Vanilla Ain’t So…

brown sugar vanilla bean
brown sugar vanilla bean

Don’t hate me just because somebody dropped off six little sample-size containers of Caramela ice cream and sorbet at my door last week. I just got around to tasting them last night when some friends were over to ease the burden. Salty caramel was the winner, though that seemed almost like a cliche when you consider that the combination of caramel and sea salt is so wildly popular—Starbucks and Wal-Mart have caught on to the no-fail pairing—that it was the subject of a feature story in the New York Times last December. I had no interest in the sorbets. Not that they were bad, just that I’ve never found a good reason to eat sorbet when I could have ice cream instead. (I don’t go for the “less fattening” thing firstly because I know how much sugar is in sorbet, and secondly, because it’s a stupid reason to order your second choice.) Spicy strawberry would have been better without the spice (not to mention the addition of heavy cream). A basil infusion was a nice attempt to do something to otherwise ordinary lemon. (But it’s still sorbet.)

Moving on to the good stuff. The ice cream flavors were as follows: salted caramel, honey lavender, chocolate cocoa nib, and brown sugar vanilla. My friends, it is fair to say, scarfed down every single flavor except one. Brown sugar vanilla. “It’s just vanilla,” one friend said, shrugging his shoulders, like that should explain everything. But that isn’t fair. Since when did vanilla become synonymous with “plain” or ordinary? “Since when did “vanilla,” become a “base?” Vanilla, I might remind you, is a flavor. A flavor that people (who? have no idea) go to great effort to extract. And it happens, when it comes to ice cream, to be my favorite. Brown sugar? Why not? Stick your neck out. Get creative. No harm no foul. It’s the vanilla I’m after.

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3 thoughts on “Vanilla Ain’t So…

  1. Was it exceptional as ice creams go, that is, do I need to go to the Hollywood Farmers Market to get some? Do we need to go together? I’m out of town this wknd, but let’s make a plan soon….

    1. um, exceptional as far as ice creams? i think yes. they have these cute little bio degradable containers that make you want to put one of these in every lunchbox. (let them eat organic sustainable ice cream…) but yes let’s go soon!

  2. Honestly, the best vanilla ice cream I’ve tasted in a while is Green & Black’s. I know, I know — small-batch, handmade, more of a goose chase to get the thing is best — BUT, if you happen to be at Whole Foods, like almost everyday, it’s a great standby. It’s nice and creamy which lets the vanilla bean come through. Also, Laloo’s is good if you’re feeling the goat milk.

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