I found myself in a strange situation at work yesterday. I’ve been freelancing at a well-known diet magazine and was offered a mini cupcake by some kind colleague who I’d never met. Of course, it was worlds away from the food mag world, where cakes, bakes (and recently, turkeys) come out of the Test Kitchen at regular intervals, but I’m the kind of person who can’t leave a scrap of food on her plate, let alone turn down free food. For once, though, I let them pass me by. ‘Gosh, you are good,’ she said. If only she knew that the reason I was so strong-willed was that I had just spent my entire lunch hour testing 13 of The Icecreamists new Autumn/Winter ice creams.
For those of you who don’t know The Icecreamists, they’re the guys who hit the headlines earlier this year for serving breast milk ice cream. Yes, really. That, by far and away, is their most popular flavour, even after taking it off the menu, according to founder Matt O’Connor. Even now, they’re inundated with requests, but apparently it was only ever meant to be a satirical statement, questioning why it’s OK to consume any mammal’s milk. But I digress. What they really should be known for is making damn good gelato.
There are normally about 10-15 gelatos and sorbettos on offer, most of which are made every morning in the basement of their Maiden Lane cafe. Piled high in martini glasses (there is no ‘small’ portion) and with fantastical names such as Sex Bomb, The Vanilla Monologues and Cold Sweat, you get the idea that these guys are breaking the mould when it comes to ice cream.
Some of the flavours to look out for in the next few weeks (yet to be named) are:
- Black Vanilla — showcasing the creamiest vanilla gelato but with a hint of charcoal and natural food colouring. Try it served in one of their iconic black cones.
- Mulled Wine — Ice cream isn’t just for summer. This is a scoop of pure Christmas.
- Pistachio — Perhaps not as innovative, but this one just focuses on being the best pistachio ice cream ever. Contentious issue, but you’re not going to know until you try it! Incredible.
My lunch hour finished with Roberto Lobrano (of Carpagiani’s Gelato University, no less), demonstrating a simple yet brilliant gelato dessert. Simply take a basic custard gelato (before adding flavours), and drizzle over a couple of tbsp of aged Moderna balsamic vinegar. Stir and beat together slowly until the alcohol in the balsamic starts to melt the ice cream, to almost reach a pouring consistency. To serve in Icecreamists style, tip into a martini glass and serve. The result is a deliciously sweet gelato, with a slightly acidic, oaky finish that leaves you longing for more.
The Icecreamists have two branches, one in Covent Garden Market and the other nearby on Maiden Lane. Visit The Icecreamists for more info.