Since first popping up at Pâtissez in Canberra last year, freakshakes have raced across the nation. The over-the-top milkshakes vary from venue to venue, but they’re likely to have chocolate syrup streaming down the outside and a crown of fairy floss. Or doughnuts.
50SixOne is one local cafe that’s jumped on the trend.
“What’s not to love?” says co-owner Simon Flocco. “We’re all about the theatre of food.”
There’s no denying the freakshake is great social media fodder. When the Hyde Park dessert bar opened in July, it had around 4,000 followers on Facebook and 2,000 on Instagram. Now, those numbers are 18,000 and 14,000, respectively.
“The response has been humbling. We had no idea what to expect,” Flocco says. “Adelaide has welcomed and supported us from day one.”
He’s not kidding. 50SixOne is open for 16 hours a day, but despite being open longer than they’re closed, demand is high enough that people still need to line up out the door to get their hands on the cafe’s latest lactose-based creation.
At upwards of $20 per shake, the towering glass jars come loaded with precarious tiers of home made Italian doughnuts, chewy meringues, piles of fresh cream and drizzles of chocolate. Others are festooned in Froot Loops, candy necklaces, and giant swirl lollipops.
The cafe’s latest instalment is “Love is in the Aero”, a chocolate milkshake covered in green fairy floss. According to Flocco it takes around 10 hours to design each shake. “The great thing is there are no rules, so you’re only limited by your imagination,” he says.
Last year Broadsheet Sydney photographer Alana Dimou took this idea to its grotesque limit, creating a parody photo series titled Extreme Milkshakes. Dimou’s photos include a freakshake topped with a towering hamburger; and another with an entire roast chicken on top of the glass.
Her ridiculous series was in aid of an entirely valid point: just how far will we go for an eye-catching photo? Whatever your thoughts on these over-the-top creations, there’s no denying they're a conversation starter. Whether this hype can (or should) be sustained in the long run, remains to be seen.