Helados Jauja

Name: Helados Jauja
Location: 254 Lygon St Carlton VIC 3053
Cost: Different for standard and deluxe flavours. Ranges from $4.70 to $11.60. Price list below.
Cost rating: 1/5
Taste rating: 8.5/10
Overall rating: 7.5/10
Would I go again? Only for special occassions. There is the rest of Lygon St to explore.

Large open store front/ But, tiny service counter/Not lost on Lygon.

I must be one of very few people who don’t like this place. I don’t believe it lives up the hype as ‘the most perfect luscious, full-flavoured frozen dessert ever’. The flavours are excellent, no doubt. The flavours are something special as it tastes like what it is supposed to taste. The flavours are divided into two categories: classic and deluxe. Classic flavours include your Spotty Dog, Strawberry etc. Deluxe flavours include things like chai, dulce de leche and peanut butter. But I was let down by its texture, or rather it’s lack of consistency and care with ice crystallisation.

Helados Jauja (pronounced ‘hkow-hka’, but ‘how ha’ is also acceptable. It means ‘absolute indulgence’.) is an artisan southern Argentinian/Patagonian gelati store. Their word for gelati is helados. Helados Jauja uses natural flavourings and whole food ingredients, with their philosophy as ‘the fruit is fruit. The milk, is milk. The cream, is cream.’

So many flavours/ No time for indecision/ Deluxe flavour, go!

Tastes like my chai tea/ Except in gelati form/ In a waffle cone

I tried the masala chai helados (a deluxe flavour.) My favourite chai tea has a lot of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper and cardamom, resulting in a spicier flavour than most chai teas. I didn’t expect the chai helados to be as strongly flavoured as my favourite tea. But it was, and it was glorious. It even had roughly the same ratios of spices. It was indeed very full-flavoured. I have absolutely no problem with the flavour. (The chai helados can be a little gritty and powdery at times. I suspect that is a problem to do with filtering the spice mix out of milk/cream.)

The issue I have is how quickly the helados melts. The ice crystals are coarser than what I expect any icecream or gelati to be. Fine ice crystals are desirable in a frozen dessert product, as it improves mouthfeel. It also prevents the frozen dessert from melting too quickly, and becoming watery when it melts. Thus, a quicker than usual melting time is a sign of an inferior product. Sorry to say, the chai helados melts extremely quickly and becomes watery. As does the dolce de leche flavour. (Melts so quickly that it soaks the tissue, which then gets stuck on the waffle cone, and dries on your hands and arm in a sticky mess. That’s a pretty good indication you got a problem. )

Maybe it’s the freezer unit the helados are stored in, or the mixing process, or that we arrived at Helados Jauja as soon as it opened (at 1:40pm on weekdays). I hope that the ice crystal issue was just a one-off, or that is has been fixed because I did enjoy the flavours. It’d be a shame if the texture let the flavours down.

Price list (it’s fairly expensive, even when compared with the rest of Lygon St, home to countless gelati stores.)

Single scoop
Classic (orange labels) $4.70
Deluxe (yellow labels) $5.30

Two scoops
Classic + Classic $6.00
Classic + Deluxe $7.50
Deluxe + Deluxe $8.60

Three scoops
C C C $9.00
C C D or C D D $10.60
D D D $11.60


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