Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

Ben & Jerry’s Takes a Licking to Sydney

Ben_Jerrys

Their website says it all: “Ben and Jerry’s is Coming Down Udder”. Yes those feel-good hippie Yanks from the Green Mountain state of Vermont, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, have announced that they’re coming to Australia and bringing their famous ice-cream concoctions with them. If you haven’t heard of Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey and my favourite – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – get ready for some binges on takeaway pints with cheeky names.

To be honest, when I’ve been in the US, I’ve grown more partial to buying Ben & Jerry’s at the supermarket rather than visiting its ice-cream ‘scoop shops’. And the same will probably stand for Sydney – there are so many great gelaterias, from Pompei’s in Bondi Beach to Darlinghurst’s Gelato Messina, that it will be hard to resist seeking out the house-made stuff. But if I’m picking up a Blue-Ray disc and watching “La Decimma Vittima” at home? (Visually amazing, classic ’60s cult film with Ursula Andress and Marcello Matroianni – a must see.) Well, then, load me up with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough and I’m a happy boy. Burp.

The first scoop shop is arrives in Sydney this month, with takeaway pints and ‘shorties’ mini-pints descending at a Melbourne or Sydney deli near you. Let’s face it, if you need to support a multi-national brand, you’ll be hard-pressed to do better than B&J. They were pros at community outreach before it became a good PR idea for fast food chains and celebrities. Tick the boxes: eggs for the ice-cream have been free range for yonks, they changed their carbon footprint into a neutral one, their Rainforest Crunch sourced nuts from sustainable bits of the Amazon, and they pack their ice-cream in unbleached containers. The list goes on and on.

No, they haven’t slipped me $20 for PR consulting. It’s just that Ben & Jerry’s have been eco-friendly well before it was cool, and have stuck to their environmental and economic ethics for their three decades in business. Forget Woodstock anniversaries – here it’s like the sixties never ended. And if that helps them earn an extra buck or two, good on ’em.

Anyhoo, what got my attention today is that Ben & Jerry’s launched a competition for the best name for their new flavour, a malt ice cream smashed with peanut-butter cookie dough and a peanut swirl. I once wrote cheeky headlines for Ralph, so I couldn’t resist taking a crack: “Bickies for Nutters”. Not sure how that will stack up, especially with another flavour suggestion being “Priscilla Cream of the Dessert”. That’s pretty hard to top.

You might be able to do one better, so if you want to have a go, check it out:

Do Oz a Favour

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Churros ‘n’ Cholocolate ‘n’ Glebe

Churros y Chocolate“You can get your chocolate from the Bald Man, or you can get it from the Hot Man,” says Kelly Smith, the founder of Chocolateria San Churro, as she stares up admirably at her long-haired hunk of a mascot who she obviously thinks stands up well to competing chocolatier Max Brenner’s icon. Indeed, from his menu perch, the long-haired, chin-bearded San Churro does have a pretty face, which Kelly admits may have gotten a bit of embellishment and inspiration from a dancer in a J-Lo video. As you do.

I’m not sure if they sex up churros like this in Spain, but in any case it’s a welcome sight to see a fair dinkum Spanish doughnut in Sydney. Until recently, I could only get questionably fresh churros from Cafe Hernandez (a far cry from their excellent coffee), with the worst part being a stubborn lack of dipping chocolate. Then I finally found the real deal at Newtown’s Madame Fling Flong last month, but it’s an aside to the cocktails and funky grooves, whereas there is a full-scale churro assault going on at San Churro.

Chocolateria San ChurroHere they’re putting serious bucks behind their churros, expanding from their four original outlets in Melbourne to open this initial Sydney outpost in Glebe, with Miranda and a forthcoming Chatswood store hot on the heels. I arrive at the Glebe doors at 7pm-ish for the opening night party, held a mere four weeks after the doors first opened. (Isn’t Glebe such the hot foodie hub at the moment?) The place looks so Northern Hemisphere with its wintery black-painted wood exterior. Inside, the wooden floor is packed with journos, locals, staff and distinguished guests and is soon filled with the frenetic strumming of flamenco guitarist Jorge Campano, joined by the stomping and spinning of two flamenco dancers.

The churros are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside – one fellow food journo finds them a bit too dense, but I’m pleasantly happy – and come with any of three thick-chocolate dippings: milk, white or dark. A peak over the counter unveils the churros being fried up in large oil vat in the corner. There are also plenty of other chocolatey diversions to tempt the hardcore ‘holics: eight types of hot chocolate, an abundance of Spanish truffles for couverture chocolate, milkshakes, ice-cream, sundaes and more.

When the speeches start, we get a bit of a history lesson. Apparently, cocoa was absconded from the Aztecs by Cortes in the 1500s, who then brought the beans back to Spain and delivered them to the king. For about 100 years, chocolate was a tightly held secret by Spanish monks until, wouldn’ja know, San Churro let the choc out of the bag.

Chocolateria San ChurroLittle would San the Hot Man have guessed that half a millennia later, someone would roll his unveiled state secret in a ball, cover it in a textured substance and immerse it in a cauldron of bubbling oil. Which is exactly what the Choclateria San Churro does with its deep-friend chocolate truffles (‘trufas fritas’), and they are the crowing achievement here. The crisp exterior gives way to an oozing, hot, gooey chocolate centre, and it is a masterful way of spoiling one’s appetite before dinner.

As for the churros, they do the trick and should give the Bald Man a run for his money… even if I do miss enjoying mine slouched in a cushy vintage couch at Madame Fling Flong.

San Churro Chocolateria, 47 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe, NSW, (02) 9692 0119.

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