TRUE ice cream appreciation can be as exact as a science, as Elizabeth Yick finds out in a masterclass at the Lygon St artisan ice cream store Helados Jauja.
For a connoisseur, ice cream is much more than frozen milk. Instead, every detail counts in a process that begins long before the ice cream is scooped and served.
For example, did you know the optimal temperature for ice cream to hit the palate is -8°C? Too cold and the ice cream will be icy in texture and lose its flavour. Too warm and it will quickly become a melting mess.
Helados Jauja owner Po Lin is well aware of this. She stores her ice creams at the calculated temperature of -18°C, which accounts for the time it takes for an ice cream to go from the display cabinet to the customer’s eager lips.
Every single ice cream at Helados Jauja is carefully designed and meticulously handmade. Perhaps that’s why its ‘Date with Jauja’ masterclass was sold out.
For the $50 ticket price, avid ice cream lovers were able to sample all 24 flavours and get a triple scoop ice cream cone and regular pack of their choice of flavours to take home.
But the masterclass was more than an excuse to pig out.
Fans were given a backstage pass to see how some of the classics flavours were made, as well as understand the process and philosophy behind Helados Jauja for a better appreciation of just how special their ice cream is.
Surprisingly, some of the shop’s most popular flavours were created from spontaneous ideas. While flavours that sounded wonderful sometimes haven’t worked at all.
“We threw away something like 30 litres once,” Po Lin says.
But hiccups like these haven’t stopped her or her team from continuing to experiment.
The Helados Jauja promise of “no flavouring, no colouring, no gelatine, no premixes and no shortcuts” means ingredients are sourced from all over the world.
For example, the team uses Kensington Pride mangoes for their mango sorbet, after trialing a number of other varieties for the best texture and flavour.
Po Lin admits that sometimes ice cream making is an arduous process. It takes three days just to prepare the sesame seeds for their black sesame ice cream.
“We peel our own fruits, we chop our own nuts, we blend and whisk our ice cream from scratch. We don’t use any premix powders. Yes, it’s a lot of work and I think that’s reflected in our higher prices, but we think there is a genuine difference in the taste of the end product,” she says.
The priciest flavour in the Helados Jauja is the Cocoa Decadence, which comes with a price tag of more than $8 per scoop. It’s made with 80 per cent pure cocoa extracts and has a thick almost-syrupy texture.
Those more accustomed to woofing down 30c cones from McDonald’s might be taken aback, but the price of Cocoa Decadence is simply a reflection of the quality of ingredients used and the time and effort that goes into producing it.
Aside from Cocoa Decadence, Helados Jauja stocks flavours ranging from the traditional lemon sorbets and strawberry and cream varieties to the innovative Coconut Love and Apple Crumble, to the downright exotic Yerba Mate – an Argentinian tea.
The shop also has special flavours for special days like Guinness Stout for St. Patrick’s Day and Ola, Mi Amour (rosewater ice cream with pistachio and fresh raspberries) for Valentine’s Day.
The passion and philosophy behind Helados Jauja can be tasted in their ice cream, where every flavour has its own unique texture and taste and even the simplest flavour combinations are multifaceted.
“You can even see the black dots of the vanilla bean extract,” an excited customer exclaims as she receives her ice cream waffle cone.
From the flavours I tasted at the masterclass, I highly recommend the White Peaches and Lemon Sorbet, Strawberries and Cream, Apple Crumble and Yerba Mate.
For the Asian palate, there’s Black Sesame, which the Helados Jauja team says is wonderful paired with the Peanut Butter Blast – very reminiscent of the Chinese sweet soups.
For chocolate lovers, the 80 per cent cocoa ice cream is rich in flavour and definitely not to be missed. Other bestselling flavours include the Double-Shot Latte, Minty Mint and Salted Caramel.
For those who are interested in learning more about the making and appreciation of ice creams, watch out for the next Helados Jauja masterclass on their Facebook page or visit their store on 254 Lygon St, Carlton.