Street Food: Batch Ice Cream Truck, Boston
Street food fans and ice cream lovers in Boston, rejoice. This spring, a sweet new food truck hit the streets: the Batch ice cream truck. Yes, this is the same small batch (get it?), high quality ice cream that burst out of Jamaica Plain's Crop Circle Kitchen in 2010 and has been winning awards—and fans—ever since.
Batch has never had a scoop shop of their own, so Bostonians really only had one way to enjoy their ice cream: buy a pint at the grocery store and dish it out themselves. In the frozen aisle, Salted Caramel (pictured below) and Chocolate have proved themselves to be permanent best-sellers. But with the truck providing first tastes to hundreds of people around town, that balance might shift towards the Ginger or Green Tea.
The truck itself looks like a pint that grew up and sprouted wheels. The whole thing is decorated with the company's trademark chalkboard-style writing, all clean lines and black-and-white text. Like the ice cream itself, the concept seems simple but is surprisingly complex. In addition to promoting their seven homespun flavors (an eighth is coming in September), that charming handwritten text lays out the company's quality standards: no artificial stabilizers or additives, whole ingredients and fair trade products where possible, and only the freshest New England dairy.
Inside the truck, Batch fans will find the same stellar flavors they're used to finding inside the pints. Founders Susie Parish and Veronica Janssens pick what they're going to scoop, usually offering 4 or 5 flavors at any given event. The Cinnamon & Chocolate Bits—which they had on hand at last weekend's WGBH FunFest—is a great place to see their quality standards play out. Cinnamon ice cream conjures up images of scary, cherry-red ice cream and a flavor profile akin to melted Red Hots, but Batch's version is nothing of the sort. Because they infuse the ice cream base with toasted cinnamon sticks and never use dyes, the ice cream maintains the same creamy hue of their award-winning Vanilla Bean. The flavor is pure and clean, tasting of toasty, warm cinnamon that dissipates into a rich creamy finish. Tiny, fair trade chocolate chips add texture and a hint of bitterness.
Visitors to the truck will also find something they can't get in the freezer aisle: a chance to chat up Susie and Veronica. Batch remains a small operation and the two founders are driving the truck around themselves. In a city where trucks post up at regular locations week after week, they've opted to do things a little differently. You won't find them scooping during FiDi's lunch rush or drawing the dessert crowd at Cleveland Circle. Susie and Veronica are focusing instead on the festival and event scene, popping up at food fests and concerts in and around Boston.
For dates and locations of the truck, check the schedule on the Batch website.
Batch Ice Cream Truck(857) 263-8833; www.batchicecream.com
About the author: Kate Shannon is a cheesemonger and former line cook. Although she calls Boston home, she hasn't lost her love for the fried cheese curds and Chicago-style hotdogs of the Midwest. She believes that leftover Thai takeout makes the best lunches and that strawberry shortcake is meant to be breakfast, not dessert.