Friday, July 6, 2007

Designer Ice cream

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream”, “… without ice cream, life and fame are meaningless”, “… you’re love’s better than ice cream”, popular quotes and hit songs all refer to ice cream as a measure of the finer things in life. I remember as a child, ice cream was my reward after a visit at the doctor’s office. I recall how a scoop of chocolate ice cream was so worth all the poking and the waiting. There is no real occasion needed enjoy a choco fudge on a cone; girlfriends cry over lost loves over oodles of double dutch; not one kid’s birthday party is without a gallon of rocky road; or just because rum raisin is so good!
When I lived in Europe, I enjoyed ice cream parlors everywhere. The Italians are known for their gelato. It is said that it was Marco Polo who first brought a recipe of this treat to Europe from his trip after having seen ice cream being made in China, using a mixture of buffalo milk, camphor and flour frozen while buried in snow. Sometime in the 16th century, this frozen delight evolved into a finer delicacy being flavored with fruits. "Cream Ice," as it was called, was a favored dessert by kings and its popularity spread to the whole of Europe. It soon reached America, as the settlers came and brought it along. It was a revered dessert that it was reserved for the elite. After it was made available to the general public, it was a special treat, eaten mostly on Sundays. Clergymen thought it was “sinfully” rich that they didn’t want it being associated to the Sabbath, thus changed the “y” to “e” which was the origin of the Ice Cream Sundae. It dates back so many centuries of savoring pleasure.
I went out in search for the authentic taste of fruity and exotic ice creams. I sampled quite a few over my eight years in Bangkok. I really like to enjoy grown up flavors in a warm ambience, and maybe a good cappuccino to match. The Visage (#29 Sukhumvit Soi 38, Tel: 02 7136048) has designer ice creams to tease your palate. Their chef, Eric Perez, brought flair to this simple icy indulgence. The vanilla beans they use come from Madagascar which makes the taste so authentic, not only dashed with the essence, the tiny black spots of the vanilla are evident. A perfect creation is Noisettine (B185), a flavored hazelnut dacquoise (meringue) accompanied by vanilla bean ice cream. For the fruity taste as real as they get, they have passion-banana, mango, coconut, raspberry and strawberry sorbets. A scoop is refreshing (B51) or for the more daring a Ruby Coup (B175), harmony of raspberry and strawberry sorbet and vanilla bean ice cream with mixed berry coulis and an orange tuile (crisp rolled thin cookie), is a tempting choice. They were even bold enough to try extraordinary flavors including: lemon grass; ginger and u, ah… chocolate chili! If that’s not an aphrodisiac, I don’t know what else to make of it.

Since living in Thailand and having loads of delicious native fruits available everywhere, I wonder why they don’t make it into premium ice cream. They are so juicy and flavorfully unique and can definitely give temperate fruits a run for their money. I especially love santol and I thought its sweet sour taste would make a great sorbet. Fortunately, the Iberry (Tel: 02-756-1300; had this idea conceived some 4 years ago. Their signature ice cream are mainly Thai tropical fruits such as ma-toon, tamarind, santol, gooseberry, sapodilla, lychee, wild orange, durian, mangosteen, mango, and young coconut ((B40 per scoop). Although not all of these mouth-watering flavors are available all year round, they offer the season’s best fruits. Being true to the Thai fruits’ purest taste, most are made into sorbets. Of course they also have yogurt or cream based, some even mixed with varieties of berries and some fusions of east and west tastes. Started as a small specialty ice cream place in Sukhumvit soi 24, they have since expanded to 15 branches: takeout places and cafes. I especially like the Thonglor Soi 15 branch, which is a hangout place, with a nice cozy feel. Move over Starbucks, ice cream parlors are becoming a better alternative for a “chill”.

Ice cream is always associated to fun times, either while on a walk in a park or a celebration, we need the taste of it to get that snug feeling back to pick ourselves up. Once in a while, we need to indulge the craving and just enjoy and feel like a carefree child. That’s what ice cream does to me. Like the famous French philosopher Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite, what a pity it is not illegal”.

June Sauer


gea said...

Very interesting topics. How can I subscribe online?

Kanjanarom said...

Great articles, good informations with beautiful pictures. I would love to read more.