Saturday, October 28, 2006

Serendipity Ice Cream Class: Part I


[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
Serendipityhands 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.

Serendipity's Wattleseed Grand Marnier Ice Cream

The underlying mantra for Serendipity is to use all natural ingredients and to use the best, which means no skimping on the cream and to always use the freshest eggs. This I cannot agree with more and after tasting a scoop of Sarah’s ice cream, you will notice how lacking the conventional store-bought ice creams really are. She claims that for the money you would pay for a seemingly “premium” ice cream from the supermarket, there is probably more air churned into the mixture than ice cream itself. Serendipity can pride themselves on making “super premium” ice cream which refers to the fat content (at least 14%) in their ice cream. I know what you’re thinking, whoa mama that's a lot of fat! Although this may seem like a lot, one scoop of her rich and creamy ice cream is more than enough to satisfy. Her ice cream wasn’t designed to be eaten in bulk; it’s more of a luxury item than a cheap thrill.

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.

All gone

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.

Serendipity Ice Cream Shop Front
333 Enmore Rd
Marickville NSW 2204
Phone: (02) 9557 8986


Anonymous said...

Yum! I'm a big fan of ice-cream too (although sometimes all I want is a chocolate Paddle Pop) - can't wait til I'm able to afford to get my very own proper ice-cream machine so that I can make it at home. I was recently at the Fat Duck and tasted Bacon & Egg Ice-cream as well as a fish sorbet. As for other weird ice-creams, I think it's mostly the Japanese who have the monopoly! (

Vintage Wine said...

I love ice cream to, so this is my kind of subject ;-)

It sounds like great fun! And the ice cream sounds & looks delicious! Yummy :-)

*fanny* said...

That sounds like a great experience and the pictures are stunning.
By the way, i love what you call your 'verbose post'!!!


Vic Cherikoff said...

Wow! I must be doing things right and finally, after 25 years of hard labour in bringing authentic Australian ingredients to market and inventing flavours like Wattleseed, you write about ice cream with the throw-away line "(I left with) a 1-litre tub of ... Wattleseed and Grand Marnier ice cream".

No explanation, no comment as to the history, commitment or love which spawned the flavour, no assessment of enjoyment. Just a plain comment which held the product as a trophy and one which presumes familiarity - everyone knows what Wattleseed ice cream is all about - and begs no clarification.

Thanks jenjen. Your off-handedness tells me I am nearly there and your blog visitors either know what Wattleseed is all about; should know; or can easily Google to learn.

For those who don't know or aren't sure, I developed this flavour by accident and tell all here. I hope you are moved to get some and make your own ice cream joining thousands of others who have discovered this unique taste of Australia. And not just at home. Vosges Chocolates and Ice Creamery in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas are making ever-increasing volumes of Wattleseed ice cream and getting rave reviews too.

Now I just need to find a mainstream company open to the next best flavours for ice cream and I'll also get them to taste my Fruit spice, Forest Peppermint and Rainforest Lemon myrtle variants.

Can I interest you in a taste, jenjen?

geneve said...

Sounds like such a fun class! I'd never heard of wattleseed before - interesting. I love to find places that get really creative with flavorings - an interesting one that I'd happened upon in Martha's Vineyard, MA is lobster ice cream - sounds strange but it was good.

lobstersquad said...

I´d never heard about wattle seed in my life, but just a few days ago I received some from an Australian bogger. I can´t wait to try it. I don´t have an ice cream maker, but do you think it would be good in custard?

wheresmymind said...

I'm a big fan o' Ice Cream as well...however my wife has to totally be in the mood for it in order for me to convince her to go get one :Z

Jen said...

Y- An ice cream machine is on my Christmas wish list, so I will hopefully have one for thins summer.

How lucky that you got to taste that famous bacon and egg ice cream. How did it taste?

Vintage Wine- Me too, I'm glad I have found someone who is just as passionate about ice cream as I am!

Fanny- He he he, thanks. I hate babbling on so much and try not to do it most times. But this one I just couldn't help myself.

Vic- In part two I do provide a link to the wikipedia entry on Wattleseed. I didn't feel that I had enough knowledge to explain Wattleseed for myself as that I am only discovering more about it slowly. It is definitely a great Australian product and more people should know about it. Thanks.

Geneve- Wow, I don't know if I would enjoy lobster ice cream, but I would definitely try it just once.

Lobstersquad- Trust me you will love Wattleseed! And you can definitely put it in custard, its a very versatile flavour.

Wheresmymind- YAY another ice cream fanatic! G isn't much of an ice cream afficionado too, so I know how you feel. I guess the upside of your wife not loving ice cream as much as you is that you get to have more to yourself.

Anonymous said...

mmmm! i love ice cream. i could eat just that for dinner. maybe it's beat i dont get a machine for now, i do want one so bad though. yours looks deelish!!!