Wafer or waffle, the ice cream wins

Most rational thinkers would agree that the most testing job while shopping at Centre City New World Supermarket has been buying vanilla ice cleam slices and pink wafer biscuits.

In days gone by, before supermarkets, you bought these at the corner dairy, taking the two separate wafers from a plastic container beside the freezer.

Simple.

But Centre City New World demanded almost Mensa intelligence to pull off the same task.

Being a rational thinker myself, I like to start shopping at the back of the supermarket and work my way to the front, to the frozen stuff.

But also being an irrational thinker - and men are good at being both - I often don't have a list, so when I get to the frozen stuff, I see the ice cream slices, grab a box, and then have to trek all the way to the back of the supermarket to try to find the wafers.

Sometimes I spend hours looking for the wafers, by which time the slices had turned into a gooey smoothie on my shoes.

The wafers never seemed to be in a logical place, usually somewhere between light bulbs, stationery and cashew nuts.

However, things have changed.

In their drive to celebrate retro ice cream - witness the return of the Joy Bar two years ago - Tip Top now package their ice cream slices with the pink wafers already in the box.

But the new ice cream slice is smaller, like the Joy Bar before it.

I applaud Tip Top for this.

A lesser man would accuse our ice cream giant - albeit now just a flick of a pen in the Fonterra balance sheet - of trying to make more money through thinly-disguised shrinkage, but I know Tip Top's heart beats in a far more altruistic place: it is clearly concerned that we have become one of the fattest nations on earth through our appalling diet, and is intent on cutting our intake of fatty food.

I daresay by the year 2015, the slice will be the size of a Cameo Creme biscuit.

The New Zealand ice cream industry has annual awards, which I follow keenly.

I wrote in this column last year how jubilant I was to see Goody Goody Gum Drop released on a stick, a jubilance only matched by how I felt when Goody Goody Gum Drop won the 2009 award for Standard Ice Cream With Inclusions - ahead of Cookies And Cream and a hundred others.

Goody Goody Gum Drop also won the overall category for all forms of standard ice cream.

My close personal friends, convinced this flavour belongs at children's parties along with hundreds and thousands bread, laugh at me no longer.

My other personal favourite, made right here by the wonderful Gourmet Ice Cream Company, is licorice.

Again, this is a love shared by only half of my close personal friends.

If even that.

But I should add that the 2009 New Zealand Ice Cream Awards, top overall ice cream was the Licorice Gelato produced by the Takapuna Beach Cafe.

This one defeated specialist brands that cost more than Imperial Tokay wine.

Licorice ice cream, then, clearly lives on the top shelf.

New Zealand makes superb ice cream.

I have devoured ice cream in nearly 30 continents and have yet to find ice cream as good as ours.

In my days as a cricket writer, I shared my passion with Glenn Turner, an avowed ice cream lover.

He also felt our ice cream was the best in the world.

Indeed, there were members of the NZ Cricket Council in the 1970s who probably thought Glenn only came back from England in summer for the ice cream.

The 2010 NZICMA Awards came out last week. Goody Goody Gum Drop won a gold and a silver.

The new ice cream slice was nowhere to be seen.

• Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.