What is up with all the expensive new ice creams? Everyone's favorite dessert has suddenly reached the level of an Hermés Birkin bag. Milk Made, a new ice cream subscription service in Brooklyn, has a waiting list for the privilege of paying $16 a pint ($50 for 3 pints delivered over 3 months). Carmela's (quite delicious) Ice Cream in Los Angeles now sells online for about $11 a pint (with a minimum order of 6 for $70). And Virginia's Perfect Flavor, which makes all-organic custom blends, is charging a whopping $30 per pint (at least 4 pints per $120 order). Perfect Flavor at least attempts to explain the sticker shock, but if $10 per order goes to a cryptic "everything else," it doesn't elicit much sympathy.
© Ross Todd
Dulce de leche ice cream at Freddo
© The Berkeley
Haute-cookies at the Berkeley hotel in London.
I’ll be blogging this week about discoveries from my recent eight-day trip to London. The city was buzzing with pop-up restaurant/design projects, ambitious new hotels and hip new British comfort food joints. One of my favorite finds was at the Berkeley hotel, which just introduced the fall/winter collection of its super-popular Prêt-à-Portea (the menu changes every six months to reflect the new fashion season). This haute-couture-inspired tea service features edible designs inspired by Christian Lacroix, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Adorable confections include a Roger Vivier chocolate boot cookie, a Mulberry "Bayswater" white-chocolate-and-coconut-truffle "it" bag and a cinnamon Burberry Prorsum trench-coat cookie with a caramel belt and buttons. All are served on Paul Smith china alongside a proper cup of English tea.
© Ellen Silverman
Michael Anthony is a good source for grown up candy.
Most Candy-Obsessed Chef—Jonathan Waxman. I’m not sure that he eats more candy than I do, but his list of favorites is prodigious. They are, in no order: M&M Peanuts, Planters Peanut Bar, Hershey Almond Bar, Snickers (frozen), Hershey Almond Kisses, Twix, Butterfinger, Almond Joy, Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.
Most Unexpected Trick-or-Treat Spot—Soho House New York. Chef Neil Ferguson reports that last year some 200 kids came through the restaurant—on the 6th floor of a private club. In the course of offering up all that candy, Ferguson got addicted to Sour Patch Kids. ("If you have a tough day, you can bite their heads off and not feel bad about it," he says.) My question: How did the kids get past the doorman?
Best Candy for Parents—Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony handed out GT's chocolate-covered pumpkin toffee.
On a recent trip to Boston, I stayed at the adorable Beacon Hill Hotel, tucked away down Charles Street. Its 12 rooms are right above its street-level restaurant, the Bistro, which is run by Barbara Lynch alum Jason Bond. In addition to the excellent complimentary breakfast, which included vanilla pancakes and a thick French toast topped with spiced crème fraîche, chef Bond makes some of the best ice cream in town. My friend Katherine and I tasted our way through flavors like Ligurian Olive Oil and Banana Rum, but the flavor that had us coming back at midnight for a second scoop was the Chocolate Almond–Smoked Sea Salt, with a pudding-like texture and crunchy bits of cocoa nibs and toasted slivered almonds. Bond shared his secret: Valrhona Guanaha chocolate and Norwegian smoked sea salt. Thank goodness ice cream wasn't on the breakfast menu.
© Quentin Bacon
© Tina Rupp
If you've ever wondered what wine would be best with red velvet or chocolate cupcakes, James Roth of the wine shop Red, White & Bleu in Falls Church, Virginia, is your man. His motto is, "If you can eat it, you can pair it." So the Falls Church News-Press put him up to the challenge of pairing eight different flavored cupcakes with wines. The results were fascinating-for example, a dark-chocolate ganache with an Argentinean Malbec. Try some cupcake pairings yourself with some of my favorite F&W recipes:
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Devil's Food Cupcakes with Espresso Meringue
Angel Food Cupcakes with Raspberry Swirl
Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling