Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Summer Challenge! Tasting Ice Cream Like A Connoisseur June 28, 2009

Ice cream, sorbet, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, gelato… these are the culinary treasures of summer. Lucky for us, Los Angeles boasts some of the finest purveyors of frosty delights in the country. Now that summer is upon us, I propose a season-long exploration for the entire family, in the good names of gustatory pleasure and the spirit of adventure!

I’ve compiled an alphabetical list of LA’s most highly recommended ice cream parlors; There are enough tempting destinations listed to visit one frozen-delight outlet per week until Labor Day, with room for visit to a stumbled-upon treasure (comment back if you find an ice cream parlor the rest of us need to visit!) or to make a second visit to a favorite place to sample another flavor!
 
Al Gelato 806 S Robertson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035. 310-659-8069
Charlie Temmel Ice Cream 1313 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291.  310-664-9564
Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream 1525 North La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028.  866-767-3423
Milk 7290 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036. 323-939-6455
Pazzo Gelato 3827 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026. 323-662-1410
Scoops 712 N Heliotrope Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90029. 323-906-2649
Silky Smooth Ultra Creamery Beverly Center Mall-7th Floor 8500 Beverly Blvd. Store 752, Los Angeles, CA 90048. 310-659-9992
 
Taking a cue from wine connoisseurs, equip yourself and your kids with a notebook to record impressions. On Labor Day weekend, celebrate your newly refined palate with a trip back for what is—in your esteemed opinion—the “very bestest” frozen treat in Los Angeles.
 
Just like tasting wine, paying special attention to your ice cream can be an adventure that will deepen your appreciation for both the treat and the various methods by which it is made.
 
Here are some fun tips for tasting like a true connoisseur
 
Begin with your basic senses. Keep in mind that you can smell thousands of unique scents, but your taste perception is limited to salty, sweet, sour and bitter. It is the combination of smell and taste that allows you to discern flavor.
 
One a fresh page in your notebook, enter the name of the ice cream shop, the date, and the flavor you chose. Then, eat! Be sure to make additional notes in your book using the following as a guide:
 
Look: What color is it? Did you choose a treat with bits of fruit, nuts, chocolate chips? Can you see them? Does your treat have a smooth, creamy texture, is it soft or firm, light or heavy? Is it melting quickly, or holding its shape?
 
Taste: Take a bite, and allow it to slowly melt on your tongue. Depending on which flavor you chose, you might detect the taste of berries, chocolate, vanilla, spices, or citrus. Sweet tastes and salty tastes are mostly tasted at the tip of the tongue. Bitter tastes are mostly sensed towards the back and rear sides of the tongue, and sour tastes (like citrus) are mostly tasted at the sides of the tongue, at the middle and towards the front.
 
Is it melting quickly, or slowly? What flavors did you notice first? Did any additional flavors appear as the ice cream melted on your tongue? How sweet is it? How does the texture feel? Does it taste better eaten from a spoon, or licked directly? (I’m told there really is a difference.) Does the flavor persist long after each bite, or does it disappear? Close your eyes and search your imagination: what does the taste make you think of?
 
Explore: What is the funniest flavor the shop offers? What is the weirdest? (Scoops features flavors such as (Fois gras and Sweet cream, Earl Grey Ginger, and Riesling Cherry!) How was it made? (Does the shop use an old family recipe? What kids of equipment are used to prepare the ice cream? How long does it take? How often do they make it?)
 
Sure it tastes good, but is it good for me? Some shops will offer information such as calories, or fat content per serving. Silky Smooth Ultra Creamery uses excess butterfat, yet is 90% fat free. (How do they do this?) Be sure to add notes about nutrition in your ice cream notebook, if it happens to matter to you. With dessert, often one is better off not knowing.
 
Lastly, give your ice cream a final rating overall: perhaps grade it A, B, C or D, or give it a ranking from 1-10. When you find one you like, don’t keep it a secret. Comment below and spread the good word!
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