happy birthday to me

I just celebrated a milestone birthday. And to mark the occasion I took myself Down Under. But even better yet, I decided everywhere I went I would eat ice cream. Because what could be better than ice cream for your birthday? Two delicious weeks of ice cream mania — hard, soft, gelato, frozen yogurt and even fancy desserts. Lots and lots of ice cream!! Here is what an ice cream crawl from LA to New Zealand to Australia looks like:

Row 1 Row 2 Row 3 Row 4Row 1:  Sweet Rose Creamery, Los Angeles. Not really so creamy. Interesting flavors like Minty Peas but I say pass. Rating: 2  Icing on the Cake, Herne Bay, Auckland, NZ. Fruit flavored frozen yogurt served up in home made cones. Tasty but the cones need a plug (a dab of chocolate does nicely) to keep the yogurt from dripping down your arm. Rating: 6  The Store, Takapuna & Britomart, Auckland, NZ. House made gelato not all as good as it was hyped up to be. Rating: 3

Row 2:  Giapo, CBD, Auckland, NZ. The Cadillac of gelaterias. Soft, creamy, inventive flavors that get decorated with an assortment of candies & gooey toppings at the servers whim. Each a unique creation worth the $8 price tag. Rating: 9  Island Gelato Company, Waiheke Island, NZ. Honeycomb Swirl made from local Manuka Honey. Really great tasting but poor service put a damper on my enjoyment. Rating: 6  Golden Fields, St. Kilda, Melbourne Australia. The famous Peanut Butter Parfait with chocolate mousse & salted caramel topping. I’m not even sure it was ice cream under there but WOW!  Rating: 9

Row 3:  Gelato Messina, Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia. Yogurt Caramel is still my favorite gelato in the world. Rating: Off the Charts!  Yo Chi, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia. This may be the best frozen yogurt I have ever had. Lime & Avocado vegan, dairy & gluten free (but you’d never know) and traditional tart topped with little fruit pearls bursting with mango flavor. Rating: 9  Pidapip Gelato, Carlton, Melbourne Australia. Great texture but not a lot of flavor at this summer only pop up shop. Rating: 5

Row 4:  Tuck Shop Takeaway, Cauflield, Melbourne, Australia. Inventive retro candy flavors of soft serve with a dense texture. Yummy!  Rating: 8  Sweet Envy, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. This ice cream and sweet shop does not disappoint. Just look how creamy it is. I was a bit perplexed by the pre-scooped portions, however. Do they not trust their employees to scoop themselves?  Rating: 7

Ratings on a 10 point scale.

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