Thursday, February 9, 2012

Helado en España. (Ice Cream in Spain)

This last November we packed our bags and headed to Spain. We needed some ice cream inspiration and a bit of vacation, too. Maybe you are wondering why we didn't head to Italy for a course on gelato? Well, ice cream inspiration can come from anywhere and Spain is no exception. This is the land of Ferran Adria after all.  We rented a small red car and zipped through rainstorms and between acres and acres of olive trees. It was a grand tour involving cute hotels, cheap Spanish wine and a lots of this:

 Chocolate orange ice cream for Sam and watermelon and lemon for Aria in Granada.

 How could we resist? There is something wonderful about picking from a large selection of chocolates or pastries and putting them in a pretty box. Ok...they only made it around the corner before they were gobbled down.

Sorbet with jasmine and grapefruit. If the smell of a fresh bunch of flowers turned into sorbet then it would taste just like this. It reminded me of my grandma. She would have loved this. 
We ate Ice cream and gelato and frozen fruit hollowed out and filled with fruity sorbet. We ate a lot of food because that is what you do on vacation and we always have the perfect excuse: research and development. Not all the flavors were amazing. I can't say that Malaga Wine was my triple scoop. It was raisin studded and sherry tasting: a variation on rum raisin.  We did really enjoy Mango con Queso which was a richer version of Mango cheesecake. The ultimate scoop of the trip was a sweet cream with cinnamon crunchy honey bits. If Hokey Pokey had a cousin it would be this ice cream. The toasted cinnamon was like a caramelized cinnamon roll with something almost nutty about it. We will have to work on something like this for the shop. It was divine. 
 Aria with the most amazing hot cocoa at Escriba, Barcelona.

One spot that turned into a divine food experience was Escriba Patisserie on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. This little creation of the famous pastry chef Escriba is the darling of many a celebrity and you can tell it must be in many foodie Spain tour books. It lives up to the hype. I would rather have ice cream over pastry any day but the croissants at Escriba were amazing! Their slogan is "No solo hacemos pasteles, creamos ilusiones." (translation: We don't only make cakes, we create illusions. ) It is completely true. Food that can transform your state of mind is more than food. Their hot chocolate is just that: magical. It consists of melted chocolate in a small espresso cup with a spoon. Too rich for you? How about a frothing mug of fresh whip cream on the side. Add a sugar packet, should you need to up the sweetness of the rich cocoa, and a sinful dark chocolate bar and you have the true breakfast of champions... or lunch, dinner, midnight snack...

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