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Cafe Fanny's Ice Cream (Berkeley)

Melanie Wong Aug 6, 2005 11:49 PM

Last week I coughed up $4.50 to try a cup-size container of Cafe Fanny's dulce de leche ice cream. The flavor was direct and intense, loved the cajeta and the vanilla-specked ice cream around it. The texture was somewhat sandy and icy with a couple spots that had bigger ice crystals making it seem less than fresh. Since it wasn't scooped, it needed aeration and I found it tasted better when I shaved off tendrils. I'm glad I tried it, but don't think I'll spend this kind of money again.

What do others think?

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  1. r
    rworange RE: Melanie Wong Aug 7, 2005 02:46 AM

    Yeah, that's it on the nose, intense flavor, with a grainy weird texture tht tasted like freezer burn.

    This is one of those places where I kept thinking ... this is Cafe Fanny ... it must have quality ingrediants ... it must be good.

    It wasn't.

    The other thing I kept telling myself was maybe this is how fresh ice cream should taste and I'm just used to prefabricated junk. No. If old fashioned ice cream from a home crank tasted like this, ice cream never would have become popular.

    After reflection ... thumbs down ... BIG thumbs down.

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    11 Replies
    1. re: rworange
      pm RE: rworange Aug 7, 2005 01:04 PM

      I agree. Liked the flavor, found the texture disappointing, but not "bad". Not worth the price.

      1. re: pm
        Robert Lauriston RE: pm Aug 7, 2005 01:29 PM

        I haven't tried the ice cream at Fanny, but people used to complain that Old Uncle Gaylord's was icy and grainy. Ice cream made in an old-fashioned rock-salt ice cream maker is creamy if you eat it immediately, but it has a grainy, icy texture once it's been in the freezer for a while. Gaylord's recommendation was to let the ice cream sit at room temperature for a while to soften.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          Mick Ruthven RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 7, 2005 07:25 PM

          I remember Old Uncle Gaylord's and never liked it because of the graininess. To me, it was like they added sand to the mixture. I also used to note that ice cream made in an old-fashioned home ice cream maker wasn't grainy. I can't remember if we used to save left over ice cream in the freezer or not.

          1. re: Mick Ruthven
            Melanie Wong RE: Mick Ruthven Aug 7, 2005 09:47 PM

            OTOH, I loved Uncle Gaylord's ice cream and miss it to this day. One of the reasons I was so attracted to the soft serve at Larkspur's Picco was the tongue-coating tiny frozen fat globules that reminded me of it. I had some ice cream from Healdsburg's Downtown Bakery & Creamery this weekend, another old-fashioned style without artificial emulsifiers, so I think I'm pretty well-calibrated on what that mouthfeel is.

            Maybe it is overspun as lainielou suggested. I think the problem with Fanny's ice cream is the lack of turnover. The servings are portioned out ahead of time and put in small plastic containers that are not airtight. I think they get dried out and stale faster. At that price, i can't imagine they're moving that fast. My container didn't have any pull dates on it, so unless they're throwing them out regularly, the product might sit too long. My sampling had hard, sandy grit in it that didn't melt in the mouth.

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              Morton the Mousse RE: Melanie Wong Aug 7, 2005 10:45 PM

              The grainy texture you describe is due to a combination of poor manufacturing technique and poor storage. Ice cream is a very fragile food, and it is rare to find it properly cared for.

              Preservatives must be added to ice cream for it to keep for more than a day. Most home made recipes call for egg yolks, but commercial ice cream makers use all sorts of preservatives: guar gum, carrageenan and various chemical cocktails. (I always find it amusing when people complain about additives in their ice cream. Without the additives, it would become a solid, inedible block overnight). There's quite a science to getting the formula right without damaging the taste and few companies have mastered it.

              Storage is equally crucial. Ice cream should be stored at a temperature between refrigeration and freezing. Most restaurants don't have the right equipment. This is why you tend to only get really good ice cream at ice cream shops (which use a proper ice cream freezer) or at high end restaurants (which make it fresh and avoid all of the storage problems). Letting poor ice cream sit out for ten to twenty minutes helps, but it is not ideal. Once the texture is damaged, there is no cure.

              Sounds like Cafe Fanny doesn't know what they're doing. Fortunately, the world's best ice cream is just a few blocks away.

              Link: http://www.sketchicecream.com

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                Mick Ruthven RE: Melanie Wong Aug 7, 2005 10:51 PM

                Interesting about different tastes from different people. I too like the ice cream at Healdsburg's Downtown Bakery & Creamery and at the Fairfax Scoop in Fairfax. Thanks for reminding me to try the soft serve at Larkspur's Picco. But I still remember the grit in Uncle Gaylord's :-)

            2. re: Robert Lauriston
              pm RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 7, 2005 09:58 PM

              In fact, I didn't eat it immediately (I waited until I returned to my office, and started eating it approx. 15+ minutes after leaving Fanny).

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                LizK RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 8, 2005 02:15 PM

                I used to looove Uncle Gaylords. My father (who makes great ice cream) was given a photocopy of their ice cream recipes a couple of years ago. That was a great gift. The funny thing is that I loved Gaylords because of that icy quality, I always found Swensons too creamy.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  Andrew RE: Robert Lauriston Aug 8, 2005 03:39 PM

                  IME, really good ice cream does not freeze well for long. Either that or our home freezers are too cold for it. I absolutely love Sketch on Fourth St. but their gelato does not freeze well at all. Our own homemade ice cream doesn't either. Eat it fresh for best!

                  1. re: Andrew
                    Melanie Wong RE: Andrew Aug 8, 2005 11:04 PM

                    How's Sketch doing? From the attempt to link to its website in Morton's post, someone needs to tell them to pay their server bill.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      Morton the Mousse RE: Melanie Wong Aug 8, 2005 11:32 PM

                      I've been going to Sketch at least once a week for a few months. They're doing fine. I've dropped by a couple of times on Sat. evenings when they were sold out by 7:30. Bummer for me but good for them.
                      The candied almonds are incredible!

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