July is not only national beer month and national hot dog month, it’s alsonational ice cream month
. I don’t think of myself as a follower of fads, but in the case of ice cream, I have a very fickle freezer.
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My ultra-expensive ($5 a pint at Whole Foods) ice cream obsession this summer is called Greek Gods Pagoto. Greek Gods Pagoto it is made in Seattle with organic milk and mastic resin, a natural gum from the Greek island of Chios. Currently, we have three flavors on hand--baklava, made with walnut, honey and cinnamon to taste just like the pastry; pomegranate honey, which is pink and fruity; and chocolate fig, an unlikely combo that is insanely difficult to stop eating. The mastic gives all three flavors an agreeable chewiness and soothing effect on the stomach. (Or is that all in my head?)
Choctal was last year’s super-expensive ($4.69 a pint at Central Market) ice cream fad. Ruth Reichl of Gourmet magazine swooned over Choctal in print and the next thing I knew we had five flavors in the freezer. There were four chocolate flavors made with single source chocolates in unbelievably intense concentrations. I ate so much of this stuff, I think I might have overdosed on chocolate. There was also a Choctal Madagascar Vanilla flavor that was so dense with vanilla, it was brown. Choctal now has eight flavors including one that’s half chocolate and half vanilla.
Before these two came along, I used to eat trendy Out of Flower Ice Cream from Dallas. Strawberry and vodka with basil was one of their flavors, vanilla and jalapeño was another. They also used lavender and rosemary in various combinations. I used to buy the stuff at Central Market. But it may be out of stock for a while. I heard the company was sold and will return to store shelves soon. But by then, my freezer will have moved on to the next big thing.
The ice cream that first convinced me it was okay to spend $5 a pint or more was Berthillon, which I sampled at the shop on the Ile Saint-Louis in Paris. I wish we could get thattranscendental mango flavor in the U.S. But for now it will remain the most ludicrously expensive of all ice creams--the only way to get any is to fly to France. – Robb Walsh