A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
Specialising in ice cream flavours as revolutionary as South American politics, but at a price.
Courtesy of the rather useful invention of the refrigerator, ice cream is an ageless, enduring sweet irresistible. Alongside a faceful of fairy floss, sticky dripping ice cream is likely the first sweet irresistible that most people experienced as prattling children. At the end of one’s life, when the teeth have all fallen out and blood sugar levels must be maintained within a certain numerical range, it presents itself as sweet relief from mundane existence. Australia is neither in want for the hot arid weather that triggers the ice cream craving nor for places that can satisfy such yearning. From MoMo & Coco’s overseas travel experiences however, Australia is in dire need of experimentalism when it comes to ice cream flavours. Snuggled into a narrow frontage amid the “Little Italian” tourist-magnet end of Carlton’s Lygon Street, the recently-opened Helados Jauja injects a sense of adventure, dancing to a South American tango rather than the long-sung arias of neighbouring Italian gelaterias.
On a stark white board hung at its frontage, Helados Jauja proudly declares its credentials in a language of negatives: “no colouring, no preservatives, no additives, no gelatine, no pre-mixes, no raw eggs, no short cuts.” Although this might appeal to those who subscribe to the protectionist all-organic/all-naturelle movement that is all the rage in the food scene, MoMo & Coco are indifferent. For us personally, to put it plainly, it’s flavour and value that counts…and as long as we don’t end up hospitalised. :) In terms of flavour, Helados Jauja is as revolutionary as South America’s 20th century history. The helados (ice cream) counter is roughly divided into three sections: South American flavours, classics and sorbets. As trialled and tested from multiple visits (two hastily photographed below, others not), MoMo & Coco would recommend that first-timers best follow the South American route, with original, chocolate or berry variations of luscious Dulce de Leche and robust Cafe Con Leche. There’s also the curious, vegetal Milk Yerba Mate (unsampled). MoMo & Coco would recommend that one consider the sorbets too. Bypass the traditional Italian flavours though, the real stand-outs here are the strange-but-addictive Soursop, refreshing Coconut and grenade-bomb Blood Orange. For future reference, MoMo & Coco would not really bother with the creamy classics — the Vanilla, Chocolate Mousse, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter had been too gingerly infused on our various samplings. For those interested, also available are Cinnamon, Boysenberry and Crystallised Ginger (unsampled). Highly conscious of its location in the student-town that is Carlton/Parkville, Helados Jauja additionally caters for homesick international students, with pop-up flavours of Durian, Pandan, Black Sesame, and White Sesame. On these latter flavours, MoMo & Coco refrain from commenting as we did not sample.
Cost varies, with certain flavours that require less time to manufacture and/or are more ubiquitous being priced at a lower range than flavours that correlate to the taste of South America. The price bracket at Helados Jauja is $6.00 for two scoops of the less-time-intensive flavours to $8.50 for the more unique South American flavours. For the sake of comparison, MoMo & Coco would note that one can obtain a 3-scoop icecream from well-regarded gelaterias in Italy for $2-$3 Euros (approx $4-$6 AUD). Similarly, the US’ ever-popular Ben & Jerry and Asia’s obsession with Haagen Dasz are priced at a lower price range. Clearly, Helados Jauja’s high-priced irresistible is not suitable for the drivelling child who takes one lick and lets it all melt in his/her hands.
With all our reviews in this journal-blog, MoMo & Coco have used our travel and other experiences as a referential benchmark. It is important for our readers to note that with the exception of having sipped Caribbean-esque cocktails, studied its historical/political intrigues, and snuggled with tales by J. Ribeiro, G. Marquez, C. Zafon, and I. Allende etc, MoMo & Coco have neither set foot on the South American continent nor herald from that culture. Hence, we have negligible exposure to that region and its cuisine, and therefore are unable to comment on the authenticity of such offerings in Melbourne. Notwithstanding this qualification, Helados Jauja is undoubtedly, in flavour experimentalism, as radically revolutionary as South American politics, introducing the scintillatingly delicious flavours of that continent, as well as a few from around the world. In terms of cost-factor however, it is as shockingly high as South America’s economic growth. One could justify the higher cost to “uniqueness.” But, even if one enters the market at a very auspicious time when everything South American is must-try trendy, such labels of “uniqueness” quickly lose their lustre when that market, as quickly, becomes saturated. It should not be forgotten that accessibility — for all ages and for all budgets — is at the heart of the simple jauja (luxury/paradise/joy) of helados (ice cream)…and so it should be at Helados Jauja en Australie.
- Dessert adventure checklist
- Dessert destination: Helados Jauja Ice Creamery, 254 Lygon Street, Carlton, Vic 3053.
- Budget: $$.
- Sweet irresistibles: Ice cream.
- Must-eat: The “Dulce de Leche” and “Soursop” ice cream.
- The short and sweet story: Specialising in ice cream flavours as revolutionary as South American politics, but at a price.