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Savory Ice Cream - Is It More Than Just a Silly Stunt?

When it comes to stunt ice cream flavors, almost nothing surprises me anymore - not after Van Leeuwen's Hidden Valley Ranch ice cream and that very literal Glass Onion ice cream. Savory ice cream has become all about shock: driving up the scales of bizarreness to see what the audiences will take.

People seem to buy them mostly as a gimmick, not necessarily taken seriously as anyone's new favorite flavor. Nationwide though, some chefs are taking savory ice cream seriously. They are putting it on the menu in clever new desserts, or using it in courses that make you question whether the cold, creamy goodness should be limited to dessert alone. Their approach to using these creations suggest that savory ice cream can be more than just a gimmick to get people in the door.

New York City's L'Abeille is a French Japanese restaurant that opened last year, and they have been cooking it up in the fun of the concept. Their unique menu has included: spot prawns served with tomato ice cream; a crispy sardine served with white asparagus ice cream; a pea velouté served with onion and coffee ice cream; and a beef tartare with celery root and mustard ice cream. Executive chef Mitsunobu Nagae considers none of these ice creams to be dessert.

Chef Nagae explains, "“The cold temperature of the ice cream, melted with the food that it’s served with, wraps the whole taste and makes it smoother and softer in your palate,” he says, through translation from owner Rahul Saito. - via Eater.

Other chefs are rethinking what flavors are allowed to be dessert as well. The Los Angeles restaurant L&E Oyster Bar serves its madeleines with a cacio e pepe ice cream. Not sweet, the ice cream is “cacio e pepe all the way,” says chef Bryant Gallegos. With toasted black pepper and pecorino, “it finishes hot,” he says. “Not spicy, but the black pepper flavor keeps on going even after you finish.” A reduction of both black and white balsamic vinegar — black for a bit of sweetness, and white for a hint of citrus — rounds out the savory ice cream. - via Eater.

By the looks of it, savory ice cream is making its way to being normalized and not so gimmicky. I'm looking forward to the evolution of savory ice cream!


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