This exceptional scoop shop is in charge of cooling summer day-trippers.
Gelato is without a doubt the most beloved of hot weather foods, equal parts playful, satisfying and indulgent. So when you chance upon a seriously good purveyor of the stuff, one that’s worthy of a solid detour or specific trip, it’s only fair to share.
Charlie’s Gelato Garden is a brief 50-minute journey north of Auckland, just a few minutes from busy Matakana and the nearby east coast beaches. It’s by no means a secret, with a loyal population of locals and beach house owners stopping in for a mandatory scoop or three on weekends, and the queue is reputed to curl out the door and into the surrounding courtyard. However, the staff dish out refreshingly slick service alongside sweet gelato, so impatient car loads of flustered kids, or conversely adults, can be catered for with relative haste. Once you’ve secured the necessary number of scoops, you need only find a spot to sit in the shady courtyard – not a sticky vehicle interior in sight.
There are a ludicrous number of flavours, ranging from delicious takes on old classics, sorbets (elderflower and boysenberry is standout) as well as more adventurous concoctions including strawberry meringue and ginger beer. Unlike other faux-gelato makers, the flavours are truly on par. The banana gelato tastes exactly like its real-life counterpart, and when paired with a scoop of dark chocolate, it has an almost uncanny resemblance to freshly made banana cake. Better than any you’ve had the luck to try, in fact.
One successful visit to Charlie’s will confirm that these Matakana locals are doing their bit to better gelato, in all of its varying forms.
Charlies Gelato Garden
17 Sharp Rd
(09) 422 7942