Going Green for Ice Cream

Call me spoiled, or call me Asian, but I certainly love my green tea. Depending on the plant used, the flavour can be exotically smooth or gently earthy. To infuse it as a flavour to go along with ice cream is tricky, and I can’t always visit a restaurant to sate my craving. Some establishments manufactures them in house but others will just buy a stock brand and dole them out for customers to enjoy.

In the few specialty ice-cream establishments I went to in town, the Marble Slab Creamery scores on the very good scale in making a smooth, buttery, green tea combination that I’d consider great, but also very sweet.

The first time I tried it, I didn’t want anything mixed in, and got an odd look from the mixer. That’s only because the price says you can choose something to include, but I wanted to simply savour the product. After knowing what the base is like, only then will I dare toss in other candied flavours on top.

I’m not going to spoil the love for the Camellia plant that the tea is made from.

But at home, to find a brand that I can stick to is tough. Island Farms was one of the first companies to offer the flavour in a grocery store, and I was never able to finish the container. Two scoops was more than enough and I never wanted to have it again. The flavour was overpowering. I also don’t think much of the milk product this company is famous for. Either Island Farm’s cows are not getting the diet they deserve or the product has undergone too much treatment that kills the essence of what I enjoy in a good ice cream.

The purer the product is, the better the ice cream will taste–and it won’t turn into plastic when accidentally left out for days. I’ve heard of brands that’s done that and witnessed it once. Thankfully I have an iron gullet.

In what I love to touch from time and time again is Maeda-en’s gourmet Mochi ice cream bonbons. They come in four different flavours and the product lives up to its gourmet name. Their green tea mix is very savoury, and its infused with a lightness that I really like. The skin is like an angel’s breast, smooth and silky. If I could, I’d sleep nestled against those bosoms, but the ice cream would melt. The milky core is just as tender and the green tea flavour just right–not too strong but accentuated enough to make me finish one box’s worth–six pieces–all in one night.

While I’m aware there are other companies, like Yukimi Daifuku, that offers similar products, sadly there’s no grocery store in town that carries this brand. They have more of a US market penetration but I’m in Canada. Although I’ll have to double-check at Fujiya’s Food Market to see if other brands are available, I suspect they’ve been focusing more on fast food sushi these days and slowly forgetting to bring in more import goods to satisfy the growing Japanese population in town.

In where I buy my ice cream, certain Fairway Market outlets have been carrying more international foods these days and improving. They are now carrying Shirakiku‘s Matcha flavoured ice cream. As delicious as the product sounds, their packaging has me questioning all the French that’s added on the container. That’s most likely a restriction imposed on products that can be sold in Canada, and it’s one I can let slip–but for the ice cream itself, I’m slowly being won over by its flavour.

The frothiness from the melted product is like a freshly whipped cup of matcha tea. Eat it too cold, and the intensity is just as pronounced. But let it sit to reach that perfect temperature and I’ll be reminded of what I’ve tasted during the Victoria Tea Festival. The matcha will be a beautiful mix that I’d go gaga over.

At least I have options now. But if I really want high quality, I’d simply reach for my little store of Sumibi Meijin Brand Sencha (it received the gold prize in Japan this year), grind it up to fine consistency and sprinkle that over some double churned cream.

Now I can really drift away on the last warm summer days of the season. Now how cool is that?

Update: Fujiya’s carries the Hime brand, which is good, but I wouldn’t rate it as spectacular. The consistency and flavour is soft, and it isn’t too sweet. For a made in Canada product, it rates as a choice I’d grab if I can’t find Maeda-en in stock.

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