When you get to July and summer still hasn’t arrived, do you stay indoors and wait for the sunshine, or go out and have fun regardless?
On Saturday, despite the frequent showers and general greyness of London, the Man and I opted for the latter. And what better way to pretend it’s hot and lovely than embarking on a little ‘Ice Cream Crawl’?
I say ‘little’ because, in the end, we only went to a couple of places (we did Gelupo last week, after all).
Even so, it still felt like a Herculean feat. With ten different flavours of ice cream – including a cream-topped sundae and three Indian-style bowls of Kulfi within just two hours – I was pretty darn stuffed by the time the crawl was over.
Indeed, as I hobbled homewards clutching my swollen belly, it suddenly became apparent as to why the Ice Cream Crawl concept hadn’t ever really caught on…
But never mind that – I’m leaping ahead already. Let’s rewind and start at the beginning.
Our first port of call was a place called The Foundry in Camden, where Sicilian chefs are currently knocking up their own home-made gelatos and sorbets. This is where the bulk of our eating took place, and ruddy nice it was too.
Here we tried a plethora of different flavours – Chocolate, Madagascan Vanilla, Blueberry, Strawberries and Cream, Lemon [Sorbet], and Pistachio.
Although the Lemon Sorbet was a wee bit sharp and icy for our tastes, the ice creams were impeccably made – all extremely smooth and creamy. The Vanilla was studded with pods, and so sweet it was almost like eating iced honey or caramel. The Strawberries and Cream was excellent too – the texture of soft frozen marshmallow, with flavoursome lumps of fresh fruit.
When it came to choosing a favourite, however, despite the Man’s love of the Chocolate, my winner was crystal clear. Not the Blueberry (much too sweet for me), but that mossy green scoop we sampled in Round One: the one, the only, Pistachio.
As ice creams go it completely knocked my socks off, and I do not say this lightly.
You see, in this Pud-Hog’s humble opinion, too many Pistachio-flavoured things taste overly sweet and artificial. As for the light minty colour you so often see: since when did a healthy nut look like that?
The Foundry’s version – dark, rich and unmistakeably nutty – was the real deal. You could taste the roasted nuts as clearly as if they’d just come off the fire – there were even fine dark granules of them, speckled the whole way through.
I’m sure I could have eaten it all day, but instead we were faced with the Foundry’s final challenge.
A Diamond Jubilee Sundae.
This mish-mash of strawberries, cream, meringue, clotted cream ice cream, and blue curacao diamonds was hardly the lightest finale – but one that I’d been really looking forward to.
There’s something about ice cream sundaes, isn’t there? Something that makes them feel extra special. It’s those long spoons that do it, I think. Gives them a sense of occasion and makes you feel like you’re six years old, in the days when cutlery seemed much bigger.
The price tag usually elevates them too (this one was £7), but a good sundae is more than worth it.
This one was beautiful, as you can see, but (perhaps unsurprisingly) very, very creamy – more than I could take after already sharing six scoops.
It also seemed to be lacking in something, and when I went back to the menu I think I worked out what: it was the meringue.
Some parts of it had a lovely hint of crunch, but this was all down to the blue curacao diamonds (which were very exciting in theory, but somewhat drowned out by the cream. They might as well have been lumps of dyed sugar).
The meringue, it seemed, was nowhere to be found – I can only guess that somebody forgot to add it.
Never mind though. I forgive them.
You see, as far as I’m concerned, a kitchen that makes a Pistachio ice cream like that can do no wrong. Full as I was, I would have had a whole extra bowlful of it if I could.
But no. Our Ice Cream Crawl wasn’t finished yet.
Next (and last) on the list: three bowls of Indian Kulfi from a swanky bar in Soho.
Tomorrow I’ll give you the lowdown. Or should I say ‘the scoop’…?