It is December and everyone makes up a list of the year's best movies, or types out a year-in-review thumbsucker about one thing or another. We were asked by Adrian Cole of www.flavor-online.com to think about the consequential ice cream events of 2010. It was an interesting exercise.
Happy to do so.
Salt is becoming common. This moved from high-end chocolate makers like Pierre Hermé of Paris to pastry people at high-end restaurants and is now common in independent ice cream stores. Everyone loves salt. In moderation, we hope. Pepper is also worth mentioning, including white pepper with fruit sorbets, red pepper flakes for heat, and pink peppercorns for ... frisson? A tingle. Pink peppercorns as I understand it are not really peppers, and I first encountered them at Sofra Cafe in western Cambridge. Customers often want something familiar but a little different, and all these spices enable people to have just that. We have made wonderful smoked salty chocolate, salty caramel, and strawberry pink peppercorn sorbet.
South Asian flavors are increasingly popular as Indians and Indians foods disperse throughout the country. Cardamom is wonderful and accessible, and while I once predicted that Americans would never like saffron for desserts, this year we have had success with several saffron flavors.
Mexican palleta (basically popsicle) flavors are also to be found in many places and they affect sorbets and fruit ice creams. People's Pops in NYC and Locopops from North Carolina did well with this idea.