Duck Island Ice Cream, Hamilton, New Zealand.

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It is a bold move to open up an ice cream parlour in the middle of winter. But that is precisely what the folks at Duck Island have gone and done- and it’s paid off in dividends. Garnering  over 1,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook and gaining the attention of the likes of Cuisine magazine in just a few short weeks, ice cream has never been so hot.

The parlour is the brainchild of the trio behind the multi award winning restaurant Chim Choo Ree. It has a long-standing reputation for using fresh, seasonal produce in innovative and creative ways, and this ethos remains steadfast in Duck Island.

The parlour is light and airy, with big bay windows allowing customers to observe the street scene outside, or alternatively, they can tuck themselves away on any one of their generous tables.  Aside from a few delicately vintage touches, the décor is kept to a minimum, with pride of place being given to the expansive chiller that holds the ice cream.  It holds every hue in the rainbow, with each fantastical flavour artfully announced in white ink across the glass. Reading the flavours is a mind-boggling moment. How does the combination of honey, rosemary and pinenut taste outside of a roast dinner? If I eat their toast and jam flavoured ice cream does that mean I’ve had breakfast?

After collecting a fistful of sample spoons, I settled on the salted caramel and popcorn ice-cream sundae. Beautifully presented in a cut-glass sundae bowl, the popcorn ice cream was decadently smothered in a thick velveteen salted caramel sauce and garnished with a handful of caramel corn. I am told that the popcorn ice-cream requires an overnight infusion, and taking my first bite, my palette is flooded with beautifully balanced flavours- proving that good things really do take time.  It tastes like I am at the movies, and the richly buttery flavour of the ice cream is perfectly complimented by the sweetness of the sauce, and they get the portion size just right.

Duck Island is also vegan and gluten- free friendly, crafting all of their ice cream out of all-natural, seasonal products. So there is always something for everyone and something new to try- which could be dangerous.

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