It’s the age of activated charcoal ice cream and soft serve in every flavour under the sun (think ube, cola and burrata). In the second instalment of our OTT ice cream series, here are even more wild new shapes, forms, textures and toppings to help bring the soaring temperature down.
Rolled ice cream
Live action ice cream was a hit in the late 90s with venues like Cold Rock and it seems our fascination continues with made-to-order, sub-zero theatre. Today, it’s all about ice cream rolls – cream poured onto a frozen plate, flavourings chopped in, then artfully spooled. The trend, which gathered steam in early 2016, was inspired by traditional Thai and South-East Asian food stalls, before spreading to New York, Los Angeles and Sydney – complete, of course, with Tiny Teddies, scorched marshmallows, pretzels and mochi.
You can find it in sweet tacos now, too.
Ice cream and chips
Forget Maccas DIY. Your secret guilty pleasure is now a legitimate dessert. At Turkey and The Wolf in New Orleans, soft serve is garnished with crisp potato sticks:
While Los Angeles’ ice cream chain Coolhaus stocks ice cream studded with fries and malt balls.
Over in New York, Oiji riffs on the much-loved Korean snack food with housemade potato crisps warmed through in honey and butter, then dished up with vanilla ice cream. I’ve tried it, and it’s a sweet-salty match made in heaven.
The beloved Japanese summer treat kakigori – shaved ice drizzled in flavoured syrup – and its Korean cousin bingsu have enjoyed a new lease of life in recent years with radical new versions coming out of the motherland, from salted caramel to mango cheesecake and roasted soy powder. Now, the eye-catching mounds of frozen powder – often described as just-formed snowflakes – can be found from Paris to Melbourne to Bangkok, where at the After You Dessert Café, the signature kakigori topped with thick coconut cream bears striking resemblance to Japan’s soaring snow-capped mountains.
Lucky Sydneysiders can get in on the kakigori craze, too, for the month of October. Devon Café Surry Hills has announced they’re transforming into a Kakigori Pop-Up for one month only, shaving up a new flavour each week. They're kicking off with taro, then watermelon-rose-strawberry, then mango lassi and finishing things up with a surprise flavour.
It’s not reached trend status, but as the world’s obsession with OTT ice cream continues, we might be seeing more of gelato sushi yet. A recent Internet outbreak occurred a few months ago, when New York’s Gelarto, a veteran Italian maker, began crafting the lifelike sweet treat. Sightings are now being made all over gelato’s motherland in Italy. Tradition, it seems, doesn’t reign supreme in 2017. The next gen of ice cream roses?
Boozy snow cones/floats
Spiking frozen treats with alcohol is nothing new, but as we emerge from winter’s cold haze, we’ll be seeing more booze on menus again. There are the liquor-forward bar items, including recent cool hits frose and frozecco, then desserts, infused with the flavour and feel of bottle-o favourites: rose-laced ice blocks, gin-doused snow cones, Aperol floats, scotch-spiked milkshakes and more.
Lead image from Instagram @lodytradycyjne69.
In this column, Dessert Date, I scour bakeries, patisseries and dessert joints from around the world for the hottest sweet trends, up-and-coming ingredients and game-changing pastry techniques.