Handmade specialty ice cream cool down Seoul
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Outside the daytime temperatures soar and the pursuit for more sophisticated gourmet treats by Seoulites has now reached ice cream. Specialty ice cream shops are popping up in various neighborhoods, while dessert cafes offer unique handmade ice creams to match other bakery items.
Opened last July, Fell+Cole features a variety of ice cream flavors from ordinary Just Boring Vanilla to interesting Java the Hut, which combines coffee and Guinness beer.
Steady sellers at the gastronomic ice cream parlor include Strawberry Red Wine with Szechuan Pepper, Honey Lavender, and Burnt Caramel with Smoked Sea Salt. Hokey Porky, an ice cream with candied bacon, and Perilla Leaves are also signature flavors offered at Fell+Cole.
After having lived in Hawaii and San Francisco, Ho-june “Tristan” Choi introduced a new concept of specialty ice cream in Korea. He had no previous experience making ice-cream before he decided to open an ice cream shop in Seoul, but three months of practice and an instinctive knack for flavors made him a pro “ice creamista.”
Now he has presented more than 129 choices and about 10 of them are available at a time in the small shop near Hongik University. Some of the flavors are popular and out in the showcase often, while some seasonal ones are gone once sold out.
Choi constantly experiments with new flavors, creating more novel ice creams. One of the recent additions to the ice cream showcase is Mojito Baby, which captures the refreshing taste of lime and mint in the rum-based cocktail.
Choi said sorbet sales are picking up as the weather warms. In winter, ice creams with honey or spice such as cinnamon were more popular.
“Ice creams with mint, such as Fresh Mint Lemonade and Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip, are gaining popularity. The Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip was sold out within a day much to my surprise,” he said. He uses mint provided by local urban farmers.
Drunken Salty Watermelon, which is delightfully sweet with a strong watermelon taste combined with the unexpected chocolate chip, and Grapefruit Champagne Sorbet are also popular summer products.
Fell+Cole is located near Sangsu Station on subway line 6. Single dip cup costs 4,200 won and a pint cup holding up to four flavors costs 12,500 won. Visit www.fellncole.com or call 070-4411-1434 for more information.
Le Petit Four
Dessert cafe Le Petit Four, known for its macarons and cakes, also offers a variety of gourmet gelatos. There are 19 kinds displayed in a long showcase, as if they were a museum exhibit.
“Our ice creams tend to be rich in flavors as we only use high quality ingredients,” a Le Petit Four staff member said.
Popular ice cream flavors of Le Petit Four include Lemon Ginger, Peach Lavender, Truffle and Tiramisu.
The dessert shop recently added Golden Apple, a green apple ice cream topped with a gold flake, and Ispahan, a combination of rose, raspberry and lychee.
As the place also features other types of desserts, Le Petit Four recommended combinations of ice cream and other sweets, such as having raspberry sorbet with poppy seed cheese cake or chocolate raspberry popping cake. “Raspberries go well with cheese or chocolate,” he said.
Fruit-flavored sorbets do not go with coffee, but some others make a great affogato type dessert which is usually a scoop of ice cream and a shot of espresso poured over it.
“Generally, vanilla or chocolate ice creams are used for affogato, but we recommend Caramel Cinnamon, Maple or Tiramisu to mix it up a bit,” he added.
Le Petit Four is located near Sangsu Station on subway line 6. A cup of ice cream costs 2,800-6,400 won depending on the size. For more information, visit blog.naver.com/lepetitfour or call (02) 322-2669.
As the name indicates, Molly’s Pops offers ice cream in a popsicle shape, unique from other ice cream parlors. Smooth, round ice popsicles are lined up in rows in the showcase, waiting to be chosen by customers.
Molly’s Pops opened in February and there is a small board listing the most popular flavors to help customers who can’t decide what flavor to get. As of June, the five top flavors are Mango, Lemon, Beer, Dark Chocolate and Powdered Soybean. Ice creams made with alcohol, such as beer, are not sold to minors.
Wasabi is another flavor developed by Molly’s Pops, which actually is quite sharp on the tongue. “People either really like or dislike Wasabi quite clearly as it is spicy, but there are fans of this flavor who say the taste of Wasabi ice cream often creates cravings,” a staff member of Molly’s Pops said.
She said some of the ideas came from the regulars to the shop. “Beer, Wasabi and Powdered Soybean all came from customers’ suggestions. A customer wanted an ice cream with the flavor of mixed grain powder and we developed the powdered soybean gelato,” she said.
Molly’s Pops adds one or two new flavors every month and other test flavors often come up in the showcase.
“We are testing a flavor of Mascarpone cheese and it received good reviews from our customers,” she said. Another flavor soon to be released is Apple Pie, with sugared apple, cinnamon and pie crust.
Molly’s Pops is located near Hongik University Station on subway line 2. An ice pop costs 2,800 won. For more information visit www.mollyspops.com or call 070-4300-3045.
Newly-minted Macaron opened by Ruben Jan Adriaan has added six frozen desserts to its summer menu. Located near Hongik University, Macaron is unlike other shops offering ice creams with standard flavors. Instead at least two different ice creams or sorbets are mixed together with other sweets such as macaron pieces to offer a perfect cool summer dessert complete with a crunchy, crumbly texture.
The Dutch-born pastry chef worked for French bakery Pierre Herme and Pierre Marcolini’s chocolate shop, before heading to Korea and landing at Amandier near Anguk subway station.
Now working on his own, his previous experience turns ice cream into sophisticated summer desserts. Basic vanilla and chocolate flavors become heavenly at Macaron. Dame Blanche, which consists of chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, brownie chunks, soft caramel and crunchy chocolate pearls is made for angels. “I wanted to offer something different from ordinary vanilla or chocolate, something refreshing,” he said.
Chef Adriaan also created more adventurous flavors such as Brazilian (rum/raisin, coffee and vanilla ice cream with soft salty caramel and nutty crumbles) and Risotto Exotic (rice pudding ice cream and mango sorbet with touches of coconut meringue).
Macaron’s signature dessert Ispahan, macarons with rose, lychee and raspberry, is also turned into an ice cream flavor. Rich rose ice cream blends perfectly with sweet lychee and tangy raspberry sorbet, while macaron pieces provide a bit of bite.
Macaron is located near Hongik University subway station on subway line 2. A small portion of ice cream costs 4,000 won and a large one is 6,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3144-0966.