A lighter approach to olive oil ice cream


29 Feb A lighter approach to olive oil ice cream

This isn’t the best ice cream photo in the world, but it was perhaps the best ice cream experience I’ve had in a long, long time. And to think, I was prepared to dislike it.

Despite my recent revelations regarding misguided food biases, I still haven’t fully learned to open my mind when I open my mouth to taste. And for the past few years I’ve carried a grudge against olive oil ice cream — the one time “it dish” of the culinary world. Recipe variations clogged the internet. Food writers crafted sonnets about it. Trend spotters trampolined the dish at the top of their Hot Lists. For a while olive oil ice cream was the salted caramel/chocolate bacon/sweet potato fries of frozen desserts. It was embraced by everyone but me.

I had tried it at the celebrity restaurant that started the whole craze, and within 10 seconds regretted my $7/bowl purchase. While the initial flavour was pleasing, it left my mouth coated with oil and the lingering aftertaste was of … well… olive oil.

So, as Pimenton’s paella class wound down and Chef José Arato delivered bowls of homemade vanilla ice cream drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, I figured I’d take a spoonful and politely claim to be too full to finish.

If I’d been alone, I’d have licked the bowl.

This dish silenced the room. Moments before, the room had buzzed with the chatter of a dozen food bloggers exchanging business cards, photo tips and twitter handles. When the ice cream arrived all you could hear was metal spoons scraping porcelain. Was the ice cream better than the paella? No. But it was unexpected. And it was far superior to the celebrity-chef version I’d had.

Chef José will tell you it’s not his recipe, it’s the olive oil. He used Dauro. I say it’s also his execution. A little oil drizzled over French vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with a tiny bit of finishing salt was a perfectly balanced dish. A bowl of oil-infused ice cream was overkill. For me.

Another diet blown. Another lesson learned. All this palate expansion is going to filter down to my waist.

Ever tried olive oil ice cream? What did you think of it? As for ice cream — what do you drizzle on your French vanilla? Aged balsamic vinegar? Or do you stick to chocolate sauce?



No Comments
  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 20:38h, 29 February Reply

    I’m game to try this idea. Is it something you can make with your wonderful Mexican vanilla and ice creamer maker?? I would eat it and lick the bowl.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:41h, 01 March Reply

      Oh, the Mexican vanilla? I forgot about that. Do you think it would play well with Spanish olive oil? There’s only one way to find out.

  • Dolores Smith
    Posted at 07:58h, 01 March Reply

    Just got back from an international event in Southern Spain on cooking techniques with olive oil offering demonstrations by some of the top chefs in Spain, which I also attended last year.

    What I have learned from these events is that it is important to pair the flavour profile and quality of the extra virgin olive oil with the particular dish. Perhaps, if other experiences with olive oil ice cream have been experienced as oily or heavy it would probably be the quality of the oil and perhaps also flavour profile. Ice cream is a delicate experience and we should use a very fine, well-made extra virgin olive oil when drizzling.

    Just like in the world of wines, all extra virgin olive oil is not the same in flavour, equiplibrium or balance, texture, etc. Dauro has extraordinarily low peroxides (indicators of oxidation during elaboration) and broken down fat molecues (acidity) due to top quality olives pressed within one hour of harvest, using leading-edge machinary and master miller know-how.

    Therefore, it is experienced from a sensory perspective as both silky and persistently flavourful, yet light in the mouth, with flavour notes that people describe as a garden in a mouthful, with delicate touches of citrus and almond.

    Readers might be interested in reading about the event in Spain on http://www.farfromordinary.com

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:47h, 01 March Reply

      Thanks for the information. I knew that different olive oils had different flavour profiles and uses, but I didn’t know Dauro’s profile. Love the description. It now makes sense as to why it worked with the ice cream.

      But you’d think the oil’s qualities would have been taken into consideration when the celebrity restaurant made their olive oil ice cream. The oil they used coated my mouth so badly it ruined the experience. Can’t figure out why it was the toast of the town for so long.

      Anyway, thanks for the information and link!

      • Dolores Smith
        Posted at 13:51h, 01 March Reply

        Do not want to sound pretentious, but in my opinion not too many chefs have a varied understanding of different varietals, or experience with them, knowledge of more in-depth quality indicators, etc.

        Plus the culinary schools provide very limited training on olive oil, prefering to present it as a hidden medium rather than a culinary condiment to shine and help good-quality ingredients shine as well – just like a symphony where you can either choose to focus on individual instruments or listen to the overall combination.

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 14:12h, 01 March Reply

          You don’t sound pretentious. There is no way anyone can learn everything about food. I always learn something from readers who take the time to comment.

          Plus there are so many olive oils on the market it’s impossible to know them all. Thanks for insight and link!

  • Dolores Smith
    Posted at 08:21h, 01 March Reply

    Sorry…wrong URL re the event. The http://www.farfromordinary.ca is more general travellog re Spain.

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