Echo Eats: Offering you the Inside Scoop

Cone, Scoop, Dip, Sprinkles, Toppings, Sundae, Floats, Splits, and the list could go on and on. Shoot the breeze with frozen fantasies! 1, 2, 3, in one breath, Ice Cream! Ladies and Gentleman, it’s time for the real talk. ‘Had a bad day? Have a bowl of ice cream. Had a good day? Celebrate with a bowl of ice cream.’, wise words indeed from John Harrison, Dreyer’s official ice cream taste tester. A man whose tongue is so sensitive, it’s been insured for millions of dollars. Returning to the matter at hand, ice cream being the star of frozen desserts is no doubt irresistible for its enchanting sugary and creamy concoction. No need for self-blame. Ice cream is perfectly engineered, so much so it is indistinguishable from magic.  

History 101: Ice Cream Revolution

The first scoop of ice cream is over 2500 years old. In the freezer fictive era, frozen treats were made with snow and ice. Yes, from the ground. Dating back to 323 to 356 BC, rumour has it that Alexander the Great loved to pour honey and nectar on his snow. During the Roman Empire, AD 54 to 86, Nero Claudius Caesar used to send runners into the mountains for snow; then, flavouring it with fruits and juices. However, the Emperors of the Tang Dynasty are believed to be the first people to eat a frozen milk like confection. 

Eventually, people learned that the combination of salt and ice could freeze items. People in the Middle East began making frozen drinks with sugar, rosewater, lemon juice and flowers, which were served over ice on large gold bowls. Oooo fancy! The recipe made its way to Italy and Sorbet was born. One fine day, a genius added milk to the mix and Voila ‘cream ice’ came to life. At the beginning, as Gollum cried “Precious, precious, precious”, only the wealthy had the privilege of tasting ice cream.

Marking 1660, ice cream was enfranchised and people went crazy with the flavours. Surprise, surprise, the very first ice cream flavours were asparagus, grated cheese and bread crumbs. How’s that processing? In due course, technological advancement made ice cream more accessible.

Wow Fact: George Washington spent $200 on ice cream in one summer. Relatable?

Of course, the evolution of ice cream failed to fall silent as various cultures began customising recipes to suit their taste buds. Sundae for the Americans, Gelato for the Italians, and Kulfi for the Indians. All these variations have their own twist and are unique; certainly, with the textbook definition of ice cream. Crisp cold, saccharine sweet and crushed creamy. 

Laboratory, Subject: Ice Cream 

The science of ice cream matters a lot. The aim of the experiment is to find the perfect texture that presents the most sensual appeal of an ice cream. The hypothesis is that the texture should complement firmness on the spoon while velvety within the mouth as it melts. Let that simmer for a while. Hence, the trick to high-quality ice cream is understanding how to achieve this delectable contrast. Do not fret, the procedure takes place in three simple steps: mixing, freezing and hardening.

Mixing incorporates the making of the base that comprises milk, cream and sugar. To begin, heat the milk, cream, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. The hot blend is whisked further into egg yolks for a lavish custard fondness; then returned to the heat to thicken the egg proteins and destroy any bacteria. A quick strain will ensure that the mixture is silky smooth. After the mixture has cooled, flavourings are added. 

Freezing thereafter takes place in an ice cream machine. The size of the ice crystals that form during freezing determines the creaminess of the ice cream; the smaller the crystals, the creamier the taste. Ergo, the liquid freezes in the machine’s churn (a tub with chilled walls with a mixing blade) until it’s as smooth as gently whipped cream. Rapid chilling in the machine’s churn encourages minuscule crystals to form, while ceaseless churning swings the crystals to avoid clumps that would disrupt the creamy mouthfeel. 

Hardening finally must be only done after the freezing process, because the mixture must remain delicate for the mixing blade to move. Liquid nitrogen, salt or dry ice is used to draw heat out of the mixture as about a third of the water in the mixture is still not frozen at the current consistency. When the hardening process is complete, the ice cream is firm enough for a resolute presentation. 

Ice cream should be transported as cold as possible from the factory to the doorstep. The accidental brief melting, then refreezing will cause huge ice crystals that give a rough texture and leave a funny after taste. Simply press a sheet of plastic wrap onto the top of the ice cream tub to prevent ice crystals and rogue flavours after it has been opened. Be certain to consume ice cream within a month of production to maintain optimum taste and texture. 

Wow Fact: There is an annual Ice Cream Technology Conference. This conference is the only premier event that provides the opportunity for frozen dessert and ice cream professionals to focus and discuss innovations in frozen dessert research, technology and new market trends. Ice Cream Tech greatness!

Let the Hunger Games begin: Ice Cream War!

What is ice cream without its flavours? Flavour is everything when it comes to ice cream. As the adage goes, “we all scream for ice cream”, every one of us sure has a pick on desired flavours. However, all-time favourites are evergreen with ice cream. According to WatchMojo.com, a trusted authority in top 10 records,  the 10 most popular ice cream flavours of all time are listed as follows. 

10. Neapolitan Nirvana. This ice cream is customarily known for its three flavours of Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry, and is also known as the Harlequin ice cream. Why Neapolitan though? General Knowledge time! “Neapolitan” refers to the natives of Naples, Italy, the original cordon bleu of this captivating flavour. The primitive flavours of Neapolitan ice cream were vanilla, strawberry and pistachio that was an ode to the flag of Italy and was called Spumoni. Ultimately, the flavours were altered by the Americans to suit the most famously cherished flavours around the world. Discernment kicking in? 

9. Pistachio Prodigy. Although neglected by the union, this flavour is solo thriving. At the outset, the flavour was essentially developed for the Spumoni. Nevertheless, savoury nuttiness is not for negotiation. This flavour relishes with a faint minty, musky, and spicy nuance. It’s young, piney, balmy, and adhesive. Merely brilliant. 

Pistachio Prodigy

8. Moose Tracks Marvel. This flavour is an indulgence of eminent Moose Tracks fudge, Vanilla ice cream, and melt-in peanut butter cups. Curb the drool, bear the entire history. Moose Track fudge is chocolate, covered and topped with everything from crushed Oreos to salty pretzels. The fudge resembles pellets of poop from a large animal, and the rest is self-explanatory. Dubbed moose droppings may be the illustration but does that even matter? Among iterations from mint, brownies and salted caramel, Moose Tracks ice cream surmounted to create joy with every scoop. As long as it has the tang.

7. Coffee Comfy. For most people, their favourite morning brew of roasted coffee beans is the perfect energy boost. Contrary to traditional coffee, Coffee ice cream does not contain a sizable amount of caffeine. Keeping it sweet and simple, Coffee ice cream is just an imitation of the most widely consumed beverage worldwide. Not to neglect the fact that this flavour may interest even those who don’t wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. Only that as an attribute, all coffee lovers or cafephiles will be overjoyed at the prospect. 

Coffee Comfy

6. Strawberry Sensation. Strawberry ice cream has been around since at least 1813, when it was served at James Madison’s, the fourth president of the United States’ second inauguration. Fresh or wild strawberries have a different flavour from the ones in Strawberry ice cream. The concept of this ice cream flavour has arguably nullified the distinct spice clove eccentricity of fresh strawberries. Anyhow, folks are more than happy with their version of Strawberry ice cream no matter the authenticity, reflecting ice cream’s carefree temperament. 

Wow Fact: When World War II ended, America celebrated its victory by consuming over 19kg of ice cream per person. Ice cream became an edible emblem. PS: That is equivalent to 40 standard tubs of ice cream.

5. Mint Chocolate Chip Magnificence. It’s sweet, it’s refreshing. It’s everything ice cream should be. In honor of Princess Anne’s and Captain Mark Phillips’s wedding, a challenge was issued for chefs to compete in the creation of delicious ice cream desserts, and the silver cup went to a culinary student, Marilyn Ricketts for the flavor she called “Mint Royale”. Isn’t it incredible how basic peppermint or spearmint easily tips-off with a cooling sensation?; peppered with crunchy, cocoa chocolate chips for the bitter astringent. Utterly spectacular. 

4. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Deluxe. Unbaked chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough are embedded in Vanilla ice cream in this iconic ice cream flavour. Be honest, chocolate chip cookie dough is worth the steal even before it crisps in the oven. It is a classic dearie that patrons keep dismissing just because it’s crude. The idea of missing out on this flavour is reprehensible. Wake up now and devour. 

3. Cookies N’ Cream Crunch. In most cases, crumbled chocolate sandwich cookies, Oreos are mixed with Vanilla ice cream to create this exceptional flavour. Cookies alone rule with their rough, crunchy and chewy texture. Summing up ice cream to cookies is a pure genius synergy. It is an offense for this ice cream flavour to succumb to attestation.

2. Chocolate Conceit. Note that chocolate was one of the first ice cream flavors to have been created before Vanilla ice cream. This ever conventional flavour has been added to almost every bit of desserts and beverages ever existed. Believe it or not, its scientific name, “Theobroma cacao,” means “food of the gods,” and chocolate is divine. Chocolate ice cream is soothing, homely and just like every other chocolate flavouring, it represents decent bliss. 

1. Vanilla Vehement. The fact that “Vanilla ice cream” has been declared several times already shows how significant this flavour is in comparison to others. Vanilla ice cream is the foundation of other ice cream flavours. It’s straightforward and plain, yet its innocence makes it the star of ice cream flavours. According to neurologist Alan Hirsch, despite Vanilla ice cream being the simplest of ice cream flavours, its fans are likely to be vibrant, impulsive, idealistic risk-takers who “bank more on instincts than logic”.  Vehement to be exact is to be passionate or intensely forceful but with a great feeling. Vanilla ice cream is all that it seems, but also, all that is unforeseen. 

Wow Fact: Brain freeze is caused by rapid temperature changes in the mouth. When frosty ice cream is detected, the roof of the mouth constricts to reduce blood flow and heat loss. When ice cream is swallowed, the blood vessels quickly rewarm and dilate, increasing blood flow. Lesson learned!

VOGUE: Contemporary Trends in Ice Cream 

Any cuisine that is widely adored will almost always lead to the creation of fresh and exclusive recipes. Euphoric ice cream craze isn’t going to fade anywhere, anytime soon. Well, no one’s complaining. This list of ice cream trends can seem mundane, but prepare to be astounded by how rapidly these trends are evolving. Ice cream has definitely come a long way. 

  1. Vegan Options

There would certainly be no desire for dairy in this inventive innovation. In recent years, veganism is becoming more mainstream and a plethora of vegan items have emerged in stores. Almost any dairy product or animal-based flavour in ice cream may be substituted because of this benefit. Coconut, almond, or cashew milk, cacao butter (extracted from cocoa beans), applesauce (instead of eggs), and vanilla bean paste are some vegan alternatives to traditional ice cream products. Similarly when it comes to savour, a variety of plant-based flavorings are widely available today. 

The question is, in contrast to dairy-based ice creams, how much of an effect do vegan ice cream alternatives have? Vegan ice creams often contain less calories and fat than their dairy counterparts. This is highly beneficial for weight-consciousness or cardiac health as these vegan options won’t make much of a difference in the daily calorie consumption. If the taste is what matters, despair not. Coconut milk is sufficient to provide a smooth texture with a touch of natural sweetness that pairs well with ice cream. Sooner or later, vegan ice cream may be a great alternative as there’s also the issue of ethics, wellness, and the climate to consider.

  1. Tribal Ice Cream Flavour Varieties

With Covid-19 still preventing people from travelling, most global cuisines are experiencing a transformation. Particularly, a blemish with local flavours. Zen in frozen novelties entails more than an abundance of creative flavours. Thereby, here are some rare regional ice cream flavours from across the globe. 

  •  Ghost Pepper Ice Cream (USA)
  • Horse Flesh Ice Cream (Tokyo)
  • Nasi Lemak Ice Cream (Malaysia)
  • Goat Cheese Ice Cream (Colorado)
  • Fig and Fresh Brown Turkey Ice Cream (NYC)
  • Garlic Ice Cream (San Francisco)
  • Mango Chilli Ice Cream (Mexico)

Cower at some? These flavours do exist, and are mind-blowing. Nice, now the mind is wondering.

  1. Diverse Indulgences

Indulgent ice creams are the ones that make the eater feel guilty if consumed regularly. High-fat and sugar content, saturated condensed milk and all the active unhealthy additions are part of the indulgent package. After all, ice cream is supposed to be a treat, so adding layers, textures, toppings, and fillings is a welcome addition! In reality, just as many people actively ignore healthier versions because they are “meant to be treats”. When was the last time ice cream went out of sale? Indulge without guilt. 

  1. Health Halo : Functional Additives

The world of healthy living is in flux. Noelle Perillo, a manager of Nestle Inc, says that “today’s consumers want formulations that fit their lifestyles and eating habits too”. These formulations include functional additives such as bulking agents, natural sweeteners, probiotics, hydrocolloid stabilizers (contain dietary fibers) and cannabidiol (bear neuroprotective properties). In view of the forgoing, identifying, selecting, and using any functional additive in any context is arduous. 

Even health-conscious ice cream brands such as Halo Top, NadaMoo, and Julie’s Organic Ice Cream go to great lengths to serve the best. Caution is necessary in these selections. In spite of the fact that wellness was not previously associated with ice cream, it is here and now. 

Wow Fact: Waffle Cone Ice Cream was invented by accident. In 1904, an ice cream vendor ran out of cones. Desperate, he went to a local waffle vendor in search of a solution. They came up with the concept of shaping waffles into cones and the Waffle Cone was born.

Final Destination: Top 5 Ice Cream Parlours

Looking for a new place to get your next scoop of creamy goodness? This is a roundup of some of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya’s finest ice cream stores in no particular order.

  1. Kind Kones

Kind Kones is Southeast Asia’s first all-vegan ice cream parlour. The outlet delivers without sacrificing zest when it comes to concocting an ice confectionery worthy of nature’s approval. As the name suggests, Kind Kones is considerate to various consumers’ nutritional preferences by serving distinct categories of frozen desserts. Those are Dairy and Egg Free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free Options, Preservative Free and Additive Free categories. With over 40 unique flavours to choose from, be excited to try a dozen different ones. Their philosophy-“Taste the pleasure, not the guilt” with every bite. 

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  1. Inside Scoop

This ice cream shop needs no introduction as it has proven to be a hit among local ice cream fans. Inside Scoop serves a delectable range of ice creams not usually found elsewhere. D24 (Durian), Teh Tarik, Cempedak, Milo, Horlicks, and Kopi Peng are among the palette. Get ready for these flavours to tempt taste buds. On the other hand, many adore their ice cream cakes, especially the cult classics like the Rocher and Bombe Alaska. Something to think of instead of the traditional birthday cake. There’s also an ice cream mooncake collection to choose from. 

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  1. Softsrve Ice Cream and Dessert Bar

This ice cream parlor is well-known for its soft serve exposition. Every ice cream cup would be accompanied by a larger base cup that would conceal the dry ice used to produce the foggy cloud. Instagrammable! You can also spice up your ice cream experience with rare toppings suchlike Garrett popcorn, New Zealand honeycomb, cotton candy, and potato chips. All the creations are hand-crafted specially for customers. 

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  1. Whimsical – Artisanal Gelato and Caffe

It’s time to turn that frown upside down for a pleasurable escape into Whimsical Gelateria’s psychedelic realm. The famous ice cream store serves artisan gelato and coffee. They’re probably one of the few gelato shops that serve alcoholic concoctions, which is cool. There are also savoury flavours, such as Nasi Lemak gelato, to give your taste buds an extra blow. Buckle up for a mouth-watering gelato experience at this whimsical ice cream joint.

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  1. Crèmè De La Crèmè

A fan of richly flavoured, handcrafted ice cream made from scratch using natural ingredients? That too presenting them in a way that is Instagram-worthy? Crèmè De La Crèmè adds its own twist to some of the best ice desserts in town. Dragon Rose, Limau Assam, Pandan Kaya Toast, Beauty Elixir, and French Earl Grey are among the flavours available. It’s a feast for not only the taste buds but for the eyes too. 

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Wow Fact: Kanazawa ice-cream pops are a form of ice cream that can remain frozen for an hour at room temperature. The method for manufacturing them was discovered by chance, but they are now sold in Japan.

Ice Cream is among the soul-stirring desserts loved by all. This charmingly devouring creation is truly indistinguishable from magic. 

Written by: Jamie

Edited by: Pei Zoe

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