlies Gelato has been creating and selling more than 40 flavours of gelato and sorbets from its store just off the main road into the village, as well as locally roasted coffee, home baking and summertime pizzas for more than 10 years. Apart from the sweet treats, the big attraction is the gardens outside the store, a favourite chill-out spot for locals and visitors to take a breather, grab a seat and relax. They're especially popular with kids who can roam among the grapevines.
14 Adams Ave, Mount Maunganui
The long queues on the pavement out front say it all: the Mount Maunganui institution has been one of Aotearoa's most popular icecream stores for more than 30 years, reputed to roll out 101,000 cones each year. Years ago they de-listed their phone number because the darned thing wouldn't stop ringing. Expect a good choice of icecream, soft serve, frozen yoghurt and snowghurt in classic and creative flavours, toppings and sauces, dished up in plain or trademark waffle cones, or as sundaes.
Hamilton (2 stores), Auckland (2 stores), Wellington
"Think outside the cone" – that's what they do at this artisan firm that's pretty much rewritten the Kiwi icecream recipe book with its rotating menu of 50 flavours since 2015. White chocolate pomegranate macadamia? Black sticky rice, anyone? Or fairy bread, infused with toasted brioche, blended with hundreds-and-thousands, a nostalgic trip back to childhood birthday parties. Duck Island icecreams are the real deal, half-milk, half-cream with no stabilisers, food colourings, syrups or artificial additives. Unlike most of the small-batch artisans, their products are available in supermarkets.
204 St Aubyn St, New Plymouth
Anyone who believes the quintessential Kiwi dairy has gone the way of the 45rpm record and the column gearshift needs to hightail it to Taranaki. They serve more than 150,000 scoops of icecream a year and boast some of the biggest servings in the Southern Hemisphere – singles, doubles or triples, with chocolate dip just in case you need to up your sugar fix. Local reviewer: "Iona Dairy is the very epitome of icecream heaven. From the outside it may look like your average run-of-the-mill dairy, but inside it has many different flavours. It's value for money, the icecream really gets packed on top of the cone!"
Original Pokeno Ice Creams
57 Great South Rd, Pokeno
Hands-down winner for the biggest icecreams is, however, just off the State Highway 1 junction. It's hard to miss Pokeno when heading south of Auckland these days and even harder to miss the store, cars parked outside and herds of people licking their lips and cones. These folk will sell you an 18-scoop monster cone in any combination of 30-40 flavours. How you eat it before it melts is your problem and it's no surprise most people opt for more manageable options. The store has served several generations of Kiwis, though the owners and the premises have changed over the years, and it remains one of the country's most popular pit-stops.
Patti's & Cream
176 Eglinton Rd, Dunedin
Olive Tabor has been making boutique icecream since 2018. She came across the idea in Portland, Oregon, and wondered why no one was doing it in Dunedin (the climate, maybe?). She sourced equipment and perfected recipes but a bricks-and-mortar space was too hard to find. Olive found a 1984 Bedford truck that started life as a soft-serve icecream van, gutted and rebuilt it, and found kitchen space at a rugby club. These days she makes quirky combinations along with the usuals: candied pear and blue cheese, pumpkin dolce de leche and beer icecream, selling them from her scoop store from Wednesday-Saturday. But it's hard to lick buying it, or her serious burgers, from the retro truck.
Penguino Ice Cream Cafe
55A Clyde Rd, Browns Bay, Auckland
Browns Bay has a great vibe. Rather than another anonymous suburb in a stonking great metropolis, it has the feel of a standalone seaside town (we won't go overboard and call it the Costa del Kiwi, but you get the idea). One of the Bay's institutions, Penguino hand-makes icecream and sorbets in a tiny onsite kitchen. That means they can constantly change their flavours: there might be specials of lemon cake or choc/almond one day, pistachio and chocolate sorbet another, cinnamon delight or liquorice at the weekend. A fan writes: "If you combine the nicest icecream and friendliest service, you get Penguinos, the best icecream parlour in the universe (and Browns Bay)." Time your run, though, as opening hours change with the seasons.
Rush Munro's Ice Cream Gardens
704 Heretaunga St West, Hastings
New Zealand's oldest icecream parlour – we'll use their spelling out of respect - Rush Munro's began life in 1926 when English confectioner Frederick Charles Rush Munro and wife Catherine arrived in Hawke's Bay, rented a small shop and began to make sweets. Gradually the range expanded to include natural, real-fruit icecreams, fruit drinks and chocolates. The business has passed through five families in 95 years, based in its quaint, old-style gardens in central Hastings. Current owners Vaughan and Sharon Currie use original recipes as well as new ones, like the supreme award-winning maple walnut with manuka honey and vanilla.
1 Shakespeare Rd, Milford, Auckland
It hasn't taken Hayley McRae and husband Mike Kitching too long to win North Shore's hearts and lips. They opened their store in late 2020 after falling for Charlies Gelato and deciding they had to give it a good home in the big smoke. They offer 35 flavours of Charlies' gelati and sorbetti, and eight flavours of their own real-fruit icecream – pick your own combination – and the sweet treats can be turned into a milkshake, sundae, banana split, icecream soda or affogato.
The Kerikeri Gelato Company
1381 State Highway 10, Kerikeri
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. The Nash family owned a spray-free blueberry farm in Kerikeri for 10 years but felt like a change of pace, so teamed up with Amy and Paul Wyatt and their family to make gelato. The switch to making their dairy-free sorbets, frozen yoghurts and gourmet gelati, using natural ingredients sourced in Northland where possible, has been a raging success. They churn more than blueberries these days: flavours include chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, blueberry, mint stracciatella, rum and raisin, and hazelnut.