Dessert cravings satisfied…for now…

Sitting on my bed, sipping green tea and trying to digest my pot pie and two servings of dessert before falling into a satisfying state of deep sleep, I’m thinking how whenever I catch up with my friends all we ever seem to do is eat. I know a couple of people who would find that completely bizarre – surely we’re capable of sharing girly gossip and our insights into war, love and peace without hovering over a menu or plate freckled with the left-over bits and pieces of our meals, right?

Actually, I’m fully of the view that food brings people together. Of course, people bring people together – I don’t think any amount of fine food would ever be worth unpleasant company – but good food plus good company is a winning combination. Call me old-fashioned but I still eat dinner at the table with everyone and it’s such a nice thing to do because it’s one of the few times everyone is together in the same room, doing the same thing and connecting (most of the time!) with each other. My mother always says it’s good company that makes food taste better.

Anyway, the night started out at Mission Bay Cafe with a steak and mushroom pot pie for me. I love pie, I love beef but I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms, at least not button mushrooms – go here if you want to know more. So I ordered it, knowing that I’ll probably end up forcing the mushrooms down since I don’t like wasting food but I was very pleasantly surprised when I dug into the pie to find juicy slivers of shitake mushrooms, which are only some of the best mushrooms, in the world, ever (no journalistic notions of fair and balanced reporting here).

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

As you can see it was a slight variation on the pot pie, with a lovely piece of really golden, crispy, puff pastry sitting on top of the filling.

The fun really began though when somehow, for some reason, we thought it would be a good idea to head into town and visit not just one but a few different yoghurt/ice cream places. This was definitely a case of us ladies being able to find a second stomach somewhere especially for dessert!

There’s been a huge increase of yoghurt places, where you choose your own yoghurt(s) and make what could actually be something very healthy into something very not healthy by adding lots of sugary toppings. The most popular one here is KiwiYo, which I enjoy because it’s fresh, fun and youthful but just quietly, this place we went to tonight had better yoghurt, although not as many toppings to choose from.

We sat around for a while chatting and once we finally heaved ourselves out of there, we headed straight for Mr Grazioli’s Giapo. I’ve mentioned Giapo a couple of times and I’ll keep mentioning the place because, well, it’s pretty damn good. Some of the flavours are a bit crazy, like beetroot and my personal favourite from tonight:

Photo: Tao Lin

Photo: Tao Lin

Hokey Pokey and BACON? Not sure I’m convinced on that one (probably means it tastes surprisingly good).

Anyway, I had salted caramel (a-ma-zing) and my friends had chocolate brownie, banoffee and chocolate. Let me tell you, that chocolate brownie flavoured gelato tasted incredible – it was like eating actual chocolate brownies. I know that sounds stupid – of course it should taste like you’re eating chocolate brownies – but I’m often disappointed at how some flavours of things don’t resemble what they claim to taste like at all or worse, it tastes completely artificial.

Banoffee tasted like banana smoothie and probably could have done with a bit more of a toffee flavour. The chocolate one was covered with hazelnut topping and you know what? It was like a giant ball of deliciously creamy Ferrero Rocher filling – so good!

Photo: Jenny Lee

Photo: Jenny Lee

It was a great girls’ catch-up, with the best company all brought together by a love of (eating!) good food.

In other news, I’m planning on making creme caramel tomorrow. Here’s hoping I can stomach dessert by then!

One of those blow-your-mind type of creations

So, a few years ago when I went to Europe, Italy was probably at the top of my favourites list for a number of reasons, one of them being the food. Lovely light pizza, beautiful pasta and amazing, fresh gelato. I think if I had more time I would have happily just sat at the Trevi Fountain eating gelato all day.

Since then I’ve had my fair share of gelato back in New Zealand but only two places so far have really made me think, “Wow, now this is gelato”.  The first is Valentinos Gelato and the other is Giapo.

They’re both a bit different – I see Valentinos as a bit more traditional while Giapo head chef Gianpaolo Grazioli creates stuff like this.

If you’re too lazy to click on the link, it’s a picture of Mr Grazioli’s latest creation (assuming it’s his latest since he posted that up on Twitter only a couple of hours ago) – burger macarons with a chocolate patty, white chocolate cheddar slice, ketchup raspberry and lettuce mint leaf.

Forget how confused your brain gets when you try to imagine how it tastes compared with how it looks – how AMAZING does that burger macaron sound? Or am I easily impressed (I don’t think so)…