Sep 12, 2009

Castle Ice Cream's Smiling Faces

I once heard the phrase "A smile costs nothing" and I have never forgotten it. The truth is that a smile only comes from inner happiness, a joy and sense of well being or satisfaction. Seeing a baby smile for the first time is a wonderful experience because you know it is feeling genuine happiness.

On holiday recently we stayed in a hotel where the bathroom mirror had printed around the rim the words "I have never seen a smiling face that wasn't a beautiful one".

In my own memory, I can never recall seeing someone that didn't smile whilst they were eating an ice cream cone or ice cream sundae. They may not even realise they are doing it but it's a natural reaction to a fun experience. Indeed, many of us as we grow older smile more than children when we eat ice cream.

Why is that?

Well, it could be because we feel it's just a little bit 'naughty', indulging ourselves in a special treat, especially if we are watching the calories intake or are dressed in smart clothes that don't need a splurge of ice cream dropped onto them from an ice cream cone!

Take this smartly dressed lady for example on the right, a recent visitor to Eastnor Castle's "Ice Cream Parlour" in Herefordshire, England.

She manages to enjoy a melting ice cream cone without spilling a single drop onto her clothing.

Nicely done!

Her friend (pictured left) clearly could not resist smiling whilst enjoying her ice cream cone. Again she manages to not spill a drop of it onto her clothes!

Even the girl serving behind the ice cream counter is smiling.

That's what I love about ice cream - the sheer fun of it. Whether you are a child or an adult, the magic is the same. It's also an eternal magic that never fades. In my view, as long as you love ice cream you will always be able to manage a smile.

PS. The ice cream these ladies are eating at the Eastnor Castle "Ice Cream Parlour" is, I am told, supplied by a local dairy called Brookes Dairy. Their ice cream range includes both traditional and unusual ice creams including Almond Praline, Cointreau & Orange and Choc American (vanilla with pecans, toffee and cookie pieces swirled with chocolate sauce). Don't they sound delicious! To read more go to Brookes Ice Cream products page. Even HRH Prince Charles has tasted their ice cream - and loved it!

Labels: , , ,

May 19, 2009

Beach Ice Cream

Eating ice cream on the beach .... what a wonderful picture that conjures up in the mind. Children and adults alike love eating ice cream by the sea.

Why is that? Well, let's take a look at it.

To my way of thinking there are a few reasons for this but the main 3 main reasons are:
  1. Most of us go on a beach when it's sunny and warm and on a warm day an ice cream is a really welcome treat - cool and refreshing.
  2. Eating ice cream can be a bit messy. Let's face it, how many of us have never dripped an ice cream cone onto our clothes? I don't see many hands up in the air for that one! So where better to not worry about messing up your clothes than when you're on the beach - most people are in their casual clothes or swimwear so it's not a big deal to clean up any ice cream that's gone astray.
  3. On many beaches, even on those without major facilities for buying food and drink, you can usually find an ice cream seller that comes by during the day. Sometimes on foot but very often in a small motorised ice cream cart, these ice cream sellers doing a roaring trade.

Here's a photograph of one in Zandvoort where the beach stretches for miles on end, giving the ice cream seller a vast sales patch. It must be good business - look at how well organised this ice cream seller is with a tractor and beautifully attractive pink ice cream cart. Hard to resist!

Zandvoort, like many other seaside resorts, is abundant with opportunities to eat ice cream off the beach as well.

It has some great ice cream parlours and some of the best ice cream display cones I've ever seen.

If you know of a great beach for ice cream and want to share it with others I have left this post open to comments. No junk mail please - this is a serious blog for people seriously interested in ice cream. Thank you on behalf of all the good bloggers that are out there!

Labels: , , ,

May 11, 2009

The Prospect: No More Ice Cream Trucks On Our Streets

It was with total disbelief that I read a news item the other day about how in Britain there is a move towards banning ice cream trucks from parking in residential streets to sell their ice cream. Crazy or what?!

Apparently, some local councils are fearful that ice cream trucks may cause a public nuisance and could even contribute to childhood obesity. So some are no longer issuing street vending licences to ice cream sellers.

I grew up looking forward every week to the ice cream truck coming down our street, parking within easy walking distance of our house and being allowed by my parents to go and enjoy a special treat of a vanilla ice cream cone sometimes smothered in raspberry sauce or with a chocolate flake. The memories come flooding back as I begin to reminisce. Some of the happiest days of my childhood were ice cream days like that. Moreover, I didn't become obese as a result!

I know I'm not alone in my feelings too - many people eat an ice cream cone and can't help but smile as they do so, recalling fond memories of enjoying ice cream when they were younger. Like John who owns some Penrith cottages and writes a great little blog - in one of his posts about a walk in the Eden Valley he mentions eating an ice cream cone. Then there are movies where eating ice cream cones is portrayed as no less than a part of our cultural heritage - take for example 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' (1951 original with Michael Rennie). There's a scene where the man from outer space spends a day out in Washington getting a taste of what human life is about and he gets to eat an ice cream cone. Speaking of Washington, President Obama has a love ice cream that he's happy to share with his family, as witnessed last year during the presidential elections. Read about it in my US Presidents and Ice Cream blog post and also how Senator McCain reacted excitedly upon hearing an ice cream truck whilst he was out campaigning. Very pointedly, none of the people mentioned are obese.

So come on Britain, let some common sense prevail please and leave the ice cream man alone!

Labels: , ,

Mar 8, 2009

Ice Cream Poke & Ice Cream Slider

Today I heard two expressions relating to ice cream that I had NEVER heard before - ice cream poke and ice cream slider.

My family and I were visiting some dear friends (whose hospitality is always wonderful) and amongst our many topics of conversation - eg. the history of the Titanic, big band jazz, making ceramics and the technology of sonic horns - we started talking about ice cream.

Now these friends know about my passion for ice cream and indeed I helped them get an electric ice cream maker of their own which they use regularly to try out my ice cream recipes. So you would think that having discussed ice cream with them before, there could be no way of them using terms completely unfamiliar to me ... but they did. You see Don was born in Belfast (which I pronounce as "bellfast" but he insists should be said as "belfarst") and on recalling childhood memories of ice cream he suddenly referred to ice cream pokes and ice cream sliders.

The quizzical expression on my face must have said it all so he kindly explained ....

ice cream poke = ice cream cone

ice cream slider = ice cream sandwich (using wafers)

Having returned home, I had to look this up! Apparently, these expressions are used throughout Ireland and also parts of Scotland. The ice cream poke expression interested me most and after a little digging what I discovered made perfect sense. I had heard the expression "a pig in a poke" before but never stopped to think about it. Apparently, one meaning of the word 'poke' is a sack or bag - a definition dating back over 600 years to medieval England! So it's totally logical to use the word to describe a cone for holding ice cream.

Great to have an English lesson from an Irishman - thank you Don!

Labels: , , ,

Feb 10, 2009

Valentine's Day - Ice Cream or Nigella's Coca Cola Ham?

Well, Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I can't believe it's a year already since I wrote my last Valentine's Day Ice Cream blog post.

My suggestion then was to make Valentine's Day extra special by actually making something yourself for your Valentine as opposed to just buying something. Let's face it, showing that you're prepared to put in some personal effort has to be viewed as a genuine token of affection. Last year I suggested making some homemade ice cream based on your Valentine's favorite ice cream flavor such as strawberry ice cream or chocolate ice cream.

Whilst this still rings true as a great idea, for those of you looking for a culinary idea but perhaps a main course rather than a dessert, here's a recipe that a friend of mine, Elaine Rogerson, told me about recently and said was wonderful - Ham In Coca Cola. Sounds a little unusual? Well, that's what I thought but as you can see from the photograph this is a serious dish. (Thanks for the super photo Elaine) I also found other people on the Net raving about it. Elaine tells me it's a recipe by Nigella Lawson who is a British TV cook so I looked it up on the Net and here's the recipe along with some reviews. You can also find it in Nigella's book 'How To Eat, the pleasures and principles of good food'.

Any vegetarians reading this post might be a little disappointed if I didn't also quote a non-meat dish so here's one, again from Nigella Lawson - Double Potato & Halloumi Bake. Like the Coca Cola Ham, I haven't tried it but it sounds delicious. The truth is I have tried other recipes by Nigella and they've been so good that I trust pretty much everything she recommends. The hit of our Christmas Dinner in fact was her recipe for roast parsnips in maple syrup and that was fabulous and as my friend Elaine is a pretty smart, Scottish lady (she's involved with an international security systems company with things like Multisys Security), she knows a good thing when she sees it - so I know better than to ignore her advice about the Coca Cola Ham!

Now back to Valentine's Day ... of course you can still buy your Valentine a great Valentine's Day card. I looked around on the Net for some good Valentine's Day card ideas and here are a few:
Pop-up Valentine's Day Cards
Jumping Cracker Beans Valentine's Cards

One more thought ... never forget just how romantic ice cream can be. Be it on Valentine's Day or any other day, there's something special and very endearing about sharing an ice cream cone with the one you love. (Have to get my plug in for ice cream somewhere in this post!)

Labels: , , ,

Nov 5, 2008

Lakeland Terrier Belle & Ice Cream

I have written before about animals and ice cream on my website, recalling a fond childhood memory of my little Yorkshire Terrier (Josie) who loved eating mini ice cream cones. I've also put links to video clips of people's pets eating ice cream - from dogs to cats, rabbits, parrots, horses and even a lizard!

Well, I was reminded of just how much animals love ice cream when I met someone for the first time recently. Lee Rotherham breeds Lakeland Terriers, an unusual and beautiful breed of English terrier. Apparently these dogs have very unusual coats (in fact one layered underneath another) that grow in such a way as to provide a 'waterproofing' against wet weather. Isn't nature wonderful?

Anyway, back to my conversation with Lee.

I happened to mention how my little 'Yorkie' used to love ice cream.

"Belle does too!" he exclaimed with excitement.

Belle is one of Lee's prize Lakeland Terriers.

"Well I would feature her on my ice cream blog .... if I had proof" I said.

The next day I received this photo of Belle enjoying an ice cream cone. Isn't she cute? I just had to share this with my Blog Of Ice Cream readers!

If you love reading about dogs, especially terriers, you'll probably want to learn more about Lakeland Terriers.

Lee is based in the UK and here is his Lakeland Terriers website.

If you're outside the UK you might like to read the Nancy Kiss Caliente Lakelands website. Nancy is based in Canada.

Labels: , ,

Sep 28, 2008

Corporate Ice Cream Man

Let's face it many corporate people lead busy lives and live with lots of pressure. So we shouldn't begrudge them a little relaxation occasionally. Usually it comes in the form of a weekend away at a corporate events venue for corporate training and corporate team building inititatives but there's a much simpler form of relaxation available to them - enjoying a secrete little treat at lunchtime. If you look in any inner city park at lunchtime you'll probably find a businessman smartly dressed in corporate clothing quietly enjoying an ice cream cone. I used to see them often in my 'city' days in London.

You can tell at a glance if 'the corporate man' has eaten an ice cream cone in this situation before - he will have removed his tie, have his shirt unbuttoned at the top and be clutching a paper napkin in one hand (at the ready to remove any ice cream drips) whilst holding his precious ice cream cone in the other hand. It's actually a very organised affair! Here's a photo to show you what I mean.

If this corporate gentleman is careful he can not only return to his office for meetings without a trace of ice cream on his person but can sit listening to boardroom talk whilst smiling satsifyingly inside knowing he's enjoyed a secret treat at lunchtime. Now that's how to be sucessful (and happy) in the corporate world!

Labels: ,

Sep 8, 2008

An Ice Cream Flavor In Clothing

Summer is a time when many of us like to buy a new item or two of clothing, especially casual clothing when we want to be out in the sunshine and feel comfortable yet look good. Shopping online for clothes has never been easier but there is so much choice. When I shop online I must admit to being overwhelmed by the choices that come up and sometimes end up buying nothing and just closing my browser through sheer exhaustion of indecision!

When I was selecting items for the Online Store I knew I needed to put something in there for pretty much everyone and, particularly, for this time of year - summer. There are ice cream tee shirts for men, women, girls and youths and even 'onesies' for babies including a diaper cover with an ice cream cone pattern!

There's even a ladies' tank top with an ice cream cone logo - but it's not just any ice cream cone picture. It's of the famous "$1 million dollar ice cream cone" made by Lazare Kaplan for the Bruster ice cream company. Sadly the tank top is not diamond encrusted but for less than $21 I suppose you can't expect that.

There are hats and caps with ice cream cones and ice cream trucks as well as headbands and ties all with an ice cream theme.

Whatever you decide to wear this summer, get out there and enjoy every minute and if it's ice cream themed then good for you - spread the word about the fun of ice cream!

Labels: , , ,

Jun 14, 2008

Ice Cream On A Sunny Dutch Beach 1934

You may well wonder what prompted me to give this article such a title .... what would make me want to write about ice cream back in 1934 and on a Dutch beach of all places?

Well, I recently stumbled across a photograph on the web which stopped me in my tracks. It's a sepia toned photograph taken on the beach in Zandvoort (Netherlands) with four people in the picture all dressed for fun on the beach. There's a woman smiling and sitting on one of those wonderful big wicker chairs that you rarely see these days with another woman, obviously a mother, also smiling and sitting on the sand alongside her two young daughters. The girls are not looking at the camera though - they're busy concentrating on eating. The youngest girl in the middle appears to finishing off an ice cream cone.

It's a happy, almost idyllic photograph taken at a time when the world knew peace, at least for a while .... but this photograph holds a poignancy I've rarely experienced in an image. The young girl with the ice cream cone in one hand and the other hand on her mother's shoulder is none other than Anne Frank, just 5 years old. Beside her sits her elder sister Margot and the bespectacled lady in the wicker chair is Mrs. Schneider who worked for her father Otto Frank. They are on a day trip from Amsterdam. It is a picture of innocence and genuine happiness.

Little did the Frank family know the horrors that lay ahead for them and countless others and of course 5 year old Anne could not possibly have imagined that one day she would write the most well-known diary ever published. It is a sobering picture and one that should serve to remind us all that we should take pleasure in every moment and treasure all the simple pleasures of life - even enjoying an ice cream cone on a beach. View the photograph on this page about day trips from Zandvoort.

This week saw Anne Frank Day - Anne would have been 79 on Thursday (12 June). I was privileged some years ago to visit the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam and it is something I'll never forget. If you ever get the chance to go you should do so.

Labels: , , ,