It's summertime, hot sun's beating down, what do you crave? Ice cream.
You've had your chocolates, your vanillas, your mint chips, your rocky roads. And those are fine. They're classics for a reason. But sometimes you want to branch out, try something a little off the beaten path. Maybe a lot off the beaten path. That's where Portland Oregon's new Alberta Street ice cream cart, Salt & Straw, comes in.
The brainchild of the contagiously affable Kim Malek, Salt & Straw is being branded as a "farm-to-cone" ice cream establishment. That's more than just a marketing angle. The cream that gets churned into Malek's frozen creations comes from the cows at Lochmead Dairy in Eugene, Oregon. Toss in some local, seasonal ingredients and the absorption into the Portland zeitgeist is complete. Kim is very proud to make use of Oregon and Washington's bountiful produce in her ice cream, and a glance at some of the ingredients churnned into the current lineup of flavors—Laurelwood beer, Olympic Provisions meats, Rogue Creamery blue cheese—reveals a mature and tasteful palate. The selection is a good mix of both approachable and challenging flavors, all worth trying.
What makes the ice cream at Salt & Straw so good? For starters, there's the butterfat content: 17 percent, about as high as you can go without having little lumps of butter suspended in the cream. Second, the Maleks keep the air content in the cream low, producing a smoother product. And third, their ice cream is less sweet than most, which is a godsend to those who enjoy the refreshment of a cold dessert but not the gobs of sugar that typically accompany it.
Ready to get the scoop on Salt & Straw's wares? Check out the slideshow to learn about all eight of the current flavors!