Here at SBS Food, we’re fairly partial to chilling with an Anzac biscuit hokey pokey ice-cream sandwich, or cracking a spoon through the crunchy caramel top layer of a serve of matcha custard crème brulee gelato, so we suspect we’re holding up our end of one particularly vital national statistic: the one were the average Australian eats 5.2kg of ice-cream a year.
It’s not hard to see how Australians can lick and spoon our way through the equivalent of a soft-serve every week and then some when you take a look at what’s on offer as we head into the hot days of Aussie summer. From macaron ice-cream sandwiches to Thai roll-ups, and vibrant hues of taro, black sesame and matcha, here’s what you can look forward to eating.
Get on a roll
Inspired by Thai street vendors, watching these super-chilled roll-ups being made is half the fun, as with a few flicks of the wrist, the liquid ice-cream base is poured onto, then scrapped off, a cold plate, creating rolls that are popped in a cup and decorated. They look super cool and what do you know, there’s a trick to eating them that means you have just enough time to take a snap for ‘Gramming.
“Our rolled ice cream can be quite hard at the start because the way it's frozen on the cold plate makes the texture a little more dense than the usual ice cream. The best way to eat it is to give it a couple of minutes to melt so while you wait take aesthetic instagram photos of the ice cream rolls! Once its softer dig in with a spoon and start eating till there's no more!,” says our contact at Sydney’s Cream’d, which is doing a pop-up as part of the Sundaes and Sounds festival, which is on at Sydney's Steam Mill Lane until Saturday. (Check Cream'd's social channels and website for where Cream’d is serving up their regular menu each week, as their locations do change. They are at the festival on Thursday and Friday only).
And if, like us, those little tiny teddy bear biscuits make you want to smile, Adelaide and Melbourne’s Scroll Ice Cream - who were pioneers of the style here in Australia - have you covered, popping them in their Perfect Matcha (Green tea and lychee base, topped with blueberries, lychee, pocky sticks and tiny teddie) and Bananaaa (Banana and nutella base, topped with fresh bananas, wafer sticks and tiny teddies).
The biscuit happiness doesn’t stop there: they’ve also got “Tim Tam Dust” on their Espresso Slam. Scroll’s Maulik Joshi tells us there are three new flavours on the way: look out for Chocolate - Peppermint, Lemon-Cheesecake-Meringue and Cookie Sandwich ice rolls from the first week of December.
And if you don’t live near a roll-up vendor, never fear: you can even give rolled ice-cream a go at home.
Taro and Sesame
Expect to see a lot of the alluring purple of taro – we’ve been spotting it (and that other purple veg, ube) in all kinds of sweet twists, from Textbook Boulangerie-Patisserie’s Taro Milk Tea Croissant to these very pretty hotcakes!
So it’s no surprise it’s getting more love on the ice-cream front, too.
“This year we are seeing more interest as it is used in desserts a lot more and people are willing to give it a try,” our Cream'd contact tells us.
They’re also on board with another flavor that’s been gathering momentum. “We're always experimenting on new flavours so we do have a few new flavours in the pipeline to release during the Christmas period. A sneak peak would be our Black Sesame flavour!”
And if you want to see just how pretty black sesame can be, just take a look at the black sesame french toast with black sesame ice-cream AND black sesame sauce at Sydney’s Qube on Bay.
Matcha is another flavour that makes for interesting and eye-catching icecream and soft serve – you can ring the changes on that theme at Sydney’s Oh Matcha, where they create matcha, matcha latte, genmaicha and hojicha soft serves and floats – and black sesame, too.
And if you can think of something you'd like to see in a soft serve, keep an eye on Aqua S, who seem willing to give pretty much anything a go in their sea salt soft serve - the offering changes constantly but past flavours have included tofu to popcorn and yep, matcha and taro.
A soft take on taiyaki
Serve these adorable fish-shaped filled waffles (which come with filling flavours including pandan custard and coconut mocha) alongside a swirl of matcha ice-cream, a matcha Kit Kat and house-made red bean paste, and you’ve got one of Sydney Japanese dessert store Otsu’s summer special “tai softs”.
Jocelyn Hing, who co-owns Otsu with her father, Stephen Hing, tells us the popular business will be launching three special flavours in December, with Chocolate and Rainbow, as well as the matcha cup, joining the regulars on the menu; those include the fun cornflakes cup, which features a custard taiyaki and honey drizzle alongside the soft serve and crunchy flakes.
The macaron ice-cream sandwich
We’ve been a fan of the macaron-ice-cream combo since spotting the Golden Gaytime macaron Ice-cream sandwich created by Zumbo Patisseries a few years back – but surely the cutest version around right now are these little critters from d21 in Sydney.
And all the other ice-cream sandwiches…
You can indulge your love for layers in all kinds of ways with the ice-cream sandwich, from the watermelon wedge filled with creamy soft serve at South Korean desserts café Milkcow in Melbourne to the matcha waffle sandwich with melted marshmallows and green tea gelato that Japanese izakaya/craft beer and whisky bar Bang Bang is serving up at the Sundaes and Sounds festival.
“Matcha is one of those staple Japanese ingredients that has taken the world by storm over the last few years, which is a great thing to see happen! We wanted to use this beautiful ingredient in a fun way – the Bang Bang way,” Bang Bang's David Kim tells us.
And while this number isn’t on the menu now, it just might be soon: “We can’t reveal too much just yet but, if the desserts prove to be popular over the weekend, they may stick around!”
Waffle ice-cream sandwiches - or just ice-cream with waffles - are an enduring combination, so expect to see variations on both on a lot of summer brunch menus.
The doughnut ice-cream sandwich isn’t going anywhere either – faves include the create-you-own combo at Melbourne doughnut emporium Bistro Morgan, where you pick any of their doughnuts (the regularly changing doughnut menu takes inspiration from everything from the classic Iced Vovo biscuit to fairy bread!) and ice-creams.
And next time the SBS Food team is in Perth we know what we’ll be heading for: the hugely popular baklawa icecream sandwich at The Hummus Club, which features strawberry choc chip ice-cream sandwiched between two layers of sticky, nutty pastry.
Of course, you can indulge your ice-cream sandwich desires at home too! Check out SBS Food’s recipes for double-chocolate and dirty mint chip ice-cream sandwiches, pumpkin ice-cream choc chip cookie sandwiches, passionfruit pavlova ice-cream sandwiches or these gingerbread cookie dough ice-cream sandwiches with praline.
Turn the world upside down
And finally, we can’t talk ice-cream without a look at the upside down cone, coming to a pancake near you…
Want more ice-cream inspiration? Join Michael Chernow as he hunts down the food that’s creating a buzz in social media to see what makes it so very good. His show Food Porn kicks off on SBS Food weeknights at 9.30pm from December 3 (and then on SBS On Demand) – and the first episode is all about ice-cream, as he checks out over-the-top shakes, a creamery using old-school techniques to create flavours like cream cheese vanilla bean ice-cream infused with homemade buttercake, and more. He returns to another ice-cream favourite, Thai-style rolls, in a Sweet Sensations episode on January 2.
Find more than 140 recipes in SBS Food's ice-cream recipe collection.
This ice-cream really is a kind of magic. Frozen fruit and coconut milk is processed until it whips up into a light, fluffy dessert. It is best eaten straight away, but can be frozen once made.
Inspired by the flavours of a traditional Japanese afternoon tea, this beautiful matcha sorbet sits between two delicate ginger wafers. What a great way to take tea, especially in the warmer months of the year.
A black coffee and a doughnut is a real classic in police circles but actually not that practical, as you could spill the hot coffee all over your lap during car chases. A better alternative is to make the whole thing into an ice-cream sandwich. Then you can enjoy your snack and keep one hand free for chasing bad guys.