I can’t be the only person who loves ice cream so much. There must be customers out there just longing for good ice cream!
Indeed, at the Carnaby Street food festival this summer, the Blu Top ice cream truck (a small London business) was handing out free ice cream in the street. The ice cream was so good I didn’t mind queueing 45 minutes to receive mine.
On a side note – the owner (and ice-cream-van-man) was so unbelievably, admirably cheery that I can only assume he eats a lot of his own ice cream. Check out their awesome flavours!
Anyway. So learning to make my own ice cream is a long-term goal of mine. And indeed has been since I made mud-shakes when I was little and discovered that they could freeze. There are so many recipes for ice cream online, especially during the summer, that really there is no excuse for my having not done so already.
I’ll start with something simple like strawberry or vanilla (or both). After narrowing down a recipe that makes the best ice cream, the most difficult (but most fun) bit is going to be experimenting with strong and wacky flavours. How do you even make kiwi flavour? Or cinnamon flavour? Or apple?
It is going to be a long, delicious process but I feel determined to get there. And not only for my own greedy ice cream cravings.
Imagine serving wacky ice cream to customers. Lots of restaurants have house flavours – oriental restaurants often serve flavours such as lychee or black pepper. Wouldn’t it be great to see customers’ faces light up at all the weird gelato possibilities? Have you ever looked around at customers’ faces when queuing at a gelateria? Pure joy. Put it on a menu, witness it at a restaurant.
Ice cream also never fails as the perfect dessert, in my humble gelato-obsessed opinion. Have you ever seen a young couple walking in the late evening with ice cream cone in hand after a successful dinner date? The best ending.
That might be a fairly romantic way of looking at ice cream as a menu item. But hey, that’s how I feel about ice cream.
The Flat Iron restaurant in Covent Garden isn’t far off that mentality either. Flat Iron serves a house steak (a flat iron cut, of course) and various utterly delicious sides, but what is truly great, at the Covent Garden restaurant only, is that they offer you a free ice cream cone at the end. I wasn’t even expecting it. I was sat there, totally full from a delicious meal and fairly tippled from half a bottle of Merlot and a few Old Fashioneds, and a free ice cream was offered to me. Is there anything more good, more pure, in this world?
The restaurant’s reason is that a gentleman called Carlo Gatti brought the penny-lick to Covent Garden in Victorian times. To honour Gatti Flat Iron now give a free ice cream cone to their customers.
If you want to be cynical then it may be a clever publicity thing. But the ice cream (salted caramel with Dominican dark chocolate shavings) was damn good. And that’s all that really matters to me.
The ice cream was scooped out of a huge vat, manned by one member of staff, just inside the front window of the restaurant. Would it be more difficult for me to bring ice cream to the menu of a small restaurant? To be honest with you, I really like the idea of giving free ice cream to my customers. It may be a publicity stunt, but judging by Flat Iron’s entry queue it must work.
In any case, wouldn’t bringing ice cream to customers cheaply, or even free of charge, be wonderful for a gelato-lover like me? I’ll have to find a way.
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Coming up soon:
What’s so damn good about Polpo?
The Ginger Pig Meat Book – and what it taught me.
The first supper club (!!)