Sunday, 2 November 2014

Long Time No Posts! Coming Back Close to Home..

It's been far too long since our last post, but rest assured our taste buds have been far from idle! We have a notebook full of awesome (and a few less awesome) places to tell you about and we're starting with a place we've now tried, in various incarnations, three times now, just down the road from us in Ramsgate. 

This is obviously not the shop front in Ramsgate but rather the stall which Sorbetto had at the Canterbury food festival this year. This was the second time we'd tasted their ice cream, the first being at 9am on a rainy morning when we'd dropped the car off at Kwik Fit, had a few hours to kill and couldn't agree on where to go to get breakfast. So, as we are a pair of sensible adults we chose ice cream. 

We had a banana split and it was, to be honest, unmemorable, but when we saw the stand at the food fair we thought we'd give them another go and were very glad we did!

We had a cone of white chocolate and toffee and it was incredible. The flavour of the white chocolate was not overpowering and the toffee ripple running through it was really thick and creamy and gorgeous. The over all sentiment we were left with was this ice cream is fresh from the machine - it was enough to make us want to go back to the actual parlour and try again. 

Joined by two family members we went to the parlour during the recent school half term break. We were very pleased to see they were running activities for children (make your own viking ship - they all looked like they were having a great deal of fun). 

We felt we needed to let the parlour give us its best shot - so, spending the most we've spent on a sundae to date (a whopping £9), we chose a Millionaire's Shortbread Sundae.   

The price was high but so was the content of the sundae - a total of 6 ladles of ice cream (2 of each of caramel, Ferrero Rocher and vanilla), topped with cream, chunks of shortbread, chocolate sauce, chocolate stick, chocolate coins, sugar paper money notes (do you get it.....millionaire!) and Ferrero Rocher. The picture tells no lies, it was mammoth and well worth the price - we only just about finished the lot between us all.

We felt that each of the ice creams had wonderful flavours, perfectly blended and the three they chose for this mega sundae worked extremely well together. The only slight drawback was that the ice cream itself tasted slightly less fresh this time around, but to be fair to the parlour, we are well and truly off season for ice cream and this will have led to there being less fresh daily batches. 

Having thoroughly tested out Sorbetto from all angles, we can highly recommend a visit! We give it:

for both ice cream and experience!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Deal Beach Parlor

On a rather rain filled day on the edge of England what better thing to do than to visit one of our favourite cafe's (Kings coffee Shop Restaurant in Deal - amazing place) followed by testing ice cream from a traditional seaside ice cream parlor.

Like Morellis in Broadstairs, Deal Beach Parlor is like stepping into a tardis and visiting the 1960s (something we'd both quite like to do!). They serve a range of other food as well as ice cream and I can personally recommend the ham and cheese toastie!

We took refuge from the torrential downpour at a corner table and ordered a brown derby, a desert which I remember from many after-swimming dinners at our local Wimpy as a child (this is not a bad thing), and which consists of a warm doughnut, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and a wafer.

We also ordered a single scoop of  Carte D'or Strawberry cheesecake, which, noticing we had a little one with us, the lady kindly served in an ice-cream cone shaped bowl with teddy wafers. Our son ended up eating a couple of spoonfuls of it but he was really just after the doughnut and mr whippy.

Have to say that we were very pleased with the Brown Derby (whats not to love about a warm sugar dougnut covered with mr whippy and chocolate sauce!) but sadly the posh Carte D'or ice cream didn't live up to expectations. We've tried a great deal of wonderful ice cream since we started this blog, and prior to that Carte D'or was deemed to be a special treat that we would get from the supermarket from time to time. Now.... I'd prefer to wait and find a local treat.

There was nothing overly wrong with the strawberry cheesecake ice cream - it just didn't thrill like others we've had recently, it lacked the creaminess and texture we've grown to love. The parlor on the other-hand was an elegant bit of nostalgia with fantastic views as it is right on the seafront. Our son particularly loved the antique chicken arcade machine that pops eggs with toys out (I remember these when I was his age too :-) ). A liitle trip down memory lane.

So, the scores!

3 for both ice cream and experience.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Little Gem in Folkestone Town Centre

As one of our last days off prior to going back to work after 2 weeks holiday, a short trip was devised to go for a walk along the sea front and more importantly to visit La Casa Del Gelato :-)

We discovered Folkestone last summer and have been finding increasing amounts to love about it on our subsequent visits (including a rather nice secondhand book shop). This trend was only continued by the discovery of this gorgeous little ice cream parlour. We headed there with high hopes as it's generally highly reviewed on tripadvisor and we weren't disappointed.

It's a little shop without seating so you have to take away, but they have an impressive range of flavours, all of which are made on the premesis.

The lady who served us was lovely and chatty, explaining that the cabinets which were emptier had been made the previous day, while the full flavours had been made just that morning. They do takeaway tubs from £4.20 for 2 flavours, but we went for 3 scoops for just £3, a total bargain! After much deliberation we decided on creme caramel, milk chocolate and a gorgeous marscapone and nutella, all of which were beautifully flavoured and a lovely texture. We sat on a bench down the road to eat our ice cream and a little bit of a battle ensued as we each tried to pretend to politely share while letting the other have about half a scoop before grabbing it back to shovel down as much as possible before it was taken away again!

Little bit of thanks for the lovely service - the lady behind the counter also took a picture for us of the inside of the cabinet :-) As you can see there are 22 flavours - all looking delightfully enticing.

A slight downside, personally, British summertime being what it is, I would have loved the parlour to have been bigger, with a bit of seating and perhaps toilets. This has probably got something to do with the fact that we are parents of two small children who constantly seem to need to be changed and breastfed, but also, as ice cream lovers, the ice cream itself was incredible both in taste, texture and value and it would really do justice in a larger place.

So the scores - one of the nicer ice creams we've had on our journey so far but not quite as amazing as Melt, We will most certainly be heading to the parlour again on our next trip to folkestone and will happily try some of the other flavours on offer!So, we give this little hidden gem a

4 for both ice cream and experience.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

We've found a contender in Margate....

I have to admit that I am typing this with a great deal of care. Quite simply, early on during our two week break, a trip to our neighboring town (Margate) was decided upon as we had heard whispers of an ice cream parlour that had 'potential'. We had walked passed this cafe numerous times over the last year since its opening and have often thought that we should visit. As we were on holiday, why not now!

Melt is a wonderful looking store, in keeping with the feeling of the building it is attached to (the new Sands Hotel). It is a modern looking ice cream cafe but with a few gentle throwbacks to artdeco parlours of the past, specializing in quality, in house made Gelato, using top quality locally sourced ingredients. From the moment we entered the room and took a seat in the window we knew we were in for a treat.

The display counter looks spectacular with 18 flavours of ice creams and sorbets begging to be tried. The prices are at the higher end of the scale (£2.50 single) but the portions could really be described as ladles rather than scoops (THEY'RE HUGE!).

We decided to go for a sundae (design your own). With so many unique and wonderful flavours all looking mouth-wateringly good we had one heck of a challenge to narrow down our options. So, to give us the best chance of creating a good combination the very kind lady behind the counter let us try a few spoon fulls of various flavours prior to making our decision (lovely customer service). In the end we choose a 3 scoop sundae with salted caramel, toffee popcorn and mint choc chip with white chocolate sauce and toasted pecans on top. This came out at £6 for what was a very large sundae (again I reiterate....LADLES OF ICE CREAM!)

When we visited it was a gorgeous sunny day and there were several customers as well as ourselves. When we arrived the one member of staff was busily serving coffee and ice cream to some customers outside, but she greeted us with a smile, apologised and said she'd be with us soon. She then continued with what she was doing while periodically exchanging a few words with us, letting us know she'd not forgotten us! She was genuinely lovely and clearly knew the meaning of good customer service - she even let us take a sneaky picture of their ice cream machine!

The only downside to our Melt experience was that there's not a huge amount of seating in the cafe itself (although what they do have is gorgeous and super comfortable with big window seat style sofas and comfy chairs), and as far as we could see, no toilet. This really isn't too much of an issue, though, as it's just up the road from the Turner Contemporary, which has public toilets.

Basically, we're going to go back again and again and are already looking for an excuse to go back and try some more flavour's, as they've just announced their new specials; Baileys & Chocolate ice cream and Gin & Tonic sorbet! Amazing! We've now been to melt twice as we couldn't stay away and wanted to make sure that the ice cream was as good as we thought it was (any excuse!). GOOD NEWS! it was! We just shared one scoop (£2.50 - giant ladle again though, the whole tub was full :-). We had the rather unusual flavour of Pear ice was stunning.

This is the first time that we've done this, but we really feel that Melt deserves full marks for both the experience and the gorgeous ice cream.

For the experience we give Melt 

For the ice cream

If you're local to Thanet, follow Melt on Facebook to keep up with their specials and special offers!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Creams - Kingston

We headed into Creams in Kingston with more than a hint of trepidation. Over the past few days a couple of people I know had visited it and I'd heard very mixed reviews. Its' Facebook page alone is testament to that, but we thought given that Kingston is up the road from where I grew up and lived for the first 23 years of my life, it was only fair to try it out. Walking into it didn't make me feel too much better in all honesty. Although the ice cream cabinet is impressive, with 36 flavours including five or six sorbets and a low fat frozen yoghurt, the interior seems to be confused about whether it's an ice cream parlour or a club! It's incredibly dark and the booths are all designed so that you can't see anybody else aside from the people you're with. The music was fairly loud and there was a random mirrorball hanging in the front of the shop!

That said, we were greeted pretty quickly by a smiley, friendly guy who gave us the extensive menu and
explained how to go about ordering and was also very accommodating of our request to sit at the front so as not to block the gangway with our pushchair. However, there was a family who came in immediately behind us and waited at the 'please wait here to be seated' sign for at least five minutes while the three or four members of staff on duty all studiously ignored them. Eventually they seated themselves, only to be immediately moved once they'd sat down, so although our experience of the customer service was pretty positive, we could see how it wasn't for everyone.

Despite the impressive selection of ice creams on offer, the menu seemed heavily focused on sauces and toppings and all the trimmings rather than the actual ice cream itself which made it feel a bit gimmicky to me. In the end we pretty much ignored the selection of sundaes, milkshakes, waffles, and crepes and opted for a four scoop cup of just ice cream so we could taste the flavours properly.

The price was good at less than £5 for 4 decent sized scoops of ice cream, and the flavours we opted for were varied. We picked a banana sorbet (to get some fruit in there for our elder son!) which was very good and in fact tasted more like ice cream than any sorbet I've ever had, salted caramel which was incredibly salty and generally didn't stand up too well against the other salted caramel ice creams we've tasted recently, Maltesers, which pretty much just tasted like cold Maltesers and not really ice cream at all, and milk chocolate, which was OK.

We've come to the conclusion that Creams is a big disappointment. It has the potential to be an incredible chain of ice cream parlours (as you can see from there website they have franchises all over London and are opening further branches all over the country in the future months), but the simple fact is there ice cream is nothing amazing. It is a case of Quantity over Quality and as an ice cream lover that is a truly awful thing to state.

Experience - 2

Ice Cream - 2

Monday, 11 August 2014

We've got out of Kent and have gone to the Borough Market :-)

As part of our 2 week holiday we took a trip into London to visit family and go book bench hunting! (Great thing to do with little ones so go visit the website :-)

So off we went, the two of us, the boys and our Sister inlaw (different one to last time!). On the way round London's streets we found numerous benches (my favorite was this one - Big Terry Pratchett fan! although our oldest son really liked the Julia Donaldson bench) - a better review of this can be found here.

Conveniently (its almost like we planned it!) the Discworld bench is situated near the wonderful Borough Market. There are two ice cream establishments we want to visit at the Borough (the other wasn't open the day we went so will have to wait for another trip).

Galeteria 3Bis ice cream is an Italian company with a London branch. They have instilled a wonderful ice cream ideology to their store, using only the best content for their gelato, making smaller quantities of it on a more regular basis throughout the day to ensure the best quality and taste.

The store was relatively busy when we arrived with 4 members of staff waiting to serve. It is a relatively small shop with only a handful of tables and chairs, but this was not a issue as we were heading off straight away. We have to admit we found the service technique a tad....unique - you chose and paid for the item and then worked your way down the counter to collect. This system is flawed for people such as ourselves who have never visited and are unsure as to what flavours are available. We also found it difficult to see the flavours which were advertised on the back wall on pieces of paper in glass kilner jars - from the cash register we just didn't notice them. Also the ice cream was covered away in round metal containers. One of my personal highlights when visiting ice cream establishments is being able to see it, so this detracted from the experience a little.

The staff member who served us was very patient and offered us recommendations on a good mix of flavors - you could see a great deal of pride as he knew the best combinations. We chose 3 scoops, Milk chocolate, cookies and Pistachio. This came in under £5 which for London prices was not bad with the portions being just about the right size for three of us to share.

The chocolate was wonderful - great taste, texture and smell (not overpoweringly chocolaty - just about right). The Pistachio was a personal favorite, as the gentle flavour and crunchy texture really enhanced the ice cream base, and the Cookies was a great addition to the other two.

The highlight for us was the chocolate tap (you can just about see it on the counter in this picture) - how i would love for one of these in our kitchen at home! A liquid shot of melted chocolate placed at the base of the tub really did add to the whole experience.

So to the scores - the ice cream thoroughly deserves a 4 out out of 5. It was a wonderful trio of ice creams but was still missing that extra gravitas that might have pushed it to be better than Morellis.

The experience was good. Wonderful staff, but slightly odd queuing system and small store (not enough room when very busy) and odd presentation gives this experience a 3 out of 5.

Note for visitors - before visiting, check, as they often run special offers and discounts!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Welcome to Brogdale

If Kent is the 'Garden of England' then Brogdale is without doubt Englands Orchard. This is the home of The National Fruit Collection, containing over 4000 different varieties of Fruit with the mission to continue to save rare fruit from extinction. Apples, plums, cherries.....Benji (our 1st son) was in heaven.

We went to Brogdale with our sons and sister inlaw who was staying with us for a few weeks and couldn't help but try their resturant and, surprise surprise, ice cream. The farm doesn't create its own BUT it does supply fruit for Deal based Solleys Ice cream. Unfortunately we couldn't try the flavours which are specially made for Brogdale from their fruit (plum and cherry) because certain of us have certain intolerances to those fruits, but we're reliably informed that they make a different exclusive flavour or two each season so it's just an excuse to go back, really. 

We went for a 3 scoop ice sundae - Mint chocolate, Chocolate choc chip and Toffee Fudge. These didnt let us down, a good texture and the chocolate particularly was very chocolatey, which personally I'm a fan of.

The nice thing about Brogdale is the atmosphere, as it's always been really relaxed when we've been. Aside from the heritage fruit collection, which we have yet to actually go and see, they have a 'marketplace' type area with lots of little shops selling locally produced foods (grocers, butchers etc), gifts, and crafts as well as their cafe which features local produce. As soon as we walked into the cafe the waitress spotted our hyper little 22 month old and asked if we'd like to go in the (at that moment empty) room with the big toy box. We said yes, and it turned out to be an absolutely gigantic toy box which would have happily kept him occupied for hours. The staff were very attentive and happy to let us sit and have drinks and ice cream despite it being lunchtime and a fairly meal - centred place. 

We can happily give brogdale a thumbs up for the experience it provides. We had a discussion the other day and decided that for places which don't make their own ice cream, we will never award a five or tho in this instance we feel a tad mean as it truly is a wonderful place and worthy of full marks but we will stick to our guns.

The ice cream was good value for money (£4.95 for the 3 scoops)a wonderful texture, taste and flavor and it was kindly presented in a really nice glas. But it lacked that little bit of something special, the gravitas that would have given the ice cream full marks.

So the scores


Ice Cream

Friday, 1 August 2014

Flossies of Tunbridge Wells

As I've got a few weeks off from the day job, we thought a quick search for Kent and Sussex based Ice cream parlours was in order. This produced a short list of potentials, one of which was the small but wonderfully named 'Flossies'.

Firstly we should point out the wonderful ice cream trolley. This is used for a wide range of outside events plus doubles up as the instore freezer for the ice cream.
Flossies offer their services in a rather unique way, advertising that they can do weddings (Wish we'd thought of that - a nice ice cream while taking photos after the church sounds amazing!).

The lovely lady who served us was very patient (considering our oldest son was Wide awake and very nosy)

Then there is the ice cream. Good value for money seeing as it is made in house and a nice selection of flavours to choose from - We plumped for Mint ice cream and a little bit of Stracciatella - the latter was a new one to us - best described as Vanilla Chocolate Vienetta. Both scoops were of a healthy size - we preffered the Stracciatella to the Mint which just seemed a tad to sweet for our liking.

The parlour itself is fairly small with just a couple sit!

We rank it (out of 5) for the exof tables inside and out, and tucked away in the corner of a courtyard it would be fairly difficult to stumble upon unless you know the area well, but if you're in Tunbridge Wells it's definitely worth a visit

For the Ice Cream (out of 5):

For the experience (out of 5):

Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Benchmark

So here it is, the benchmark that we base all our ice cream reviews against. Morellis is our local ice cream parlour in Broadstairs. A wonderful throwback to a bygone era where art deco ruled the roost and the British coast line was peppered with a mini Italian Gelato Empire. 


This is the original and (in our unbiased opinion) best Morellis. 

Historically, the Morellis family emigrated to the UK in 1907 and started selling Ice cream from the back of a bike, moving on to a van and eventually opening up this branch in Broadstairs in 1932. The family were the first in the UK to serve 20 different flavors of ice cream on a daily basis (still an amazing sight to behold).There are now 13 branches around the world, including one other in the UK found in a small time shop in London called Harrods.

On the walls of the parlour are Certificates and Awards from years gone by from the Ice Cream Alliance - Looking at the ICA website Morellis won numerous awards this year including a Silver Challenge Cup (Gold Award) in the ice cream open class. Panning around we see beautiful features such as the Brass ice cream cone shaped lights on the wall, an old style juke box (our son Benji loves this as its free to choose a track....he's not even 2 yet but he loves the buttons) and the piece de resistance, an original Soda Fountain - sadly not in use for soda anymore but is used as a water feature.

And so we come around to the ice cream. We should point out, this is not cheap. As is the case with many places prices have gone up to meet the costs of the essential ingredients and still make a profit to continue running. Prices range from £2.20 per cone and rise to £8.95 for the most decadent of creations (The Broadstairs Special).

Although we've visited a couple of other ice cream establishments in the past few days while off work on our equivalent of a summer holiday we didn't think it was right to start our blog anywhere other than here and so we made a special trip especially for you, dear reader, because we couldn't find any of the previous photos we'd taken. Much ice cream was consumed in the way of research and here are some pictures to give you an idea of what to expect when you visit:

a banana royale and two Morellis Specials

The Morellis Special, one of our favourite sundaes (although not my absolute favourite which is Berry Pavlova) consists of a scoop of chocolate ice cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a scoop of another chocolate -based ice cream (in this case Ferrero Rocher but it depends on what's available that day) topped with hazlenuts, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, a banana, a wafer and a flake. It's immense. There is also a fruit version of the same (entitled the Broadstairs Special) which is also fairly fantastic, particularly if they have blood orange that day.

We didn't take a picture of the ice cream cabinet because it was actually only half full on the day that we went, which is a pretty rare occurrence unless its' winter. A picture of it in its' full height - of - summer glory will follow in a future post we promise!

As a side note, we will also be reviewing the experience as a whole when we visit places that involve ice cream - we will take into consideration the venue, the price and the staff, a very important factor for anyone's visit - this is actually where morellis falls back. It is a very busy parlor and on occasions staff have been too busy and tend to look and act rather stressed. Add this to the fact that morellis is in need of a good lick of paint as some of its art deco features are starting to show signs of time and this can deter people (take a look at tripadvisor to see what we mean).

Broadstairs has a lot to offer the daytripper, especially when the weather is good, but the ice cream at Morellis is the reason we will always keep coming back. 


We should take a moment to rank Morellis out of 5 for experience - 

And for the Ice cream out of 5 -

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Welcome to Our Big Ice Cream Trip!

We come from families who love Ice cream. So much so that when we moved to Kent one of the main reasons we choose our new home was the towns wonderful ice cream parlor. It is a throwback to years gone buy, a traditional seaside parlor with all the original fixtures and fittings with a selection of giant, colorful and flavorsome award winning sundaes.

Whilst spending many hours testing flavors over the last 4 years living here we've gradually realised that we have become what can only be described as 'ice-cream-snobs'. When visiting other towns, theaters, pubs and restaurants we found we had to try there ice cream - we had to see if could find a better ice cream then that of our home town.

And so, here is our blog! A co-written blog between the two of us looking at the best the country has to offer whilst giving us an excuse to eat copious amounts of delicious ice cream.

As well as talking about the places we've visited, we'll also be sharing our experiences in ice cream making and the adventures of our little sons in their journey of ice cream discovery. If you're a fellow ice cream lover feel free to say hi, and if you have any recommendations for us of places to visit we'd love to hear them!