The Magazine for AUT Alumni 2018

Art, science and ice cream with Giapo Grazioli

Art, science and ice cream with Giapo Grazioli

Giapo Grazioli (Diploma of Applied Science, Food Science, 2011) is the innovative and entertaining creative force behind ice cream store Giapo. Dedicated to stretching the boundaries of how flavour can be conveyed, Giapo explains what sound and emotion have to do with frozen confectionery. You’ll never look at a melting cone the same way.

How did your business come about?

It did not come about as a complete and formed idea - Giapo morphed from one idea to another to another – we were a patisserie before we went into ice cream. There was never one ‘Aha’ moment ever, instead there were many, ‘this might work’ moments followed by ‘let me try harder.’ We decided to do something new – we want to surprise and entertain.

"I'm inspired by people who have not made it yet, and like me are trying to do something that challenges the status quo."

Who or what inspires you?

I'm inspired by people who have not made it yet, and like me are trying to do something that challenges the status quo. I look for strong emotions, emotions that leave you breathless. Every time I create a new flavour, I look for that feeling.

What would you like to experiment with next?

I'm always coming up with new possibilities. Our successful experiments have included 3D printing, our hot ice cream dessert, a black smoke ice cream, and the effect of music on taste. It's ongoing.


I have also commissioned research with AUT toward the development of better bacteria for yoghurt, not only because of the taste but also because of the health properties.

Any plans to go beyond ice cream into other foods?

No. Giapo is ice cream and it will stay like this, and I will be at helm.

Tell us about your experimentation with the effect of sound on the taste of food.

It came from an idea that I had, a thought of how some food might taste better if it was paired with exogenous factors including music. I shared the idea with one of my lecturers at AUT and she shared it with a student, Kevin Kantono who ended up doing his PhD on it. We learnt that people who ate chocolate gelato while listening to their favourite song reported higher levels of positive emotions and sweetness than when listening to their least favourite song.

From a scientific point of view, I am proud of what has been achieved around a simple idea and I am proud to see the idea scaling and taking new forms.

Are you a scientist or an artist?

I would like to be an artist one day. I consider my work post-modern – when you think about it, I’m taking the most needless item of food and making it even more needless, it’s unprecedented! And Giapo does not make a profit – it serves me to express a new language that connects ice cream and art, and hopefully can be remembered once I am gone.

As an Italian living in New Zealand, what does your heritage bring to your business?

I am fascinated by art, science, design, innovation and ice cream and somehow they all have some Italian connection.

And what does New Zealand give to you?

New Zealand is fresh and new and open and edgy - things that I cannot claim under my Italian heritage. There is no nostalgia in our creative process.

Giapo has recently relocated from Auckland’s Queen Street to 12 Gore Street.

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