Banning pineapple on pizza, having cartoons running on TV all day and making ice cream compulsory for dinner are some of the laws children would implement if they ruled the country according to a recent survey. I’d agree with two out of these three; my friends know me as a cheap date who will notoriously forego a dessert trolley in favour of a scoop of hazelnut/nocciola or espresso ice cream – the side effect of dating an Italian for several years when I was a regular customer of Giolitti Antica Gelateria in Rome. My taste memory was triggered recently when I sampled Scúp gelato, its nocciola the best I’ve tasted outside of Italy. Perhaps that’s because co-owner Siobhan Devereux works with an original Italian recipe, making her ice creams by hand rather than machine. Wexford-based Scúp’s bestsellers include Bronte Pistachio, Bourbon Vanilla and Wexford Strawberry. Devereux’s initial inspiration was spotting a gap in the food service industry – she supplies chefs and hotels with her bespoke offering. Her earliest ice cream memory, like most of us, is of a block of HB sliced between two wafers. Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern remembers “Our local shop did a roaring trade in [ice cream] wafers. All the time you hoped the knife would move an inch further down the block, and a bigger wafer would be served up. It didn’t happen that often. Those shopkeepers were more precise than surgeons.” Whether we believe the notion that our love of ice cream is somehow Freudian, (Ireland is second to Sweden in its consumption) it’s a truth universally acknowledged that simply mixing cream and sugar with a flavour and putting it in the freezer will not an ice cream make.
The frozen dessert is thought to have originated in Italy in the 1600s and was made popular through the French court, provoking Voltaire to muse, “Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.” Custard-based ice creams have a more unctuous texture than those made from pure cream, though “nice cream” is currently trending, using liquid nitrogen for instant results – a trick science teachers have presented for years at the end of term. Three Twenty Ice Cream Lab (on Dublin’s Drury Street) practises this technique: customers pick their flavour or anglaise which is mixed with liquid nitrogen and due to the freezing process (-320 degrees), the result is less crystallisation and a much creamier, denser ice cream. Owner Steven Murphy says, “The most popular flavours are Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Fluff and Salted Caramel Brownie.”
For ice cream devotees there are lots of new venues opening this summer, one of which is Gino Gelato’s 21st store on Michael Street, Tramore, Co Waterford. There are another seven new locations planned during the summer. Irish owned, Gino’s was founded in 2008 by second generation ice-cream professionals Jonathan Kirwan and Anthony Murphy. Their priority is to use the very best and freshest ingredients, while keeping the gelato as authentic as possible to traditional methods. Each year Gino’s uses more than 400,000 litres of organic Irish milk; they also use Irish filtered water brand Uisce to make the sorbet range. Favourite flavours include the multi-award-winning Pistachio Gelato, Mango Sorbet, Kinder Bueno, Oreo and Bubblegum.
Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Newmarket, Dublin 8, is open to visitors once more, and it’s the only place where the much-loved Teddy’s ice cream can be enjoyed in the city. Drop into The Phoenix Café, at the distillery, where you can indulge in a traditional Teddy’s 99 or top with Teeling Whiskey salted caramel sauce too. For a special treat, try a Teddy Teeling Ice Cream Sundae with (lashings of) Teeling Whiskey caramel sauce and crumbled brownie from the Cu Cake Guy with optional Teeling Whiskey soaked raisins. By the way, there’s a free Teddy’s 99 with every Teeling Distillery tour booked; tours now run Thursday and Friday from 12pm to 6pm, Saturday from 11am to 7pm and Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from 11am to 6pm.
If you’re shopping at Arnotts a must visit is Betty’s Milk Bar, a new ice-cream bar from Domini and Peaches Kemp, on the Ground Level at the Liffey Street entrance. Specialising in soft-serve ice cream, it offers both vegan and dairy options with a selection of home-made toppings. Recommended is the Betty Butter, with warm salted caramel sauce, melted toffee crisp and peanut M&M’s. The Betty Brown comes with a dark chocolate, caramel pecan brownie, warm salted caramel sauce and mini malt balls. The Mini Betty consists of white chocolate sauce, strawberry compote, unicorn dust and sprinkles. For coffee lovers with a sweet tooth, there’s Betty’s Helper served with a shot of espresso, Nutella sauce and Oreos. Co-Founder Domini Kemp explains: ”This is our first venture with my daughter, Lauren Kemp-Gallagher. It was important to us to have both vegan and dairy soft-serve ice-cream options so that everyone can enjoy their own personalised sweet treat.”
The Morelli family name is synonymous with ice cream. Indeed, the ice cream parlours of this fifth-generation family are institutions on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland. The brand now has outposts in London (Covent Garden), Monte Carlo (at the Café de Paris) and in Dubai (at the International Mall). The Morelli team were voted the National Supreme Champions at the Ice Cream Alliane National Ice Cream Championship in 2019. The latest Morelli opening is Sisi @ Central Café, which is very handy to GLOSS HQ, in Blackrock, Co Dublin.
The plant-based ice cream and chocolate company NoBó, run by husband and wife Brian and Rachel Nolan, has taken over the former Dunville Avenue shop of interior designer Helen Turkington. NoBó was founded eight years ago and the name derives from the Nolan’s surname and the Irish word for cow. From humble beginnings selling at farmers markets, business has boomed with the Nolans recently signing an export deal with Wholefoods Canada. The couple plan to use the new venue as a chocolate lab to discover new flavours, with a kiosk at the front from where customers can sample coffee, ice cream and chocolate.
Later in the summer, visitors to Kildare Village will be able to take a break from retail therapy to sample Murphy’s Ice cream, started in Dingle Co Kerry by Sean and Kieran Murphy in 2000. The Murphys are open about their ice cream recipe – breaking eggs and using fresh cream, milk and sugar to make a custard that they flavour with fresh, natural ingredients. Some of their interesting flavours include Irish Brown Bread (using McCambridge’s), Dingle Sea Salt (collected at Bin Ban beach) and Dingle Gin ice cream. “We take Dingle Gin and do a cold extraction, slowly and patiently over weeks to bring out the flavours of the juniper berries, coriander seed and orange and lemon peel, and then the gin is ready to be mixed with our ice cream.” Sounds tempting …