We are entering the dog days of summer, and it has been HOT in Chicago. Naturally, that means we have been filling up on a lot of Italian ice, ice cream and paletas. However, if we were in Peru, we would be enjoying cremoladas! Cremoladas are a Peruvian iced dessert that falls, texture-wise, somewhere between shaved ice and sorbet. When we were in Lima we visited the original Curich Cremoladas (Calle Bolognesi 759, Miraflores 15074, Peru), credited with inventing the treat when the Curich family from Croatia opened their shop in Lima in 1942. There are dozens of flavors available, though we are partial to lucuma and passionfruit. It is fun to sample some of the unique fruit flavors at Curich like naranjilla (known as lulo in Colombia), arazá, and cocona. Curich’s creation caught on, and, now, you will find cremoladas all over Lima. Check out a video of cremoladas in production from El Comercio. Turns out, despite the name, there is no cream at all! Lima Easy has a simple recipe to make your own cremolada.
Tag Archives: ice cream
At the start of our latest trip we lamented openly the lack of gelato in Lisbon, but little did we know that, since our last trip in 2015, there had been something of a gelato renaissance in Lisbon. We’re talking about Italian-style gelato here, not ice cream (though Lisbon has that too, the most famous ice cream maker being Santini) Now gelato shops seem to be popping up everywhere (especially anywhere tourists happen to be) but most of it is just meh. But never fear, there are now some great places to get gelato in Lisbon, too.
The gelato renaissance all started with Nannarella (Various locations, main location São Bento), which was founded by expats from Rome. One of the original founders of Nannarella, Filippo Licitra, then split off on his own to start rival Gelato Davvero (Various locations, main location Cais de Sodré). We can attest that both of these gelato places are the real deal, after having visited each several times. The locations are pretty much only walk up counters, but fortunately Lisbon is replete with parks and other places to enjoy your cone. So which one do we like better? It’s hard to say…both of these are delicious, but each has their pros and cons. For each of the following categories we have selected a winner.
- Prices – Draw. Prices were comparable for either a cup or cone, for Davvero a Piccolino was €1.75, a Piccolo, €2 (seen above), Medio €3, Grande €4, and Grandissmo €5. Anything above a medium is just huge. You can also get half liters and up of gelato in boxes to take home (1L is €16 at each place). For Nannarella, there are fewer options, a small for €2, medium for €3 and large for €3.50. At the top end Nannarella is a little cheaper, but Davvero lets you get larger sizes.
- Wait time – Davvero. As M can attest, I hate to wait in line. However, I did wait in line 30 minutes for Nannarella (see above, which was just bordering on too much. The waits at Davvero were much shorter, so take that for what you will.
- Ambiance – Draw, slight edge Davvero. Each place has only storefront outlets with nowhere to sit, except the Cais de Sodré location of Davvero that has both indoor and outdoor seating, which is right on the square.
- Extras – Nannarella. You can get whipped cream for free at Nannarella. Maybe they also have it at Davvero, but we have never been offered this topping. At Nannarella you can also get a mini cone to put on top of your cup for 20 cents – a great idea we have never seen before.
- Generosity – Nannarella. For the small cup size, Davvero allows 2 flavors. Nannarella (above) allows unlimited flavors, which basically means you can get 3 scoops or more, as I did here with chocolate, salted caramel and pistachio. The scoops were overall more generous at Nannarella.
- Taste – Draw. This is a tricky one, and probably relies more on personal preference than anything. The consistency of both gelato is smooth and creamy, and the flavors are delicious, and not artificial at all (we used pistachio as a test for this). Neither of the pistachio gelatos are bright green, and both taste delicious and natural. At both stores you can get classic flavors like strawberry, coffee, hazelnut, chocolate chip and vanilla. However, we liked the salted caramel more at Nannarella, though Davvero’s sour cherry was the fast favorite of our travel buddies. Each location has special flavors of the day, and there are even some more unique flavors like basil (Nannarella) and cheesecake (Davvero).
Overall, Nannarella, the original may have a slight edge over Davvero, though we wouldn’t turn up our noses at either. We are just grateful that Lisbon is experiencing a boom in gelato!
We were on our way back from a bike ride when we came across FRÍO Gelato (517 Dempster St, Evanston, IL 60201), an answer to our secret hopes for a cold treat. We are always up for gelato, and FRÍO does gelato with an Argentine twist. Gelato is huge in Argentina, due to the massive Italian immigration to the country. We remarked upon a mysterious (long gone) Argentine ice cream store in Chicago many years ago, so short of a trip to Argentina, we were excited to try some Argentine icy treats.Alongside the typical gelato flavors you might expect, there was also dulce de leche, avocado and malbec. You can also get fresh-fruit sorbet flavors, tasty coffee drinks and the classic Argentine mate drink. We were there for gelato, however, so we sampled the dulce de leche and the marsala wine sambayon, an Argentine riff on zabaglione, an Italian custard desert. The gelato was light and creamy, with bold flavors. Though it tasted pretty similar to the Italian-style gelato we’ve had, we really appreciated the fresh ingredients and unique flavor combinations on offer at FRÍO. Plus, if you really want a unique Argentine spin on dessert you can get the gelato between two alfajor cookies!
We are all about the ice cream treats from all over the world. One that has caught our eye is Thai rolled ice cream, which looks unlike anything we have ever seen! Plus, it is a perfect way to celebrate Thai New Year, Songkran. Thai rolled ice cream is made by spreading ice cream and fillings on a round cold plate, where it is then re-frozen and rolled up into the signature shape. Thai rolled ice cream is now finding its way onto restaurant menus across the US, with Thai-style rolled ice cream joints opening up in NYC, Philly and LA. Has it made its way to your city yet? We can’t wait to try it in Cleveland or Chicago!
Before moving here, we had no idea that Cleveland was such a big ice cream town. There are more ice cream places in Cleveland than there are doughnut shops in Chicago (at least it seems like it). We ate at a variety of ice cream places around town to find our favorite, and of course “best” is subjective, but we think we have landed on a winner: Mitchell’s. We fell in love with Mitchell’s due to their wide variety of flavors, consistently creamy texture and fresh ingredients. They even make the waffle cones right in front of you!
On the face of it Mitchell’s looks like a typical ice cream store with a wide selection. Along with scoops in a cup or cone, you can also make special sundaes, shakes, malts and floats (plus pints and other treats to take home). However, the major difference is the taste. We were blown away by the first two flavors we tried: Salted Caramel and Mint chocolate chip. First off, the mint chocolate chip was NOT green, and it tasted like fresh mint leaves, the caramel was creamy and salty, and not at all overpowering. Other flavors like Key Lime Pie perfectly replicated their real life inspirations. There are even vegan ice creams and frozen yogurts if you are so inclined. Personally, I see a Mitchell’s ice cream cake in our future birthday plans.
We aim to try every flavor they have, currently about 25 regular varieties. There are also seasonal flavors to enjoy, making use of Ohio’s local produce, so there will always be something new (current seasonal flavors include caramelized chocolate, fresh peach and coconut, among others). There are eight Mitchell’s stores now in Cleveland, but our favorite is in the Ohio City neighborhood (located at: 1867 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113), for three important reasons: 1. It is in a converted movie theater; 2. It is the factory where they make all of their ice cream (a process you can watch); 3. There is a miniature train running around the first floor. If you visit Cleveland, be sure to stop by!
There is nothing better than cooling off on a warm day than with an icy treat! On 4th of July’s pasts we were partial to the classic Good Humor Chocolate Eclairs, but now we enjoy a wider variety of treats. If you live in Chicago, you are lucky enough to have a wide variety of international scoop shops serving up icy treats, especially Mexican paleterias. Our friend Nissa sent us this great link from Chicago Magazine about icy international treats in the city, representing India, Argentina and beyond. Now you will have no excuse not to have some sweet (cold) treats this weekend!
Xue hua bing by Kimberlykv
We are always up for a new kind of iced treat, especially the international varieties – gelato from Italy, halo halo from the Philippines and the wave of frozen yogurts from Korea – all delicious. So add to the list Xue hua bing – an icy confection from Taiwan. The name translates to “snow ice” and is a mixture of milk, ice and fruit, and each serving is shaved off of a giant ice block, and topped with fruit and other confections. There used to be a dedicated spot for Xue hua bing in Chicago – Cloud 9 on Belmont – though it has been closed for a while now. So we were excited to learn about Snow Dragon Shavery (2618 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614), which has taken up the torch as the only dedicated XHB spot in Chicago.
We arrived in Denmark with a near-complete ignorance of Danish food. Not on purpose of course, but knowing no Danish people or restaurants in Chicago, we only have our perusal of the Nordic Food Labs Twitter account to go on. On our way back to Chicago from Europe, we happened (well, opted) to have a 12 hour layover in Copenhagen. Even though we had very little time, we were determined to make the most of it. We got up early, and set out to the center of town on the weird little operator-less, futuristic monorail from our airport hotel. We do know the country is purported to have some of the best coffee in the world, so we made that a priority.
The purported best coffee in the world is served at Coffee Collective (Vendersgade 6D 1363 Copenhagen K) which now has a mini empire of shops in Copenhagen. We visited the location in Torvehallerne, an interesting place to visit in its own right, because it boasts over 60 vendors under one roof.
At Coffee Collective, there were two varieties of single origin coffee: Kenyan and Guatemalan. We ordered a cortado and hot chocolate from a pleasant barista with accentless English (like most Danes seemed to have). Both drinks were good, but the coffee was a little steep at about $8 USD. We think you may have to try for yourself to see if this is indeed the best coffee in the world, though M thought the hot chocolate was excellent.
After coffee, we wandered around the Torvehallerne a bit more to check out the other stores, which included cafes, greengrocers and bakeries. We supplemented our coffee with cardamom and cinnamon rolls from Laura’s Bakery in the same market (20 K apiece), which were quite good. We were pretty excited to see that they are actually called “Cinnabuns” in Danish, too. We took our breakfast to eat on the wooden tables flanking the market, and as you can see from the photo below there are truly bikes everywhere!
We wandered the pleasant and orderly streets until we found a lunch place that seemed to strike our fancy. We happened upon the cute and trendy Ricco’s Kaffebar (Strandboulevarden 98, 2100 Copenhagen) and we knew it fit the bill. In addition to coffee and baked goods, Ricco’s had a selection of traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches, Smørrebrød. We ordered a caramelized potato open-faced sandwich with Brunede Kartofler, or caramelized potatoes, and a goat cheese sandwich on rye. Both were tasty and surprisingly filling.
Despite being a relatively chilly country, Danes are also big on ice cream. You will see ice cream shops everywhere, including this classic shop by the water boasting a giant cone statue – Vaffelbageren (Nyhavn 49, 1051 Copenhagen). Other top choices for ice cream in Copenhagen that are more unique are Siciliansk Is (Skydebanegade 3, Copenhagen 1709) and Ismageriet (Kongelundsvej 116, Copenhagen 2300). Siciliansk Is specializes in authentic Italian gelato, and Ismageriet specializes in local, seasonal Danish flavors.
Though we were only able to visit Copenhagen for a short time, it was enough to make us want to come back for more. Copenhagen is one of the top foodie destinations in Europe, and there are enough places to fill weeks of eating adventures.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams now has two stores in the Chicago area – and we were super pumped to try the new Wicker Park location (1505 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago) when Spring-like weather finally arrived. Jeni’s is a Columbus-based ice creamery helmed by ice cream guru Jeni Britton Bauer that has been expanding across the US in the past few years. However, Jeni’s stores all across America have been closed for the past month due to a recall. Now they are all back open – just in time to get a summer ice cream fix. The key to Jeni’s success is high quality and unusual flavors (check out the menu below).
Jeni’s Wicker park is right in the heart of the main drag on Milwaukee, and I get the impression they are busy ALL the time. When we arrived there was a line, but it moved pretty quickly, and we even were able to find a place to sit. One cool touch is that they make their own waffle cones right in front of you! There is a selection of “signature” flavors to choose from, including wildberry lavender (tastes like Froot Loops), Salted Caramel and sun-popped corn, as well as some limited-edition specials like creme brulee and blue buttermilk frozen yogurt. There are even some local nods, with Intelligensia coffee-flavored ice cream or the option to get a scoop of any ice cream in a cup of Intelligensia coffee.
You can get anywhere between one and four scoops, and we settled on a Trio. We sampled buttermilk orange frozen yogurt, the “Buckeye State” which is peanut butter ice cream with chocolate chips, and dark chocolate. We were happy with our flavor choices, and the peanut butter and buttermilk orange were standouts. We definitely recommend Jeni’s for a summer treat and we are excited to see what creative flavor Jeni comes up with next.
Yesterday I had my first paleta in Chicago – spring is officially here! San Francisco is lucky enough to have better weather year-round, and maybe that is the reason it has such a huge artisanal ice cream scene, which we can totally get behind. We wanted to try at least one ice cream shop when here, and Bi-Rite Creamery (3692 18TH ST.) came particularly highly recommended. Bi-Rite was an oasis of ice cream in a pretty residential neighborhood of the Mission, and we knew we were in the right place when we saw the red neon sign and the big line!
The store itself was tiny, and had a line snaking out the door, even at about 7 pm on a Thursday. Bi-Rite is known for its unusual flavors, and has its list of both classic and seasonal flavors posted outside, so you can think about your choice when you wait. I went with the much-lauded salted caramel and the Blue Bottle coffee flavor with almonds and chocolate chips. The classic flavors of honey lavender and Ricanelas cinnamon cookies were popular, and other tasty seasonal flavors included Creme Brulee, Orange Cardamom and Balsamic Strawberry. You can get your flavors in either a cup or cone and even in sundaes with clever names like the “Dainty Gentleman” which consists or honey lavender, sea salt and blood orange.
You can also buy a variety of baked goods like rhubarb pie and cupcakes, ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches, Bi-Rite gear and pints to take home. There was a separate counter for soft serve, which was, at the time, empty. Later, we come to find out that they were serving buffalo milk soft serve! Maybe next time… There is also a Bi-Rite gourmet/natural food market just a block away, if you can’t get enough artisanal cuteness. We wish we lived closer to Bi-Rite so we could sample all of the flavors, especially a signature sundae.
It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s time for another Irish treat – the 99. But what in the world is a 99? A typical 99 is vanilla softserve served in a cone, and topped with a piece of Cadbury Flake chocolate. Each of these elements has to be present for it to be a true 99. 99s have been around since at least the 1930s, when a special, shorter version of the Flake bar was introduced as a “99 Flake.” But where does the name come from? No one is quite sure, but this short documentary on the 99 provides some theories.
One of our go-to places for a cool summer treat is Palateria La Monarca in Rogers Park (6955 N. Clark) – we usually get the lime and mango paletas. However, there are a whole variety of Mexican Paleterias (popsicle shops) and Neverias (Ice cream stores) throughout Chicago that we have not yet tried. Even just on the stretch of North Clark near Monarca we noticed a few new ice cream places popping up, including Las Delicias de Michoacan (6649 N. Clark). However, shops aren’t just popping up on North Clark – it is a city-wide phenomenon! WBEZ’ Monica Eng has an article about the proliferation of Mexican ice cream shops, and more than a few recommendations of places/treats to try. In particular, Eng recommends the mangonada, a neveria staple of mango sorbet topped with mango slices and a sweet and salty pickled fruit sauce called chamoy. The mangonada is now on our summer bucket list. What’s your favorite thing to order at a Neveria or Paleteria?
Our World Cup coverage continues with an unexpected cross-cultural treat from Japan. Okinawa, Japan may not be first place you think of when you think of ice cream, but it turns out the island is crazy about it! Ice cream came to Okinawa with American troops in WWII, but became a trend that lasted much longer. The main purveyor is Blue Seal, originally founded to provide troops with a taste of ice cream from home, but eventually the ice cream became available island-wide, where it has gained quite a following. There are flavors that Americans would be familiar with, as well as Okinawan flavors like sugarcane, bitter melon and purple sweet potato. Blue Seal-branded cafes are found all over Okinawa, and now even in Tokyo, too. Softserve is more popular in Japan, but Blue Seal definitely holds the top spot for American-style ice cream.
So as any fair-weather reader of this blog knows, we love ice cream, whether in hot or cold weather. This attitude is shared, perhaps unsurprisingly, by Russians, who enjoy ice cream year round. A recent Culture article on Russian ice cream, or morozhenoe, clued us in to this international ice cream we knew next to nothing about! Apparently Morozhenoe is served slightly soft, and has a creamier texture than US ice cream. If this piques your interest, you can try your hand at making your own Russian-style ice cream.
4558 Oakton Street
In honor of National Ice Cream Month, here’s another post about one of our favorite topics. We here at ETW are huge fans of ice cream, but it takes a lot to wow us. Village Creamery, is one place we were pretty impressed by, and the sheer variety of unique flavors was a real treat. Many are inspired by Filipino flavors such as Mangosteen and Lychee and others by American treats, such as those made with Girl Scout cookies or Donut pieces. The variety is truly astounding. If you don’t believe us, check out this complete flavor list on their website. Of course if you are in the mood for a more simple Vanilla or Mint Chocolate chip, Village Creamery has those, too.
All of the ice creams are home made and the rotation of flavors varies from day to day. On the day we visited they had such eclectic flavors as Cheese (!), Crème brulee, Durian, Jackfruit and Halo-Halo Fiesta, a riff on a popular Filipino dessert. We figured the halo-halo was a good choice, so we ordered one cup, along with a cup of the more typical Mint Chip. The Halo Halo flavor consisted of vanilla ice cream with banana, pineapple gel, coconut gel, red beans, white beans, and Rice Krispies. Though the combination seems quite unusual, it really worked. Our friends that ordered more traditional flavors were also pleased. Along with simple scoops, Village Creamery also offers a range of sundaes, milkshakes, malts and even bubble tea. We highly recommend Village Creamery for your more idiosyncratic ice cream cravings and it is one of our favorite places in the burbs for a treat (there is also a location in Niles).
It’s no secret we are huge fans of ice cream, gelato and paletas, and we are happy when a new place for these treats opens up in Chicago. But the latest place for ice cream in Chicago fills a different (and new) international niche: Cone, an Irish ice cream shop in the West Loop (1047 W Madison St.). Until now, we never associated Ireland with ice cream, though the country’s well-known cheese and butter products, in addition to a growing dairy industry, should have given us a clue. Cone is run by Irish expat Sean McGuire, and features all locally-made ice cream. McGuire’s menu highlights some classic Irish flavors, like Guinness and Jameson, while still providing the more typical mint and Oreo, among others. The store sells some Irish candy and beverages. Though Cone may seem unusual, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Irish ice cream: it turns out Irish citizens are among the top 10 consumers of ice cream a year, even beating out Italy.
It’s going to be another hot day in Chicago (seems like we’ve been saying that nearly every day this month) so we figured it was time for another ice cream post. This one is a little more surreal than usual. We saw a link on Boing Boing about Ice-cream that looks like spaghetti – spaghettieis. and we were thoroughly intrigued. Apparently this confusing German treat is composed of vanilla ice cream extruded through a Spaetzle Press/Pasta Extruder/Play-dough mold to look like spaghetti. To complete the spaghetti-dinner look, the ice cream is topped with some sort of red berry sauce, and finally covered in coconut shavings. Since its invention in the 1960s, spaghettieis has become something of a national dish in Germany. For more proof of its popularity, check out the huge amount of spaghettieis documentation of Flickr. We’re pretty impressed at the verisimilitude!
On a hot summer’s day there is nothing better than some ice cream, and given this current heat wave (seems like Brazil in Chicago here today with the humidity) we could use a LOT of ice cream. One of our favorite ice cream permutations is Dondurma, a stretchy and pliable ice cream from Turkey. Dondurma has a texture unlike any commerical American ice cream (almost like taffy), and is flavored with mastic and thickened with salep, a type of flour made from orchids. If you have an ice cream maker, here is a recipe for DIY dondurma. However, part of the fun of dondurma is watching the dondurma sellers prepare the ice cream – we saw them all over Istanbul – check out the video of a seller below.