Side Dish

I Scream

Ice cream: It's one of the few foods that appeal from cradle to grave. Smooth, rich, and available in an endless array of flavors, it's apparently especially appealing in Seattle, as each of us on average packs in 50 of those cute little pints each year. When you eat that much of anything, it pays to search out the best—locally made, exquisitely flavored, and, in the case of ice cream, containing the highest butterfat percentage possible. All these dreams come true at Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream (425-771-0944), a family-owned ice creamery hidden deep in the heart of Lynnwood.

The sweetly delicious smells upon entering the nondescript factory bring Augustus Gloop and his infamous ride up Willy Wonka's chocolate pipe to mind; a dip in this 50-gallon lake of cream and vanilla sounds most luxurious. The sweetly delicious owners, Barry and Shahnaz Bettinger (they are, truly, twinkle-eyed elves of ice-cream love), would frown upon that, but they make up for it with utterly heavenly ice cream.

Snoqualmie's lavender flavor fills your head with summer in Provence, while lemon custard strolls across your palate with all the charm of the Charleston waterfront. Sophisticated green tea is mild and pleasant, while the exuberant banana split whoops it up like a Shriners parade. Vanilla is the flavor from which all blessings flow; the vanilla extract here was chosen from among 13 candidates and costs $300 a gallon. It is to standard cookie vanilla what the Macallan 25 is to Bud Light: an entirely different experience. They've created over 700 flavors, and vanilla remains Barry's favorite. It shows. Shahnaz prefers the chocolate, and with good reason. Four different hand-blended Guittard chocolates are added to the base, resulting in a dense flavor that has been accused of being "too chocolate." Like that's even possible.

All these treats are yours for the buying at Larry's Markets and most Thriftways, along with Shy Giant, Wally's, and Pat's on the Ave (and adorable bite-sized desserts like semifreddo and tiramisu are coming soon). Custom flavors have been created for restaurants all over town, including coconut jackfruit at Racha, champagne peach at Ponti, and a remarkable saffron/rosewater/pistachio blend for Kabul. These ambassadors of ice-creamy goodness will even come to your office and put on an ice-cream social in place of that standard Friday-at-5 keg. Each special mix is made in 5-gallon batches, and they happily take requests for custom flavors. With so many possibilities, how will we ever keep it down to just 50 pints a year?

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