I got to Taste of Calgary on Thursday evening after work, and over the next few posts I’ll share some of the goodies… but there’s still time to get down there yourself!
My friend and I each bought $20 worth of tickets – and we left FULL!
Rolled Ice Cream – I think I’m a little late to the party, because a friend was trying to get me to try out rolled ice cream LAST summer when there was a food truck in Calgary specializing in it. However… that never did happen. (Food trucks are always downtown during lunch and I don’t work downtown!)
There’s a new little ice cream shop in my neighbourhood, very near Sushi Hanami in the Sarcee Plaza shopping centre.
I popped in there in mid-August shortly after they opened with a friend, and gave a try to their ice cream.
When I went there, they only had four flavours on the menu – a salted caramel, a chocolate, a vanilla, and my choice, an Earl Grey.
Instead of traditional churned ice cream, Nice Cream uses liquid nitrogen to quickly freeze the freshly-mixed ingredients.
Learn more about making ice cream using liquid nitrogen here.
It’s an interesting, albeit faddish kind of idea, but the result is very tasty, smooth, and apparently less prone to those chunky ice crystals other ice creams can get if frozen too slowly. I only had a small size ($3.99 plus tax, with toppings extra) and it was very filling – I actually had to pause mid-way through my dessert, and pop my ice cream in the freezer when I got home – I couldn’t eat it all in one sitting. (Admittedly, I’d just had a great dinner at a nearby Indian place)
They’re so new, that I couldn’t find a website for them – and their Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon) listing actually directs to a different location on 17th Avenue, but you can find them in the Sarcee Plaza, SW Calgary, near the Vietnamese place, close to Starbucks.
As odd as it might sound, our post about ice cream in Finland is one of the highest-rated posts for Happy Sushi Belly, so since I had a lovely bit of ice cream while in Iceland, I thought I’d share it here too! The Djæf bar was a great bit of licorice on the inside, surrounded by vanilla ice cream, and coated in a chocolate coating.
It was generally a bit too cool in Iceland when we were there in July to enjoy too much ice cream (the soup from my previous post was much more welcome than ice cream!) but this was delicious all the same!
I had originally seen just a tweet from someone I follow on Twitter (@gostlund) mentioning Earl Grey ice cream, and since I was in the neighbourhood (attending the Creative Stitches show) I’d drop on by and grab a scoop… The other featured flavour at the time was Country Pumpkin, so I had a scoop of that two. The Country Pumpkin was fantastic – a mellow “pumpkin pie filling” flavour with pumpkin and spices – but not so intense of a flavour that I got tired of it.
The Earl Grey on the other hand was amazing – I highly recommend it the next time they have it in the freezer! It has the bergamot flavour that really makes Earl Grey tea stand out, and a bit of the smoky black tea flavour too. It’s also super-creamy, which makes it feel really decadent 🙂 After having a scoop, I really wanted to bring back home a pint! (And, if I hadn’t been bussing home, I might have!)
Village Ice Cream
431 10 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0W3
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According to a website on Finnish cuisine, ice cream dominates the dessert list. “Ice cream has maintained its place as the queen of desserts for a couple of centuries now, although tastes have changed. A hundred years ago, people favoured ice cream flavoured with fresh pineapple, almonds, chestnuts and other nuts. Ice cream with foreign canned fruits and chocolate sauce was regarded as a delicacy in the 1950s. In the present century, wild strawberry ice cream with a garnish of puréed wild strawberries is typically served as a dessert at lunch.” – http://finland.fi/
For me though, I wanted to try some flavours that I couldn’t try at home…
At the S-Market near our hotel in Helsinki, there was a huge frozen section dedicated to ice cream. There were wire bins upon bins of individual frozen novelties available – so much space that this couldn’t possibly be a seasonal section as far as I could tell, and it was near the front of the store – a popular treat for sure!
It was a hot day, and we didn’t have much for dinner, so we picked out two treats each (ok.. and we love ice cream!) We each selected one of the Magnum treats (mint for me, an unphotographed plain one for my travel companion – who was already eating by the time I got my camera out!). My companion chose a toffee one for the second treat, while I went for the Ingman Lakritsi cone instead…
Of the four treats we had that night, the Lakritsi was the best! My companion had to snag a bite too of course!
The Lakritsi had licorice sprinkles on top of plain ice cream with a licorice core. The Magnum Mint wasn’t so good for me – it was plain vanilla ice cream, and only the chocolate coating had the mint – with tiny mint candies in the chocolate coating. It was crunchy instead of the smooth texture I prefer.
Once we’d tried one licorice ice cream though, we were keen to try another, and this is where it got really good – Salmiakki ice cream. This is a licorice ice cream with a licorice-flavoured coating. I wish we could get these here… I’ll definitely have to keep my eyes open when I get to specialty shops…
As we were leaving Finland, heading to Toronto on FinnAir, to spend the night before returning to Calgary, I went on the hunt for another ice cream treat. I was looking for the Salmiakki ice cream we’d tried before, but the little convenience store in the airport didn’t have it. Instead I picked up this Lakupala bar – which had the same licorice-flavoured coating, but inside was chocolate ice cream. It was good, but not nearly as good as the Salmiakki ice cream bar!
Since I’ve posted a few more local posts, I’m back to posting about my Finnish culinary experiences. Since I last posted about ice cream, I figured I’d stay on the topic, and share even more about the flavour I’m still keeping an eye open for over on this side of the world…
In an earlier post I mentioned ice cream in Finland. With every sidewalk filled with people enjoying frozen treats, it’s easy to see why Finland tops the global charts as consumers of dairy products!
A chart shows that in 2007 Finns consumed over 360 kg/capita/year of dairy products (excluding butter) well above the 206 kg/capita/year that Canadians consume, and leaps and bounds above the global average of 108 kg/capita/year. They aren’t the only dairy-loving nation though, their neighbors in Sweden come close with an average of 355 kg/capita/year in dairy product consumption according to the chart which comes from the FAO Statistics Division 2011.
I first tried scooped salmiakki (salty licorice) ice cream in Turku, from a riverfront vendor. When I visited the fortress island of Suomenlinna another ice cream vendor was bound to get my business too! (It was also an uncustomary 33 degrees!). I was so sad to see that although they carried the same brand of ice cream, they didn’t have that specific flavour in the cooler at the moment, so instead I tried something a bit different….
Not long ago, I went back to Village Ice Cream, which I already shared with you a few months back.
As you can see from the menu, the seasonal items were different from last time. I gave the black sesame a taste (ok, but nothing special) while my friend gave the toasted coconut, a regular flavour a taste. After our free tastes, we decided to go with cardamom (one of the ingredients in chai tea) for me, and salted caramel for her.
I had read that the salted caramel could taste “burnt”, but I had a lick,and it was actually just perfect… so delicious! If I were a fan of caramel, I’d go for this on another visit for sure! My companion loved her cone (yep, that’s her in the photo below holding both of our cones) but did say that one scoop was perfect – she was getting a bit tired of the flavour near the end, and two scoops would have just been too much.
I love ice cream. I think that it is probably my favourite dessert. ( Although ask me about that again when I have an amazing slice of cheesecake…). While on my trip to Finland I think that I discovered my new favourite flavour of ice cream… Salmiakki!
Salmiakki (or salmiak, or salmiac liquorice) is salty licorice popular in the Nordic countries, Netherlands, Baltic States and Northern Germany. It gets it’s distinctive salty, astringent, ‘tongue-numbing’ flavour through the use of ammonium chloride. Carbon black is used as a food colouring in the black candies, but they can also come in white and grey. The taste can be overwhelming and almost stinging, and the flavour is found not just in hard and soft candies, but also in alcoholic beverages, chocolate, meat, cola drinks, and yes… ice cream!