Monday, 31 August 2015

G & D's, Oxford

Sandwiched rather nicely in the middle of our holiday was a trip to the wonderful city of Oxford. I had many happy memories of previous trips here, be that visiting whilst at college and getting to sing with our church choir at Magdelen college chapel, or simply a flying visit on the coach when heading to the train station as I was heading off to university. But this was Bekahs and the boys first visit to the city, a long talked about trip to a city filled with links to many literary greats, and this visit did not disappoint.

After a trip to the wonderful story museum (honestly, check it out! So much fun), we decided a hunt for ice cream was needed.We had read some wonderful reviews about G & D's prior to going, and these had set some VERY high standards as to be expected by an establishment in Oxford.

There are three different branches around the city, each with a slight amendment to the name (George & Davis, George & Danver, and George & Delila) We visited the George & Danver branch.

It was a relatively hot day and because of this, the café was heaving which was wonderful to see, but did mean that the service felt extremely rushed and perfunctory. Although it was still very efficient and we were only taking away rather than eating in it still detracted a little from the experience as it didn't encourage us to want to come back and eat in.

That said however it did seem to offer a good array of food and the people who were eating in seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was a decent selection of ice cream and we opted for three scoops - one of their signature Oxford Blue (blueberry), one of salted caramel and one of milk chocolate as well as a slice of ice cream cake. Price wise it was very reasonable, especially considering the area (and the amount we had to pay for parking!), and we were stuffed by the time we had finished.

We took our ice cream off to eat on the bus stop bench outside the shop and Bekah had to be physically restrained from eating the entire ice cream cake slice herself. We had mixed feelings about the ice cream however. Although all three scoops had a great texture and creaminess, the flavours weren't consistent. We are agreed that the milk chocolate was one of the best ice creams we've tasted since beginning this journey, and the salted caramel was a good solid ice cream, but the Oxford Blue was a very strange experience. Given the strength of the other flavours we aren't sure how much this is the fault of G&Ds and how much it's just that blueberries are weird in ice cream, but the skins running through it made it very gritty with a bit of a bitter aftertaste.

We will be going back for the ice cream cake and the milk chocolate on future visits to the city, and will definitely rereview if our feelings on experience change, but most importantly we know to avoid blueberry ice cream from now on!


3 experience

4 ice cream

Monday, 24 August 2015

Macari's, Worthing


During our holiday at the start of the month we were able to visit a lovely selection of ice cream havens. To set the scene slightly for this particular day we traveled from London down to Brighton for a visit to the Lanes where we found a Moomin shop which our boys were transfixed by (and the shop attached to the new library there is stunning too! Well worth a visit if you like quirky literary items). We will be visiting Brighton again as we saw lots of potential ice cream gold mines, probably off season and not before a national festival as we went the day before the pride festival so it was heaving, but it was such an incredible atmosphere we want to go back.

After this shopping (so much shopping!), a short drive along the coast was needed, windows fully down both to calm and cool us on what was a rather warm day. Having lived that way for part of my uni life I knew the roads well and we found ourselves in another one of the UK's best seaside towns, Worthing. It was at this point that we remembered our list and the hunt for the ice cream commenced with a small visit to the sea facing Ice Cream Parlour that is Macaris.

We were expecting big things from Macaris as our internet stalking beforehand on all things ice cream related has seen this place ranked very highly by many national newspapers and also, most importantly,by the ICA (Ice Cream Alliance) who have awarded its ice cream many awards over the years. We have also previously had a little confusion with the similarly named Makcari's in Herne Bay - the name is about where the similarities end but more on that in another post!

The parlour itself was nice to sit in and fairly accessible for our (massive) pushchair, and the staff were friendly. We decided to go for a hot fudge sundae, containing their award winning chocolate ice cream. When this arrived we were surprised to find No chocolate - after querying unfortunately they had run out of the chocolate ice cream meaning we were unable to sample it. However the sundae was good regardless. The hot fudge sauce was actually hot fudge sauce rather than chocolate fudge sauce which is usually the case and this impressed us immensely. The ice cream itself was smooth, creamy and all round a rather lovely delicacy. If we had been able to sample the chocolate we're pretty sure that the ice cream would have got top marks!

The price was reasonable and the range of ice creams is good. They also have a small selection of sorbets and ice cream suitable for diabetics as well as gluten free ice cream and cones.

Over all our ratings take into account the lack of our choice of ice cream and the lack of information provided - but we truly feel this was a oversight as the service provided apart from this was wonderful.


4 experience

4 ice cream

Monday, 17 August 2015

The fresh smell of the country!

Its summer and were back on the trail to find the greatest ice cream. To start us off we felt we should hunt down anymore local places that we missed last year, one of which we found near Tenterden towards the edge of Kent. The town has a wonderful selection of shops, with a lovely market (the bread stall had some amazing cakes on sale such as a rather stunning cheesecake).

Silcocks farm is a very active farm shop/restaurant on the hill above the town. The shop sells a wonderful array of items, many of which are locally sourced with a fantastic selection of home and locally produced meat, dairy and grocery products. They also run local events and the shop has a fantastic courtyard with tables, chairs and beautiful flowers.

The ice cream is produced by Hannah's dairy for Silcocks farm.They offer a lovely selection of flavors, all pre packed in two different sizes. Along with the usual, traditional flavors, they also offer a few less usual options. We selected three flavors, picking white chocolate, strawberry and rhubarb & custard. These were nice sized and extremely well priced at £1.50 per tub.

One of the three, white chocolate, truly shone with a wonderful flavour and a lovely, creamy texture (lots of fighting between us and our two year old over that one). The other two held a delightful taste and you got a sense they had been well thought out, but sadly the consistency seemed rather icy and lacked the creamy nature of the white chocolate.

Over all we had a great time at the farm. We sat in one of the farms side buildings in the courtyard in the centre as we ate our ice cream (tipping it down with rain, it was very atmospheric :-) ).

The staff at the farm shop were wonderful and one day we will go back, not only to try other flavors but also to visit their restaurant as we would be very interested to see if and how they serve the ice cream as a sit - down experience!

So, the results are in -

3 for the ice cream

4 for the experience

Thank you Silcocks, we really enjoyed our visit.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Oddono's, South Kensington

While on holiday in and around London a couple of weeks ago we got back into the swing of things and consumed a lot of ice cream!

The first day of the holiday saw us in Central London introducing our boys to the wonders of the Natural History Museum, during which the 2 year old learned two new words ('interesting' and 'fossils'). After a couple of hours of first week of the school holidays intensity he was exhausted and after a brief visit to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain (lovingly nicknamed 'Diana's Pond' in our family) we headed off in search of some elusive ice cream.

We'd done a bit of a google search before going, as is our way, so as usual we were attempting to find Oddono's with the help of GPS on a phone and wandered past another gelato parlour, Scoop, which will be tried at a future date (we had to withstand the temptation of going in when we walked past on the way back to the station after visiting our actual destination!). Anyway, we eventually found this branch of Oddonos in a narrow store on Bute Street (a list of other branches can be found here). This isn't the smallest ice cream parlour we have visited on our travels, but due to the decor and lighting it did feel very tight. This feeling was enhanced by the busyness of the cafe on what was a very hot day.

Oddono's motto is 'lifes too short to taste bad ice cream' and I have to admit we were impressed. The range of ice cream was good with all the usual suspects plus a few extras. Over the years they have received lots of awards and are officially on sale in Selfridges who have extremely high standards. We choose 3 flavours - Salted caramel, cookies and a variety of chocolate. None of them disappointed with each ice cream having a good creamy texture, a noticeable flavor and a solid taste. What they missed was that little bit extra - the wow factor that would make us want to go again and again. Price wise, 3 scoops came out as £5.45 - not a bad price for the location of the store!

Sadly,although this is outside the control of the staff, our experience was marred by the rudeness of other customers. Disagreements over ice cream and toilets rather loudly, not involving us but certainly distracting when we were trying to give the parlour a fair chance. This meant that as a whole it was not the greatest experience we have had and because of this and the style of store we feel we need to give it a 2 out of 5. BUT, and it is a big BUT - we will try another branch in the future and will review it afresh to give you all a better guide.


4 Ice cream

2 Experience

Friday, 24 July 2015

It's The Ice Cream Season and We're Back!

Hello, ice cream lovers! It's been a long while since we've posted over here as we've been busy settling into our new house and generally enjoying life with our two little lads, but ice cream season is well and truly upon us and we couldn't let it go by without resuming our quest for the best ice cream in the UK!

Over the coming weeks we will have lots of reviews for you, including revisits of a few places we visited over the winter months and never got around to reviewing and some new discoveries. The wind will not stop us, nor the rain delay. Whatever the weather we will be bravely soldiering on to bring you the best of the best in British ice cream!

You can see the list of places we plan to visit here and if you have suggestions to be added please let us know!