Nothing signals the approach of Summer quite like luscious scoops of ice cream teetering atop a wafer cone (or nestling in a bowl, if you're the cautious type). From tangy sorbets laced with fruit through to creamy confections topped with fudge, ice cream brings memories of childhood, of languid days lying by the pool, of vacations spent in the sun.
And if you're a hard core ice cream addict, one of the best places to indulge your cravings is Hastings Street in Noosa. Seemingly purpose-built for pleasure with its boutique shops and restaurants and proximity to the beach, one of the Sunshine Coast's most famous streets is also home to multiple gelaterias, sorbet shops and ice cream parlours - some of them comfortingly mainstream and others delightfully individualistic.
A minty mouthful. Image courtesy Baskin Robbins.
Which all means there's no better place to embark upon an ice cream crawl, as we did recently during a getaway weekend. For the uninitiated, ice cream crawls are just like pub crawls, minus the hangover. You simply just hop from one venue to the next, sampling the wares as you go, until you can no longer stand up straight. That's unlikely to happen with an ice cream crawl, of course. The worst that's likely to happen is an ice cream headache ... a sugar high ... or an urgent need to buy a set of clothes that's one size bigger.
Royal Copenhagen (41 Hastings St, Tel: 07 5447 3413) opened in 1983 on The Corso in Manly after its founder BT Wykoff imported the first circular gas fired cone cooker from Denmark. The Noosa store, like other Royal Copenhagen outlets, creates its own ice-cream and freshly-baked waffle cones. Chocolate dipping of cones and all toppings are included in the price. Another high profile favourite on Hastings Street is Baskin Robbins - the Noosa outlet is just one of 5,000 around the world. Caramel praline cheesecake, cotton candy and green tea are among the many flavours on offer.
The newer kid on the block is Nitrogenie (32 Hastings Street, Tel: 07 5455 3630) which opened its first store - in Noosa, appropriately - in 2012. Nitrogenie creates its ice cream using liquid nitrogen to produce a dense, creamy texture. The speed of the freezing process means real food flavours can be infused through the mix without the need to resort to artificial stabilisers or preservatives. Some of the innovative flavours include Eumundi strawberry and basil, peanut butter and jam sandwich and lemon lime and bitters.
Nitogenies will give you the taste sensation of your life. Image courtesy Nitrogenie.
Lovers of authentic gelato (the Italian word for ice cream) are well-served on Hastings Street as well, with both Gelatissimo (Bay Village on Hastings, Shop A1a Hastings Street, Tel: 07 5455 4212) and Massimo's Gelateria (75 Hastings Street, Tel: 07 5474 8022). Gelatissimo produces a product based on secret traditional Calabrian family recipes as well as the finest quality ingredients. Meanwhile Massimo's Gelateria has carved out an enviable reputation with artisanal flavours enlivened with fresh local ingredients such as macadamia nuts.
Frankly, I can't think of a better way to beat the summer heat.