[I apologise now for this rather verbose post, but when it comes to ice cream I just cannot be concise]
When one is presented with the opportunity to witness ice cream being made by one of the city’s leading artisans, one should not retreat into reticence but rather do everything in their power to get themselves to that class. Be it feigning illness to get out work commitments or even selling the proverbial kidney, do whatever needs to be done to get to there, especially when one claims to love ice cream almost as much as breathing itself.
Boy do I love ice cream.
Okay, perhaps my passion for ice cream really does not extend so far as to support those outlandish claims, but I cannot ignore the fact that I love ice cream. Even as a child I have vivid memories of how slowly and meticulously I would eat a scoop of ice cream, scooping, scraping and licking in a methodical and almost Zen-like fashion. So whatever it is I love about ice cream, it began at an early age and I am forever ruined for it. Nothing else can compare to a creamy scoop of velvety ice cream, or gelato, or sorbet or semi freddo. Anything frozen and scoop-able is encompassed in this affection.
So where does this lovesick introduction lead us? To the Serendipity “hands on” class being run during Good Food Month, that’s where!
Running the hands on class was Sarah Mandelson, who along with her husband is the owner at the helm of Serendipity. I was delighted to see that she was nowhere near the size of a house and thus proved to me that ice cream does not cause you to, let’s just say, “chubbify”.
A little bit of history. The company was started by Sarah’s mother Alix, who as an American living in Australia pined for the “wacky” American ice cream flavours that seemed to be absent in Australia. Apparently the only unconventional flavour Australia boasted back then was the humble Neapolitan, and unfortunately her mother was allergic to chocolate which left for an uninspired combination of strawberry and vanilla. So what this meant was that an alternative had to be birthed, and so came Serendipity.
Sarah’s teaching style is light-hearted and humorous, and her approach to making ice cream is simple and straightforward. She is not one for convoluted techniques and asserts that those long-winded steps are just being “too precious”. What she lacks in convolutions she makes up for creativity, and urges us that the flavour of ice cream is only limited by our imagination. For instance, she tells us of a Laksa ice cream her and her husband concocted for a recent festival in Chinatown. Probably one of the few ice creams to ever contain seafood products! I don't know if I would have fancied this flavour, but this is what she coins as, “intellectual ice cream”- ice cream that will make you think, but will not make you go for another scoop; as opposed to “emotional ice cream”- the kind that you always want more of despite better judgment (and your hips) telling you no.
The class cost me $40 for 1½ hours but to be honest, I felt like I got a lot for my money. When I left the Marickville factory, I came away with a handful of great ice cream recipes, a wealth of knowledge in making homemade ice cream from scratch, a truly enjoyable time, and a 1-litre tub of freshly made Wattleseed and Grand Marnier Ice Cream packed with my very own reserve of dry ice to keep my ice cream frozen throughout the trip home. All bases were covered and really, what more could you ask for?
Part II: an ice cream class pictorial
See more hands on experiences during Good Food Month at Rebecca Cucina.