A couple of weeks back, I went to my first Dana Centre event titled, “Ice Cream Science”. This place has been on my list of things to do for a while, since they usually hold at least one evening per month an “Adults Late” – no, nothing like that – rather, just the ability for adults to enjoy the science museum late after work on evening without the hassle of lots of kids running around. I immediately signed up for this evening session when I saw it was going to be on one of my favourite foods, ice cream!
On the evening, they had food scientist, Chris Clarke, author of The Science of Ice Cream talk about what makes ice cream so popular as well as the way it’s changed over the years. He gave a very scientific analysis, with some great visualisations around what makes ice cream, well, ice cream and how to go about making it (it’s not just the ingredients but it’s the process that matters).
To contrast the scientific approach, the Dana Centre also invited Christian Oddono of Oddono’s who, being Italian, took the more artisanal approach to describing his passion for Italian ice creams, gelati. It was great to have the differences compared and really liked Oddono’s tagline for, “Life is too short to eat bad ice cream.” Oh so true.
Even with a fairly average meal (pizza slice & salad), an enjoyable part of the evening was the interactive, tasting part, where they brought six different flavoured ice creams to try. Oh so wise for them to put the more experimental flavours up front. This one, pictured below, for instance was a salmon-flavoured ice cream. Despite the strange, savoury flavour, this was definitely the least offensive of the savoury flavoured ice creams, and if you imagine something like a salmon mousse, just slightly more solid and chilled, this as pretty much that. Definitely a good introduction to what could be (not really what should be) done with ice cream flavours.
The next venture took us to a mustard seed ice cream. This reminds me of some wasabi flavoured ice cream I’ve had before, although much more subtle in flavour but more noticeable in texture with the mustard seeds peppered throughout. This one seemed to attract quite a number of fans in the audience.
The worst of the bunch, was the next, very, very experimental flavoured ice cream – banana, garlic and parmesan. Of the six, this is the only one that I had to put down and not finish, even being the very small serve. I think the combination, without the ice cream, is strange enough. I’ve had banana and cheese, and garlic and cheese, but not quite all three at the same time. As an ice cream, it was made even more weird because none of the flavours seemed to dominate but not really taste well as a trio either.
The next, one of my favourites of the evening was the chilli and chocolate ice cream. Chilli and chocolate are well known partners, and as an ice cream, made even more interesting. The first lick brings the rich chocolate flavours, combined with a refreshing cold sensation, only to be quickly followed by the warm, tickling chilli sensation. Something I’ll definitely try one day.
The next one, honey and lavender was definitely a rich and fragrant ice cream although the honey was almost sickly overwhelming. I still really enjoyed this once, for the flowery flavours and the sweetness easily tolerable in its mini-cone flavour.
The final ice cream of the evening was a green tea ice cream dotted with chocolate pieces. Unlike many of the green tea ice creams I’ve had in the past, this one didn’t seem to be as gritty as many of the ones I’ve had previously. The flavour is definitely not as strong as many of the previous ice creams of the evening but you could taste, and see the richness of the green tea leaves.
I look forward to a few more evenings at the Dana Centre. I certainly had a lot of fun and ideas for ice cream. My next inspiration will be to try some sort of Pimms flavoured ice cream before the summer is out.