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But to start, let’s collect what has happened the last four months in my ice cream journey. Simply put, the research has been quite amazing. Ice cream business names not included (with a few exceptions), because you’ll have to read the book!
- Visiting small ice cream entrepreneurs (and their kitchens) in Vancouver and Seattle (shout out to Earnest Ice Cream, Half Pint Ice Cream, Parfait, and Social) who don’t have a kitchen (yet), but move their business around the city via bike, food trucks, tables to design events, farmer’s markets, Saturday afternoon strolls…
- Biking along the seawall in Vancouver to find ice cream
- Walking to a shop with over 100+ flavors of ice cream/gelato/sorbet
- Tasting fresh dulce de leche (freshly made after 12+ hours of steaming!)
- Seeing original Italian gelato machines
- Watching the development of a microbrewery (a new addition to the microcreamery)
- Realizing that preferences for ice cream is really subjective (I can’t force myself to love chocolate peanut butter although young kids love love it)
- Traveling an hour by bus, not once but twice just to eat ice cream…and then hopping back on the bus right afterwards
- For those businesses that I am unable to contact via email or phone, my opener has streamlined to: “I am writing an ice cream travel guide and want to include your shop! Do you have a few moments to chat?”
- Most important lesson: take a lot of photos.
- Ask for permission for above. Most of the time, they are ok with it. Except those with closely guarded secrets (and I respect that).
- Someone who understands English and the foreign language (in a foreign country) is very ideal to be present
- The origin of ice cream varies depending on who I speak with—food historians, ice cream makers, locals. Persia? China? Italy? England? United States?
- I’ll never figure out exactly when and how ice cream was invented.
- To achieve its texture, ice cream needs a “thickener” which can vary from egg yolks to cornstarch.
- Sorbets rely on pectin, which is naturally in lemons and other citrus fruits
- The most surprising insightful conversation was with a dairy plant owner in Ohio
- Always be willing to drive an hour or ride a bus for an hour to discover a destination
- Ohio is truly very special in the ice cream world
- Ice cream is very different overseas, particularly in countries where the regulations for milk pasteurization is very loose
- It is rather unfortunate that some countries put such a high import tax on various machinery (aka ice cream machines in this case)
- Fresh cornflakes (duh!) are quite nice in ice cream
- Ice cream in a coconut makes it even better!
- Best job title ever: Chief Ice Cream Dipper
- Ice cream is the best when made from whole foods (not talking about the grocery store here)
- Ice cream makers unlike many businesses…love their job; there’s nothing like working in a business that makes everyone immediately smile once the product is delivered
- “American” ice cream is loved throughout the world; I am not quite sure what makes it American.
- A lesson from Buenos Aires: Ice cream is best when experienced at midnight outside on lovely summer nights
- Beauty in ice cream can also come from the technique by which it is served
- Ice cream is different in every place. For different motivations, for process, for detail, for flavors…and for the people. I love this happiness business.
For now, because the ideal temperature for ice cream eating/gulping/licking is approximately 72° F, ice cream research travel will be on hold until early spring. Unlike the lovely ice cream shops in the states, many ice cream shops across the world open when the weather is ideal. And who wouldn’t want to have ice cream with the locals? I do. So let’s look forward to the warmer weather. Yet, that doesn’t mean that you and I have to stop eating ice cream!