This means “Open” in Spanish. This March, in Melbourne, I discovered a relatively new-kid-on-the-block. It was an ice-cream store, that was opened in last October. I love ice cream. Many of my happy travel moments are punctuated by ice-cream doses. It is like a taste of heaven, transporting me to somewhere happy and lofty.
You can imagine my excitement when I tasted “Helados”, Spanish for Ice-Cream. Not just that, it was from “Helados Jauja”, an Argentian ice-cream store, in Melbourne. In Melbourne, it was the Italians who dominated the ice-cream scene with Gelato. Dulche De Leche? I’ve never tried Argentine Style Caramel.
I digged into my favourite Gelato flavor – Hazelnut. It was beautiful. The consistency is a cross between Gelato and Dondurma, the Turkish ice-cream. The nutty Hazelnut flavor felt real. It was milky, smooth and utterly delightful. Pricing? Very reasonable.
That got me curious.
Who started this? How did they make it? Why Melbourne?
The inspiration for this creation came all the way from Patagonia, south of Argentina. I googled. The place looks gorgeous. The snow capped mountains look like they’re from the ice-age. [Fly me there now!] Apparently, it is one of the world’s most incredible glacier parks.
The Argentinian couple who started Helados Jauja, were skilled crafts makers who moved from Bueno Aires to the rustic Patagonian Valley of El Bolson. They made ice-cream the old fashioned way, by hand, used real and quality ingredients free of additives, gelatins and preservatives. They birthed “Helados Jauja” where “Jauja” means ‘absolute indulgence’. Legend has it that it was the name of a mythological land, a place for extreme comfort and pleasure, where food literally falls into your mouth.
A Malaysian lady, name Po-Lin, who spent a few months in Argentina, discovered Helados Jauja. She used to practice law and loves ice-cream. She started the branch in Melbourne using the same philosophy, same techniques and with the same spirit. Every morning, the Helados are handmade. The people serving the ice-cream are happy larks. What’s unique about the Melbourne store? Asian flavours. Tapping on her Asian heritage, you can find flavours such as Black Sesame, Soursop and even Durian!
I wrote to her and got a quick interview with her:
What blown you away about your trip to Argentina?
Argentina is a large country with a landscape that varies so vastly as you travel from her north to her south…each part is uniquely astounding and she is any traveller’s paradise. In most parts of the world, the name ‘Argentina’ is synonymous with beef and Evita but there is so much more to the country and her people for travellers to discover.
How was the process and journey like in bringing the Helados Jauja heritage over to Melbourne?
Our ethos at Helados Jauja is to make ice-cream the old-fashioned artisan way using real ingredients – milk, cream, eggs, fruits – instead of premixes which are so prevalent in today’s ice-cream making world. The journey we embarked is one that is both exciting and challenging. In Melbourne, we face an entirely new market and a new culture of ice-cream consumption which is slightly different to that in Argentina. Still, at the heart of what we do is a passion about the produce used and the love of wholesome delicious ice-cream.
Why the switch from law to ice-cream?
Law is a great profession and offers a very rewarding career path. Good ice-cream has always been a personal passion and when combined with the challenge of becoming an entrepreneur, the concept appealed to me!
Ice-cream is a product which transcends age and has withstood the test of time. Today authentic ice-cream made the old-fashioned artisan way without the use of premixes, flavouring and colouring is becoming a rare treat. Our goal is to re-introduce to all lovers of ice-cream the ‘real thing’.
How many hours are spent in the morning creating the ice-cream?
Our kitchen operates on a full-time basis as you would with any commercial kitchen. Because we use only real ingredients, our ice-creams take us days…and in some instances weeks, to make. Fruits have to be peeled and a lot of actual cooking is involved to bring you that delightful taste of heaven in one scoop!
I love how they keep things fresh. While always serving their traditional flavours like Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut and Walnuts, they surprise customers with fresh flavours like their latest Balsamico, made with Balsamic Vinegar from Modena and Eggnog [Fly me to Melbourne…now!].
If you’re in Melbourne, drop by Helados Jauja at
254 Lygon Street Carlton Melbourne Australia
Opening Hours: Daily 1:45pm-10:30pm
+61 3 9041 2927
For new flavours, check out: https://www.facebook.com/heladosjauja
- Jael Chng