Those who know me, know that the kitchen is where I love to get creative and play and I love investing in toys for my playroom, the most recent one being an ice-cream maker. A frivolity perhaps but not a purchase I considered unnecessary, particularly after spending time creating ice cold confections with my daughters. Seeing the joy the experienced in selecting and combining ingredients and then impatiently waiting to taste the final result was yet another beautiful moment that will be forever frozen in my heart and mind, much like many others that have involved ice-cream.
I remember watching my twin daughters enjoying their very first ice-cream sandwiches several years ago. Excitedly they held the chocolaty cookie in their hands, a little unsure at first. They pondered how to go about enjoying this new taste sensation. Their confusion and bewilderment however, quickly turned into sheer bliss as they bit into the soft cookie exterior, revealing a cool and creamy vanilla interior. They savored every messy little bite licking their tiny fingers once done. It became an instant favorite; and this moment became one of the everlasting ones, where cold confections have played a part.
Like many children, I recall shrieking with delight hearing that familiar tune of the ice-cream truck making its way down the street; or riding my bike to the corner store for a 25 cent jumbo Freezie or Lola. On the home front, I can remember cooling off on many a hot summer’s day, with one of my mom’s homemade popsicles, or granita al caffe as I got older. I remember sharing funnel cakes with friends at the local theme park, piled high with soft serve and strawberry sauce; and to this day I still have to have a waffle ice-cream sandwich a the Canadian National Exhibition.
In times of stress or sadness a carton and a large spoon have been comfort, a frozen chocolate mousse has capped off a romantic dinner for two, a lemon sorbet has cleansed the pallet between courses at an elaborate meal, a frozen yogurt the go-to indulgence when watching my waistline and of course the cool treat has also been part of many a celebration, whether it’s a slice of apple pie a la mode at Thanksgiving or an ice-cream cake on my birthday.
The frosty favorite also finds its way into the chapters of my travel logs. Luscious and sweet coconut and pineapple ice-cream while honeymooning in Hawaii; my first taste of Ben & Jerry’s at the Pier in San Francisco; decadent chocolate made from the cocoa beans grown locally in the Dominican Republic; delicate vanilla bean crème glacee filling a luscious éclair while dining atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and the truly Canadian Moose Tracks (vanilla ice-cream with chocolate peanut butter cups swirled with fudge) while cottaging at home. But the most memorable would have to be the countless gelatos that I have relished over the years on numerous trips to Italy.
The pre-packaged gelato biscotto (ice-cream cookie) or coppetta del nonno (coffee flavored ice-cream packaged in a plastic espresso cup) which were always stocked in my aunt’s neighborhood shop; or the lemon and mint granite (Italian crystalline frozen dessert, similar to a slushee) that acted as refreshers after soaking up the sun on the Calabrian beach, making my way down the Spanish Steps in Rome or taking in the history at the base of Mt. Vesuvius in Pompeii. The cassata (Sicilian ice-cream cake) and tartufo di liquorizia that concluded a wonderful dinner with friends or the numerous cones enjoyed while imagining the horse races at the Palio in Siena; gliding along the canals of Venice; taking a romantic moonlit stroll in Sorrento; appreciating fine art in Florence; or shopping in the fashion district of Milan. From time-to-time, I have even enjoyed gelato for breakfast, sandwiched between a fresh brioche or affogato (drowned) in espresso at the local bar.
No matter the country, time of day or even season, if there is ice-cream to be had, I will make a point of enjoying it with enthusiasm and delight while creating memories that will forever be frozen in time. Buon Appetito!