At last: a festival that does what it says on the tin! No dingy concrete shop shells, or miserable shop-bought offerings (take that, British Biscuit Festival).
No, sir. The King’s Cross Ice Cream Festival, held over the weekend at Granary Square, had just what the doctor ordered: lots and lots (and lots) of Ice Cream.
Various producers turned up in their vans, or came with gigantic freezers in tow. With plenty of choice on offer – including Ice Cream Floats, Frozen Yoghurts, and DIY flavour combos – the only downside (from a Pud-Hog’s point of view, at least), was just how popular everything proved to be.
We arrived at Sunday lunchtime and, although it was apparently busier the day before, crowds swarmed around almost every stall, with queues stretching out from all the more popular places.
There wasn’t much room for casual sampling – unless you wanted to wait five minutes a time, that is. Indeed, unlike the excellent Southbank Chocolate Festival, here it was more a case of browsing menus before committing to just the one location.
Thankfully, there were a couple of exceptions, the most intriguing of which was a presentation from Lick Me I’m Delicious. Here, a dapper gent and his fair assistant demonstrated the making of Ice Cream with Liquid Nitrogen, using their very own portable steampunk-style contraption.
Apparently able to make any flavour within 6-7 minutes, experimentation was clearly the name of the game. They’ve even got a Glow-in-the-Dark variety in the pipeline.
In the meantime though, if you had the right elbows – and just enough patience – there were two exciting flavours to be sampled. The first – Port and Stilton – came served on a plain Water Biscuit, and was surprisingly soft and sweet. It would’ve been right up my alley, were it not for the small yet pungent chunks of cheese.
The second, though…
Served in a white chocolate cup, this was a sample of Salted Caramel Cookie Cupcake. Made with Artisan du Chocolat’s Salt Caramel Sauce, not to mention a generous load of crunchy cookie niblets, it was definitely worth the tortuous wait: just the right balance of salt and sweet, plenty of vanilla, and a texture that made me tingle with pleasure.
In fact, both of them were lovely on the tongue – a result of the rapid freezing process, apparently: extremely smooth, with none of the pesky ice crystals that ruin your more inferior scoop.
Still, you don’t have to have a crazy machine to make a damn good Ice Cream.
Once again, Sorbitium pulled it out of the bag – and not a tendril of Liquid Nitrogen in sight. You may remember me writing about these guys last month, in reference to a splendid scoop of Dark Chocolate and Chipotle Chilli.
Well, one look at their menu yesterday, and I knew straight away where I would be queuing.
Ten minutes I stood in that slow-moving line, all because of the sound of one flavour. And you know what? I would do it all again in a flash.
Ladies and gentlehogs, I give you: the Greengage and Hazelnut Custard Crumble.
A more lovely collection of words I have yet to find on an Ice Cream Van. The taste itself was even lovelier: a thick and custardy backdrop, swirling with pieces of Crumble and Nut and tangy Greengage splodges (Greengage being a wild green Plum, in case you weren’t quite sure).
I was overwhelmed, Ogglers. Crunchy, smooth, creamy, sweet, sharp. Everything a Pud-Hog ever wanted in an Ice Cream.
Could these people be the most exciting Ice Cream makers in all of London town? They might not have the wizardry, but they certainly have the taste.
I suppose it will take some more sampling to be sure. But for now, Sorbitium: I salute you.
That flavour was best at the Fest by a mile.