cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ice Cream Makes the Earth Spin

I work at an artisan ice cream parlor in one of the busiest tourists spots outside of Seattle, and the 3rd and 4th of July means living hell. The downtown tourist town of Winslow on Bainbridge Island closes the main street annually on the third to motor traffic for the town's street party extravaganza; included is a road race, vendors, dancing, etc. Yippy Skippy for the locals, but the main ploy is to pull in even more tourists. As such everyone wants ice cream. Every. One. And there's only one stop for ice cream in Winslow: us. And surprisingly our patron ratio of adults to children is skewed from the common perception: I would say one child for every nine adults. I know what you are thinking, it's a psychological phenomenon but adults crave the cream more than the kiddies. For us, that works, because Mora's 48 flavors cater more toward the cultivated pallets of the tested and true veterans of the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry era. We carry oddly unique mixes, such as our new seasonal offerings of lavender and the hesitatingly delicious goat cheese & fig. The more decadent the flavor, the more popular it becomes with the older crowd. For the kids: plain and simple, number one seller among those under the age of 18 is the lemon ice cream, lemon sorbets, plain chocolate, plain vanilla, and chocolate mint. While among the adults the swiss chocolate boasting swirls of chocolate liqueur and dulce de leche draws the most salivation. "Anything chocolate" is a common request, difficult when we have nearly 12 flavors that fit the category. A common request among the older crowd are the flavors espousing some form of liqeuer, marsala wine with egg custard, walnuts with cognac, rum raisin, orange sorbet with cointreau, etc. If you like your liquerer you will like these, strongly reminiscent of a straight shot is an understatement. I, however, dutifully report to our ice cream patrons upon request that my *favorite* is none other than the creamy and spicy little old cinnamon.

I've made my own ice cream before; it is slow and makes only around six servings or so, but the point is you know what is going into it. And that is what you get from the ice cream at Mora; all organic, no preservatives, no dyes, a low percentage of butterfat, and fresh ingredients that you wouldn't even beleive unless you saw. The ice cream is as fresh as it can be, for it is also made on the island. You can achieve the same freshness of Mora's homemade decadence, it just takes a little time. I have the same ice cream maker that Ina uses on the Barefoot Contessa (as I'm sure millions of others have as well) and I've made more sorbets with it than ice creams, seeing as water is always a bit more readily at hand than heavy cream. Sorbets are simple: water, fruit, and sweetener, a thickener if you'd like as well. Use a blender for the fruit, mix, pour in the ice creamer and wait. Frozen fruits in a bag (hmmm like from costco) work exceptionally well. Oh, and it works exceptionally well for a crowd such as at a 4th of July party. One batch of strawberry sorbet, one batch of blueberry, and one batch of coconut and you are ready to celebrate Bastille Day. Oops, I mean American independence. I celebrate the 4th with my family, even though theres a Canadian flag flying on the front porch, it's a good day to discuss and get excited about pre-revolution history without being made fun of. Time to dig out the red coat and rebel scum uniforms for the backyard barbecue cookout. But that's tomorrow. Today is ice cream (well tomorrow as well I suppose) and theres a lot of scoops in my future, and maybe in yours too, for everyone likes ice cream, even the frowning lactose intolerants. Being in a tourist trap there are hundreds of well, tourists from all over; Asia, Europe, south America, and they all want ice cream. Je peux aider les Francophones, mais I don't speak Spanish, but I have found that the word chocolate transcends all linguistic barriers and is understood by everyone. So, go out and have some ice cream, chances are you won't find some as good as the product created by Mora, but eh, ice cream is ice cream so enjoy it, and be sure to offer some at you next summer get together.

A bientรดt

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