It’s hard to claim that ice cream has ever been “out.” After all, it’s long been one of America’s favorite desserts and promises to be so in perpetuity. But according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) “What’s Hot: 2016 Culinary Forecast” of the top food trends of the year, one particular kind of ice cream just might be more “in” than ever. We’re talking about the growing popularity of house-made/artisan ice cream, which has been captivating palettes across the country.
About Artisan Ice Cream
What does it mean to be an artisan, anyway? The School of Artisan Food describes it as “a term used to describe food produced by non-industrialised methods, often handed down through generations but now in danger of being lost.”
If artisan ice cream was ever at risk of extinction, however, all signs now point to a comeback — and a big one at that. In fact, artisan ice cream also earned a spot on the NRA’s “Movers and Shakers” list — a roundup of foods that increased in popularity by five percent or more in 2016. Also making the cut? Artisan butchery and authentic ethnic cuisine, both of which are consistent with a broader movement prioritizing organic, independent and local over all things mainstream and machine.
New Flavors to Savor
While the term “artisan” may more directly apply to hand-craftedness, another significant hallmark of artisan ice cream is the diversity of flavors available.
Certainly, there’s a time and a place for conventional flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry — all of which can be elevated by the artisan ethos which puts real, wholesome ingredients over artificial chemicals and preservatives.
But the artisan ice cream movement is also embodied by unabashed experimentation, which finds new flavors making their delightful debuts and in doing so pushing the boundaries of conventional expectations. In other words, this is not your mother’s cookies and cream.
There’s only one rule, in fact, when it comes to artisan ice cream and ingredients: There are no rules. So if you’re looking to wake up your taste buds with inspired flavor combinations like Thai Iced Tea, Honey Lemon Lavender, and Mexican Chocolate, look no further than artisan.
In addition to outside-the-box flavor combinations, smaller batch sizes and local relationships characteristic of artisan ice cream also lend themselves to the incorporation of more seasonal ingredients, including everything from locally sourced fruit to fresh herbs straight out of the garden.
This also means that artisan ice cream far outlasts summer’s sweltering days with flavors like Pumpkin Cranberry, Peppermint Chocolate, and Peach Crisp the perfect complement to fall, winter and spring weather.
Additionally, many artisan ice cream makers are also experimenting with different delivery methods, including everything from variations on the traditional ice cream sandwich to sophisticated spins on a childhood classic: the push-pop, of which Travel and Leisure once declared, “they’re high-class, big-flavor and the most fun you can have on a stick.”
And while ice cream may formerly have been the exclusive domain of dairy, the artisan movement is nothing if not inclusive, offering up numerous non-dairy alternatives — meaning both vegans and people with lactose intolerance can still get in on the frosty fun.
But it’s not just ice cream that’s going back to its handmade roots. Its Italian cousin, artisan gelato, is also having a moment. If you’re wondering which is better, you’re asking the wrong question. It’s simply a matter of which treat you’re in the mood for on any given day.
And while you’d be hard-pressed to find an extensive assortment of amazing artisan offerings in the frozen food aisle of your local grocery store chain, specialty food delivery companies like FoodyDirect deliver all of the artisan ice cream deliciousness straight to your door.
We can think of no better time to sample to your heart’s delight than this September 22nd AKA “National Ice Cream Day.” But will you even like Sweet Barbecue Swirl ice cream or Gin and Tonic sorbet? While there’s no way to know until you taste it, just think of all of the fun you’ll have trying. Browse ice cream, along with all of our delicious bakery and dessert items, today.