Feb 5, 2010

Ice Cream Photos - Dutch Sundae & Polar Bear Ice Cream

Here are 2 photos that bring back great holiday memories ...


After a warm summer's day on holiday in Zandvoort we called in to a local ice cream parlour where they served this great ice cream sundae.

It never ceases to amaze me how inventive ice cream parlors can be when it comes to concocting ice cream sundaes.

This sundae was particularly delicious as it had one of the parlour's own 'special' ice cream recipes in it called "Dolce Vita" (a superb chocolate ice cream).


This wonderful bear with the ice cream cone was standing right next to our table at the ice cream parlour as we sat and ate our ice cream sundaes.

He looked as happy as we felt!

If the photo is to be believed then at least we now know what ice cream polar bears like to eat ... chocolate and mint choc chip, not forgetting the whipped cream on top of course :)

Labels: , , ,

Jan 25, 2010

Looking Back - Ice Cream Photos

Over the years I have taken hundreds, indeed probably thousands of photographs of ice cream. Homemade ice cream and ice cream sundaes that I have made myself and of course many ice cream scenes when I have been out and about. Everything from ice cream parlors to ice cream trucks, ice cream signs, ice cream display materials, people eating ice cream, ice cream on the beach, animals and ice cream ... the list is endless!

I was looking through some of these the other day and they brought back great memories. So as this 'New Year' gets under way, I've decided to share some of them with you. Over the coming posts I will publish selected photographs and give a little background as to their context.

I hope you will enjoy my ice cream photos!

Labels: , , ,

Dec 4, 2009

Ice Cream Toys & Games

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to get into the mood for Christmas. Most people have children amongst their families/friends to think of buying gifts for and here are some ice cream related ideas you might like to take a look at ....

Playmobil Ice Cream Parlor

Monopoly style board game for ice cream fans

Labels: , , ,

Nov 7, 2009

English Seaside Ice Cream, Hogwarts Castle & Craster Cornets!

Ice cream has lots of traditions - from the way it's made to the way it's served and lots more. What I find interesting is to look into what makes ice cream 'traditional' to any particular geographical area. It might be the quality of the local milk, the type of locally grown fruit that is available or, if it's an area that attracts tourists, it might even be that the ice cream is produced especially to cater for the tastes of the 'incomers'. The truth is, like with all things ice cream, there are many variations on a theme.

In England, for example, ice cream is produced by a wider variety of people than ever before. You have the traditional, small, local companies whose family have been making ice cream for generations but also there are many dairy farmers now turning to producing their own ice cream which they sell direct to retailers and sometimes even directly to the public from their own ice cream shop. One tradition, however, that is thankfully still alive and kicking is that of the ice cream parlour though it is by no means thriving. The most common and indeed most popular is the traditional 'seaside' ice cream parlour (in the States they're called ice cream parlors of course). I have many happy childhood memories of them on the Yorkshire coast (Scarborough especially) and in more recent years have found others such as when I visited Alnwick Castle - or Hogwarts Castle as many now call it (the Harry Potter movies were filmed there) in Northumberland. NOTE: There is some great Northumberland ice cream - if you ever plan a visit there, you should read more!

Alnwick Castle is not far from the beautiful Northumberland coast with its sandy beaches, great vistas and fascinating history and wildlife. So a lot of visitors to the area, especially from the USA, enjoy the best of both worlds by staying in Northumberland cottages. After visiting Alnwick we called in at Bamburgh to see the magnificent Bamburgh Castle and then at Craster where we took the wonderful walk up to the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, a fabulous medieval castle in a location that defies description (once up there the views take your breath away!).

After Craster it was Seahouses and there we found some great traditional English ice cream, produced locally and served from an old fashioned ice cream trailer (see photo).

We plan to go back some day, possibly staying in one of the many Northumberland cottages that are available in the area. It might be a Seahouses cottage , a Boulmer cottage, a cottage in Craster cottage or even something in Alnwick or Bamburgh.

The history and scenery is well worth going back for but the ice cream on top of that, well need I say more? :)

Labels: , ,

Sep 19, 2009

Special Ice Cream Spoons

When I make ice cream sundaes at home, I always make a point of selecting the right ice cream glass and ice cream spoon. Now that may sound a little odd but it's true ... and important.

For example, if I make a fresh batch of ice cream and serve it straight from my ice cream maker, then a long, plastic ice cream spoon will suffice, especially if its for children. Plastic spoons are not hard and cold on the teeth and mine also have fun, colourful decorations on the end (miniature ice cream sundaes in fact) which children find attractive. However, if it's some ice cream made previously and just taken out of freezer storage then, even though it's been left a few minutes to soften a little, it can be a little tough to eat with a plastic spoon so in that case I select a long, stainless steel one. Not as decorative perhaps but more practical.

In addition to these spoons, however, there is another very different and very special one. It is stainless steel and has a double bend in the middle that allows you to place it on the edge of your ice cream sundae glass so you can take a break in between mouthfuls. Ingenious! I first saw it beside a wonderful chocolate ice cream sundae made for my husband at the San Remo Gelataria (ice cream parlor) in Zandvoort. The spoon was one of the parlor's special ones and when they saw my reaction to it they were kind enough to let me take it home! It now has pride of place in my 'ice cream cupbaord'. Molto grazie!

Labels: , , ,

Jul 19, 2009

National Ice Cream Day 2009

If you celebrated National Ice Cream day last year and possibly in the years before, then you might just be looking to do something a little different with your homemade ice cream today. Take a look at my list of unusual ice cream recipes and see what takes your fancy!

Even if you don't make your own ice cream (shame on you!) you can still take part in the fun of National Ice Cream day ....
  • you could take the family out for a special treat to an ice cream parlor and try one of the many fabulous ice cream sundaes that are usually on the menu.
  • you could go to the movies and just enjoy a simple tub of ice cream whilst watching it
  • you could buy a quality, commercially made ice cream at your local store or supermarket, take it home and make your own Knickerbocker Glory
  • you could spot your local ice cream truck in a neighboring street and treat yourself (and others!) to a great ice cream cone

The list goes on!

That's the wonderful thing about ice cream as a food/treat - it's not confined to any one place or any one supplier. You can eat it indoors or outdoors and you can buy it made by someone else or yourself. It's almost infinitely variable in taste and methods of presentation and you can add toppings or sauces, fruit or nuts, chocolate flakes or wafers. I could go on all day writing about ice cream - it's a passion with a tradition and perhaps that's why it's worthy of its own national day. Long may it be so .... have a great National Ice Cream Day folks!

Labels: , , , ,

Apr 9, 2009

Ice Cream School

In the last year I have got to know 2 master ice cream makers, both Italian, who are making a name for themselves in the world of gelato. Interestingly enough, neither of them lives and works in Italy for they have found a demand for their specialist skills outside their home country.

One is Gino Soldan, the master gelatiere in charge of the very special Harrod's ice cream parlour in London (Morelli's Gelato). Gino hit the headlines in the summer of 2008 because of the unusual ice cream he was making for a special, sponsored and limited edition of ice creams. These included an incredible array including wensleydale cheese ice cream. Wallace & Gromit fans will recognise Wensleydale as being Wallace's favourite!

The other is Marina who lives and works in Barcelona. Having run her own, very popular ice cream parlor in the city she recently told me about her latest venture - her ice cream school. It was fascinating to learn what gave her the idea and who her students are. Although I haven't tasted her ice cream (not having been to Barcelona yet unfortunately!), the photographs of her stracciatella ice cream and her fig ice cream are sufficient to make you believe that she is a lady who knows her gelato! Here is a freshly made batch of her stracciatella gelato.

If, however, you cannot get to her ice cream school - and that will apply to many of you of course - then you can always have a go at making gelato yourself. Here is my gelato recipes page. Enjoy!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Apr 4, 2009

Beach Sunset & Ice Cream

As my regular readers know, I love it when I come across people and places with strong ice cream connections.

One place I wrote about last year that seems to abound with ice cream kiosks, ice cream parlors and large ice cream display cones is Zandvoort, a delightful beach resort in the Netherlands. One of the best ice cream display cones I have ever seen was there - a smiling polar bear holding a giant ice cream cone of chocolate and mint choc chip ice cream! Read more about the bear and where I found him on my big ice cream cones post.

If you ever get the chance to visit the Netherlands, especially in the summer months, then Zandvoort is a great place to visit for a day trip or weekend.

The reason for writing this post is that I just came across a fantastic video of a summer sunset filmed on Zandvoort beach. It's a wonderful, relaxing piece with a soundtrack only of what was happening live at the time - the natural sounds of a busy summer's days coming to a close (during which no doubt many an ice cream cone had been eaten!) and the gentle sound of the sea lapping up onto the beach.

This kind of thing is what makes the Internet so enjoyable and such a positive means of sharing good experiences. Let's have more please!

View the Zandvoort video

Labels: , , , , ,

Mar 22, 2009

Staying Small In The Ice Cream Business

Now I don't often write about commercial ice cream companies but today I'm going to. No, I'm not about to do any promotion or advertising for any of them in case you're thinking that! This is a little different and I hope you will agree with my conclusion.

At a time of recession, many people's minds are focused on the potential for business to stay alive. For the past few years, however, it has been the opposite - seemingly everyone focusing on the potential for business growth. Of course, in the last decade or so many small companies have grown large, some even into corporate giants but that does not tend to happen in the ice cream sector. Why is it that? Many small ice cream companies stay small - do they choose that or is it inherent in the nature of the business?

I was chatting recently with someone who runs a b&b in Carlisle close to the English Lake District and Scottish borders and we started to talk about the number of small ice cream companies in their area. Being a predominantly dairy farming area it would seem only natural that ice cream is made here and that certainly seems to be the case with a great "cottage industry" based around ice cream including ice cream parlors and tea shops catering for the many tourists that flock to the English Lakes each year. So why are there no large ice cream companies in the area?

I don't have the answer .... only a few thoughts:

  • Perhaps ice cream as a busines is just not scaleable - it must be difficult to maintain the quality yet retain the uniqueness above a certain level.

  • Perhaps each dairy farm has a limit to the dairy produce it can provide and the owners have no desire to expand.

  • Perhaps the cost of buying extra equipment to expand is prohibitive.

The above are what the business guru Michael Porter would call "barriers to entry". It think there's an important point here though - perhaps we are actually better off for these flaws in the way the economics of it all works.

Personally, I prefer the idea of staying small when it comes to ice cream - that way we can enjoy the benefits of a broad range of companies whose ice cream making is distinctive in its own way.

I was lucky enough to visit an ice cream parlor in Keswick called Luchini's and the experience backed up my point perfectly. A family run business making delicious homemade ice cream since 1901 - over a 100 years! A passion for ice cream that has lasted from generation to generation. Now that's something special worth preserving.

I hope to write about Luchini's again shortly and in more detail, sharing with you some of the super ice cream photographs I took.

Labels: , , , ,

Sep 1, 2008

Master Gelatiere At Morelli's Gelato

My recent interview with Gino Soldan (master gelatiere for Morelli's Gelato in London) is now live on http://www.ice-cream-recipes.com/ Anyone interested in ice cream making, ice cream parlors and ice cream sundaes will love this Special Feature.

It provides an insight into how this master of ice cream making views his work, the depth of passion he has for his craft and how adventurous he aspires to be in developing new and daring ice cream flavors. It's an exclusive interview so be amongst the first to read it before it gets picked up and rehashed by other sites and media.

See: Master Gelatiere Gino Soldan

There is also a gallery of photographs showing some of the wonderful ice cream sundaes made at Morelli's Gelato, including one Gino made especially for my friend Mary. Again the photographs are exclusive to http://www.ice-cream-recipes.com/

Read and enjoy!

Labels: , , , , ,

Aug 29, 2008

From Sausage & Mash To Wensleydale Cheese - New Ice Cream

"Ice Cream Is Art" - a bold statement by any standards but when it comes from a true master of ice cream making, you had better believe it.

Gino Soldan is a master gelatiere with many years of experience in making top quality ice cream, especially unusual ice cream and today he offered me a wonderful insight into his passion for ice cream making. Gino kindly agreed to an exclusive interview with me about the exciting new range of ice cream flavors which he has produced for Morelli's ice cream parlor at the world renowned Harrod's department store in central London. Exclusive to the store and available to enjoy for just 3 days only (August 28-30) are 20 new flavors are based on Britain's most famous and popular foods - both savory and sweet.

Sausage & Mash (fried sausage and mashed potato) for example is a popular, traditional British meal as is Lancashire Hotpot (an oven baked pot of meat, onion and potatoes). In Scotland they enjoy Haggis (mutton minced with oatmeal, onion, spices and suet) and Arbroath Smokie (smoked haddock) whilst in Wales a popular dish is Welsh Rarebit (a savory sauce made from cheese and other ingredients such as Worcestershire Sauce, mustard or ale, served hot on top of slices of toast).

All these 5 great British meals are on the list of the special, new 20 ice cream flavors at Morelli's in Harrods but the one that sounds most appealing to me is Wensleydale Cheese ice cream. Gino admitted in our interview that it's one of his favorites.

For anyone who has not tasted Wensleydale Cheese ... well, you should. It's delicious! It is a rich, creamy cheese from Yorkshire, made famous in recent years by Wallace & Gromit in their award-winning, short animation films. Here's a wonderful reference to Wensleydale cheese from 'A Close Shave' :

Wallace: Won't you come in? We were just about to have some cheese.

Wendolene: Oh no, not cheese. Sorry. Brings me out in a rash. Can't stand the stuff.

Wallace: [gulp] Not even Wensleydale?

Wonderful stuff!

Look out for my interview with Gino Soldan on http://www.ice-cream-recipes.com/ coming soon.

Labels: , , , ,

Jul 20, 2008

National Ice Cream Day 2008

It's here ... National Ice Cream Day for 2008! The third Sunday in July: this year it's 20 July.

It's a rather unusual 'Special Day' but one that more and more people are getting to know about and learning to celebrate. For some it will be a special trip to one of their favorite ice cream parlors whilst for others it will be to just stay home and make a batch of delicious homemade ice cream.

If you've never made your own ice cream before, now's the time to try. It's great fun and both children and adults alike can get involved and if you have an electric ice cream maker it doesn't take very long either. You can make a gelato (soft scoop) ice cream or choose from a whole range of sorbets; alternatively you can opt to make one of the more traditional custard/cream base ice creams such as vanilla ice cream or strawberry ice cream.

When you've made your ice cream it doesn't end there .... you can serve it in an ice cream cone or as an ice cream sundae or even go for the big one and try a Knickerbocker Glory (as in the photo).

Once you've made and eaten your ice cream you can then sit down and relax - and know that on this special day you have really played your part. So go to it and enjoy!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sep 12, 2007

Ice Cream At The Seaside

During the summer vacation I took a couple of 'day trips' to the seaside with my family. It had been a while since we last did this and I wondered how much had remained the same, including the popularity of ice cream and how it always seems to have been enjoyed in such places. Well, I was more than pleasantly surprised!

One one trip, not only did I see lots of people walking around eating ice cream cones, children and adults alike, but there was a long, long queue at a local ice cream parlor. I couldn't resist, I had to go in and while I was there I started talking to the owner who proudly told me they had made ice cream on their premises since the 1920's and he was the third generation in the family to run the business. Here's a photo of one of their ice cream tubs.

On the second day trip, again I saw lots and lots of people walking happily on the sea front eating ice cream - in cones or on waffles. Later in the day (whilst wandering in search of some public toilets!) I chanced upon the most wonderful old fashioned ice cream van - parked up after a busy day's sales complete with plastic ice cream cone at the side! It made my heart feel good to see such tangible evidence of how truly 'evergreen' ice cream is.

Labels: , , ,

Jul 15, 2007

National Ice Cream Day Is Here!

Yes, it's finally here - Sunday 15 July 2007 and National Ice Cream Day. Whatever you're planning to do today, try and join in the celebration of all things ice cream. Here are a few ideas that might just make your day that bit extra special ....

Let's not forget people less fortunate too - like those who are in hospital today. May ice cream be on the menu for you to enjoy as well. My son got out of hospital a couple of days ago and whilst he was there ice cream was on the menu every single day! The nurses told me how it's always a winner with children, bringing smiles to young faces when they've been through a rough time.

Thank you President Reagan for recognizing the value of ice cream beyond being just a food. It's much, much more than that!

Labels: , , , ,