Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We all scream for Ice Cream

Two weeks ago Sydney experienced a record breaking week of hot weather where each day was over 30' Celcius, that's 86' Fahrenheit on the old scale, sheesh! It was hot. According to the experts, Sydney has not seen a similar weather pattern for over 150 years.

There is one food that we all equate with hot weather and that's ice cream. Delicious, refreshing ice cream. The precursors to ice cream are believed to have begun with the Persian Empire where they would pour grape concentrate over ice and serve it in bowls, further developing it with rose water, saffron, vermicelli, fruits and different flavours to be served to royalty during the summer months, this was called faloodeh. The Arab nations were the first to introduce milk and sugar into the equation and establish commercial production techniques.

Photo: Nationaal Archief: Flickr 

In the February edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller, Adriano Zumbo and Peter Gilmore took the ice cream challenge, taste testing Australia's top ice cream brands. Why didn't they call me!??!

The challenge involved testing nine of Australia's top available brands of vanilla ice cream as well as one other flavour from each of the brands. What makes it interesting is that the testing was conducted blind, so readers are guaranteed there is no bias.

Gilmore and Zumbo touted with things like the use of eggs, excess air that is sometimes pumped into the product to increase bulk, texture, E - Numbers,  fast vs slow churn, density and the use of high quality ingredients.


The brands tested were:

  1. Sara Lee
  2. Maggie Beer
  3. Kohu Road
  4. Pat & Sticks Homemade Ice cream Co.
  5. Serendipity
  6. Ben & Jerry's
  7. Movenpick
  8. Gundowring
  9. Connoisseur

Each judge was asked to give each ice cream a score out of 10 and this was combined to give an overall score out of 20. This then equated to a star system, with three stars being the best with a combined score of between 17-20.

In summary, the best vanilla ice cream was a tie between : Maggie Beer (vanilla bean and elderflower), Connoisseur and Ben & Jerry's.

A big surprise for me was the Kohu Road, Pete and I haven't tried this but have seen it at our local supermarket and being an award winning New Zealand ice cream we thought it would be worth a try. Its not cheap either, retailing for $18.99 for 1 litre. So after reading the article I was glad we hadn't got around to trying it. It just shows you that price is not necessarily a good judge of quality. Not sure of its overall score, but it didn't even receive one star which means it's combined score was less than 10 out of 20.  The judges referred to it as 'watery' and 'strange'. Poor Kohu Road.

Out of the flavoured varieties, Connoisseurs Caramel and Honey and Gundowring's Licorice flavoured ice cream both received three stars and both judges really liked them. Runners up included Movenpick's Maple Walnut and Maggie Beer's Strawberries & Cream. 

It was a great article and so fitting for this time of year, particularly during this hot summer weather we have been experiencing here in Sydney. 

To subscribe to the wonderful Australian Gourmet Traveller, click here

Dog standing outside ice cream shop in Beynac, France
During our visit to the Perigord region of France, Pete and I visited the stunning Gardens of Marqueyssac, which offers stunning panoramic views of the Dordogne. There are more than 6 km of walks that make up a labyrinth that are the gardens. A truly magical place.

It is here that Pete and I tried the best ice cream we have both ever tasted. We enjoyed the 'Artisan' ice cream (which means that it is made on site by skilled workers), it was SO delicious! So creamy and full of flavour, not icy at all and you can tell by the taste that it is made with love using high quality ingredients. Zumbo and Gilmore would be impressed!

We started out with our ice cream ( who wouldn't?!?!) and then walked it off touring the beautiful Gardens of Marqueyssac. We both tried two different flavours each: I had violet and walnut and Pete had rose and peach.

My yummy ice cream : Walnut on top, violet on bottom

Here are some of the sites we enjoyed whilst walking off our ice cream.

Gardens of Marqueyssac, Dordogne, France



Long walks @ Gardens of Marqueyssac, France



Hut@ Gardens of Marqueyssac, France


Sculpture: Man & Mouse, Gardens of Marqueyssac, France

Gorgeous Gate, Marqueyssac Gardens, France

I hope you have enjoyed this mini tour of Marqueyssac Gardens. Tell me, what is the best ice cream you have ever tasted?



4 comments:

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Beautiful photographs of France! the hut and the fence photo look straight out of a movie set! :)

The Food Mentalist said...

Thanks Lorraine, It was truly beautiful!

Hannah said...

Ice cream talk and travel photos - this is my kind of post! Oh, how I miss France!

I also feel disgruntled because the elderflower Maggie Beer is the one I've always passed over in favour of the fig or quince ones, thinking it would be boring! I've also been dying to find the licorice Gundowring ever since I had licorice gelato in Florence last year...

Gypsywitch said...

very interesting read... your pictures are beautiful..
For me.. Im not really an ice cream lover .. I had my first ice cream in years recently at the St George Openair Cinema at Lady Macquarie's Point. They were selling Pat and Sticks and I had the Strawberry Choc Chip and it was simply the best!! amazing .. I enjoyed every morsel The taste was enuf to make me want to find another one !!

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