I needed to ramble on a bit about ice cream, which is one of the big food loves of my life.
Growing up in South Africa where the best option all those years back was Dairy Maid, ice cream for me was nothing to get too excited about. I liked it like all kids like it, but it was only when I tasted my first super premium ice cream in the USA in January 1991, did I realise that there was a whole big ice cream heaven out there waiting to be discovered. I can’t remember if it was Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s that I ate first, but one thing is for sure I started eating both quite regularly.
On our big road trip across America in our Chev Caprice station wagon, my sister and I sought out every Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop in every city we stayed in, and made sure when we drove through Texas, that we planned our route to stop over at Blue Bell Creameries, which at the time was regarded by the New York Times as the best ice cream producer in America.
We got there via a crazy night camping near the beach in the Gulf of Mexico, and with at least 120 mosquito bites on our bodies (yes I counted), did the full factory tour and tasting session afterwards. Off the chart yumalicious!
…so the love affair started and has continued ever since. When in London, later in the year, in addition to Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs, I had access to Movenpick (Caramelita). Life was too good!
My favourite flavour profile for ice cream is vanilla, with caramel type additions (fudge, dulce de leche etc). My absolute two favourite ice creams of all time are: Haagen dazs - Pralines and Cream and Ben & Jerrys – Heath Bar Crunch.
I returned to SA in 1994 and had to endure a bleak period of no decent ice cream. At the time I worked for General Mills (they own Haagen Daszs), and was involved with some of the preliminary research into the launch of the brand here. It was so close but just so far.
The only time I got to eat the proper stuff was when I traveled overseas. On one trip, my boyfriend at the time took me to Boston and to my utter dismay I couldn’t find HD pralines and cream. I phoned the company hotline to discover that for some very bizarre reason this particular flavour was not sold in Boston, except at the airport ice cream shop which was just a little bit out of the way. I had to settle for Dulce de Leche and Macadamia Nut Brittle instead (which are actually almost as good).
Around 2005 I decided that since I couldn’t eat the ice cream I wanted, I would have to make it myself. So I bought an Italian ice cream machine and a chest freezer. I ordered the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and dessert book from Amazon.com and got stuck right into my ice cream making mission (project chill) and day dreaming about opening an ice cream shop.
I haven’t made ice cream for a while partly because we can now buy good quality offerings, and partly because of a recent preoccupation with baking and cupcakes, and weight loss (a bit of a contradiction I know), but its time to haul the machine down and get busy and experimental.
Watch this space. I’m getting excited.
I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.
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