Italian ice cream, especially from Sicily, has this smooth, creamy texture which you can eat with a spatula. It's gorgeous, sexy and slimy. In the best way.
Ice cream in Danish is called "is" as in ice--meaning we call that slippery cold frozen water stuff for is as well. Meaning denotes from the colloquial, like in Japanese. Just 10 years ago, you could only buy factory made is in Copenhagen. Either in the supermarkets or at the kiosk in the shop freezer. And maybe here and there in the tourist trap areas some "old-fashioned" ice cream scoops in a traditional Danish waffle cone. The ice cream flavours were vanilla, banana, chocolate, nougat and strawberry and it was always the same boring experience, trite, stiff, hard ice cream you bite off, and vague waffle-like cardboard dipped in canned milk.
Not so in 2011. Ice cream has literally exploded across the Danish capital with many different outlets, chains, local vendors and organic little dairies making fresh ice cream every day. Ben & Jerrys have planted their enticing, cow decorated freezers in every 7-Eleven street corner kiosk. It's my only vice, since I don't really like drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or shooting heroin. And on Skydebanegade, the place in the city formerly known for the shooting and training of royal huntsmen, there is now a little dairy called Siciliansk Is (Sicilian Ice Cream).
"Så er der is igen" (We finally have ice cream again).
Not a fan of the exterior or window decor. I smell Italian heterosexuality except the chair colour outside is very 1993 hairdresser coral which indicates either bad taste or really great ironic Generation X humour. But I'm afraid it's a combination of the first two.
This little dairy shop has won several awards for being the best ice cream in the city. Even though my personal taste is more attracted to American ice cream with lots of chunks, chocolate, nuts and stuff, I can understand why people in Copenhagen love this place. For once a manufacturer doesn't just bullshit you and fill you up with ad agency smart talk, this place really walks the walk. As their name indicates, their primary function is to make real Sicilian ice cream based on Sicilian ingredients. On their homepage they explain in detail where they buy their locally produced ingredients including photos of the small artisan chocolate shops in cozy Sicilian villages.
Sicily spring 2010, taken by my friend. For more pics see my Wintering in Sicily post.
The island gets so much sun that everything you grow here tastes wonderful.
Dog not used as ingredient in ice cream. But perhaps this will be when in 2050 when China has taken over the world. Rice ice cream with pink Poodle chunks, yum.
Today I walked by the shop and had to sample three of their most popular flavours. Chocolate, havtorn and kærnemælkskoldskål.
Nearly empty gelato containers--again, this place is popular. Assortment of flavours like chocolate from Sicilian capital Modica, almond from Avola, Zuppa Inglese from Palermo, Havtorn (buckthorn), cassata (ricotta and pickled fruit), strawberry (Danish), coffee, mandarin, koldskål, blood orange and so on. It all looked very delicious!
The yellow colour of buckthorn caught my eye, I had to taste it.
Buckthorn is an expensive Scandinavian berry (this batch is from Sweden) which is so hard to pick.
Voila! I chose the large serving at 37 DKK ($7). The yellow ice cream is buckthorn--it tasted sweet and fresh, sort of a sour mandarin. I could totally see buckthorn popular in Japan.
White creamy ice cream is kærnemælkskoldskål (try to pronounce that, Americanos!). Kærnemælk is buttermilk and Kærnemælkskoldskål is a traditional yogurty buttermilk dessert which I think I will write about next week. A cold and very refreshing Danish summer dessert served with biscuits and fresh strawberries. It's a hit. This ice cream version is really delicious too--sweet but also spiked with a sourness. I only wish they'd gone a little American and dropped big chunks of biscuit and berry into it.
Chocolate hiding beneath... chump chump.
Ok, chocolate recovered.
This chocolate ice cream is based on chocolate made by famous dolceria Bonajuto in the city of Modica. To quote their webpage:
Modica is Sicily's capital, when it comes to chocolate. Here they have specialized in chocolate for over 500 years and have over 80 small chocolate shops in town. Here people are experimenting with all sorts of spices, among other things: marjoram, nutmeg, white pepper, salt, cinnamon and cardamom to name a few.
Exciting. I would love to go there on an Umamiventure to sample all these interesting experiments.
All in all, this ice cream is very good and I like their business model and concept. I didn't take pictures of the interior of the shop, I thought of it as quite messy and unsexy. Their website is very DIY as well, I think their business could do with a little redesign and concept styling to make it all come together much better.
But for now they probably spend all their time awake making great ice cream and hats off for that. Then we can hope for a better visual experience to match the culinary one sometime in the future.