In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month, also naming the third Sunday in July National Ice Cream Day. Yesterday, I had planned to mark the occasion with a dip into one of the pints of Jeni's currently in my freezer (Strawberry Buttermilk or Lemon and Blueberries) but while out running errands in the neighborhood I popped into BKLYN Larder in Brooklyn, one of my favorite sources for urban provisions—whether it's grapefruit bitters, fennel pollen, beer-and-pretzel caramels, pickled ramps, bottles of Saison Dupont, or a prosciutto and butter sandwich.
They also have a cooler packed with housemade gelato and sorbetto (the same stuff that's sold by the scoop at their popular big-sister restaurant, Franny's. The $8.50-per-pint price tag gave me pause (whether I'm now immune or just won over by the top-quality ingredients, that's never the case paying $10/pint for Jeni's).
(Serious Eats New York's Carey Jones previously wrote about BKLYN Larder's fior di latte gelato last December.)
But when I saw Salted Peanut gelato among the flavors I knew I had to try it.
It was National Ice Cream Day, after all. To lift a marketing line from Snickers, the sweet cream base was packed with peanuts. They were settled at the bottom of the pint, dotting the surface, and suspended throughout. But, back to the Snickers tip, I kept thinking that what it could really use was a salty caramel swirl. Gelato is typically more about simplicity, respecting the purity of the flavor, so I appreciated it for what it was, but that won't stop me from picking up a jar of dulce de leche along with the pint next time I'm at BKLYN Larder.
And in the You Can't Always Get What You Want department, I also spent some time Sunday reflecting on the ice cream I left behind back in Seattle: Snoqualmie Gourmet's Crème Fraiche gelato (the perfect topper for a summer berry crisp); Tilamook Mudslide (with its salty chunks of fudge); the seasonally inspired, market-sourced flavors (Sweet Corn & Caramel, Blueberry Hyssop) of Empire Ice Cream; Butter Toffee Crunch from the Parfait Ice Cream truck parked in front of my favorite coffee shop, Caffè Fiorè; a scoop of Malt gelato from the Poco Carretto cart at the Queen Anne Farmers' Market; and, well, I could go on and on.
But instead I'll take advantage of the quality regional ice cream rippling throughout New York City. There's Adirondack Creamery, Ronnybrook Farm & Dairy, Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream, Blue Marble Brooklyn, and of course, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, where I recently had my first experience with their signature Salty Pimp.
Does it still count that I rang in National Ice Cream Day with gelato? Did you make your own, partake in a particularly memorable pint, or grab a cone on the go on Sunday?
About the author: Brad Thomas Parsons is a Brooklyn-based writer who has interviewed many of the food world's biggest names, including David Chang, Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Danny Meyer, Ina Garten, Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen, and Giada De Laurentiis, among others. He is currently at work on his first book, Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails and Recipes.