A Date with Helados Jauja
254 Lygon Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
03 9041 2927
Disclosure: I attended this masterclass courtesy of Helados Jauja
I was extended a warm invitation to attend an ice cream appreciation masterclass called ‘Date with Jauja’. I count myself lucky, because the tickets are normally $50 per person, they run every 6 weeks and tend to get sold out.
Our lovely teachers for the day (pictured left) were Jose (who works in the front of house) and Marcela (who works behind the scenes in the kitchen). The class was casual and informative, and we got try all 26 ice cream flavours that were available on that day. We started off with Min (pictured right) giving a discussion about the ideal temperature that ice creams should be eaten at. She gave us samples of ice creams that are too cold (if that’s ever possible) and ones that are too soft.
The helados (ice creams) were then systematically introduced for us to sample one-by-one. With all 27 flavours loosely divided into four waves of ice creams, ala Plants vs Zombies style. .
First Wave: Lemon Sorbet, Blood Orange Sorbet, Cookies & Cream, Mango Sorbet, Kirsch Cream, Vanilla Bean, Hola Mi Amor
I’d love to go blow by blow here, but you’d probably end up bored, so I’ll touch on the highlights instead. The first wave consisted of sorbets and creams.
It was probably the first time I’d actually enjoyed sorbets… they weren’t overly sweet and you could taste the fresh citrus and zesty rind in the lemon and blood orange sorbets. The fresh mango sorbet (Jose’s favourite) was remarkably creamy and mellow for a sorbet, very nice. We also learnt about good flavour pairings, for example, vanilla bean goes very nicely with mango sorbet (pictured right). And the final surprise find was hola mi amor (hello my love), a raspberry and pistachio delight with a huggable fragrance of rose petals.
Second Wave: Yerba Mate, Toasted Black Sesame, Peanut Butter, Hazelnut, Goats Cheese with Cranberries, Raspberry Sorbet
The next wave consisted of Jauja’s original flavours, I liked just about all of them. Yerba mate is a strong and earthy-bitter Argentinian tea (top right photo)… matcha green tea lovers (like myself) will definitely enjoy this flavour. The black sesame was also another highlight, you could really taste its toasted fragrance. Peanut butter came confidently salty with a rich mouthfeel, while I loved how you could taste the nut skin in the hazelnut flavour.
Now that we’ve tasted quite a few flavours, we gave our palates a short break while Jose and Marcela went on to tell us more about everything ice cream. We learnt that the only difference between gelati, helados and ice creams is language, ie. they’re all one and the same thing. So you’re better off taking note of how freshly and sincerely the ice creams are made rather than stress over nomenclature.
Personally, I’d say you should just let your tastebuds make the decision. I can tell crap ice creams (made from powders) on first bite, and I’ve been known to bin uneaten cones of ice creams bought from mediocre joints.
Third Wave: White Chocolate with Raspberry, 62% Cacao Sorbet, 80% Cacao, Salted Chocolate, Cacao Decadence, Cassis (Blackcurrant)
The next wave involved everything chocolate… woohoo! I found myself loving the chocolate sorbet, which reminded me of single origin chocolates with hints of fruit. I learnt that sorbets are dairy free – they contain no milk, cream or eggs, meaning the flavour doesn’t get blunted. Comparing them side-by-side, the 80% Cacao actually tasted less deeply chocolatey than the 62% Cacao Sorbet. We also learnt that chocolate pairs nicely with almost everything, it really brought out the fruit flavours in the cassis nicely.
We also got to sample Cacao Decadence, which was the flavour that made Jauja’s founder, Po Lin, bring this concept into Australian shores. This ice cream was so rich and sticky that it almost reminded me of a dark chocolate brownie. If you want this premium flavour, you’ll have to ask the staff if they have it at the back, they don’t stock it at the front counter.
Final Wave: Caramelised Pear w Walnut, Durian, Caffe con Leche, Dulce de Leche con Nueces (Walnuts), Dulce de Leche Granizado (Chocolate Chip), Salted Caramel, Sambayon
The final wave involved all variations of dulce de leche, the famed Argentinian caramel spread. On its own, dulce de leche reminds me of caramelised condensed milk. It’s very very sweet, hence less to my liking and more for sweet tooths. But the star of this category for me would be durian, king of fruit.. heaven to some and stinky to others. Only two attendees out of the whole class (myself included) enjoyed this flavour, the rest turned a bit green, ha ha!
Toasted Black Sesame, Yerba Mate, Hazelnut | Hola Mi Amor, 62% Chocolate Sorbet, Blood Orange SOrbet
Our masterclass ended with all of its attendees agonising over what flavours to have for their complimentary triple scoop of helados, and what flavours (up to three) to pick for our complimentary take home pack. I was incredibly sugared out by that point, so I went ‘lighter’ with sorbets plus the rosy embrace of hola mi amor. My companion, Timmy, happened to pick my other favourite flavours for his triple scoop, talk about tastebud synchronisation!
I really enjoyed this ice cream appreciation masterclass. I’d like to thank Po Lin for inviting me, and our wonderful teachers Jose and Marcela as well as Min and the rest of team Jauja for taking care of our group so well. You’ll definitely see me again!