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Jan 9, 2012 03:17 AM

Ice Cream shop making own Ice Cream Base?

I just found out that most of the places I know as artisanal ice cream shops are not actually making their own ice cream. They're buying "ice cream base", and then flavoring it.

Does anyone know of a real artisanal ice cream maker in LA, or SoCal that is making their own ice cream from scratch?

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  1. I'm curious, which places have you learned that are not making their own "ice cream base"?

    And what do you mean by "ice cream base"?

    As far as I know, places like Mother Moo, Carmela and even Bulgarini (if one were to consider gelato "ice cream") all make their own stuff from scratch.

    So, I ask again, what exactly do you mean by "ice cream base"? Are you saying they are buying milk instead of getting a cow and a bucket ...

    18 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        I don't believe any of the gelato makers out here in SoCal are using that service.

        Do you know otherwise?

        1. re: ipsedixit

          The "for instance" meant that this is typical of an Ice cream (or in this case gelato) base used by most shops (when you asked "And what do you mean by 'ice cream base'?").

          1. re: Servorg

            Yes, but OP was asking about artisanal shops, not "most shops" right?

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I was replying to your last question of "...what exactly do you mean by 'ice cream base?' Ipse, thereby providing some context to this thread for those who may also be unsure of what ice cream base is (and it's obviously not milking ones own cow, instead of buying commercially produced milk).

        2. re: Servorg

          What is it?
          The quintessence of pureness and genuineness.

          Haha. Sorry, but I just pulled that off their website and wanted to share. Kind of sounds like some spiritual site trying to recruit members.

          1. re: mstinawu

            I think it's another example of the use of written English by non English speakers. The Japanese are legendary for butchering English sounding expressions in their ads.

        3. re: ipsedixit

          ice cream base:
          Mother Moo & Neveux are both using this in LA. And they happen to be 2 of the best ice cream shops in LA. LA Creamery may still be using Straus as well, but they've gone out of retail biz.

          Bi-Rite, Slocombe, Mr/Mrs. Misc, etc. up in the BA are all using Straus Creamery base. I see no shame in this, as their products are far superior to some of the ice slush being made in LA.

          Carmela + Sweet Rose are 2 ice cream "restaurants" creating their own base. As always, just because they're making in-house, doesn't mean it's made better.

          1. re: TonyC

            Thank you TonyC - that's the info I was looking for. I was aware of the shops using Straus base (which I agree, if you're using a base, is the best one to use), but I needed to find a place that could make their own. This helps a lot, thanks!

            1. re: chinchilla

              N'ice Cream makes their own too:


              ETA: in fact, you might want to have a look at this article for several other options:

              N'ice Cream
              1410 Abbot Kinney Blvd Ste 200, Venice, CA 90291

            2. re: TonyC

              Yes, Sweet Rose Creamery has a licensed pasteurizer and uses Clover milk from Sonoma County.

              Sweet Rose Creamery
              225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Mel, I have to ask, have you relo'd down here?

                1. re: Servorg

                  Nope, but I spent three long weekends in the LA area in 2011 (March, August & December) after an absence of many years. All chow-intensive, thanks to the many good tips from the 'hounds on this board. Sorry I haven't posted about everything yet.

                  In any event, Sweet Rose Creamery was one of my favorite stops in August. Went there TWICE. And I made a point of asking if they made from scratch or used ice cream base. I can't recall if the Clover milk used is organic or not.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Our loss. I still have to get to Sweet Rose but I know I'll love it...(what's not to love?)

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      penny for your thoughts on Clover's own ice cream, vs Sweet Rose's?

                      I, personally, think SRC's manipulation of Clover milk, in producing a product that's nauseatingly suet-esque at half spoon, is really foul.

                      Three Twins, it is not. Ici? Sweet Rose isn't even close.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Clover's own ice cream is a grocery store product priced to compete with Dreyer's. Whole 'nuther animal.

                        If you want to get close to the taste of Clover milk, then try the gelati made by Bovolo in Healdsburg. Very pure California flavors, fresh ingredients.

                        Both visits to Sweet Rose, I tried as many flavors as the staff member would allow. Favorite overall was the Le Grand nectarine sorbet using Masumoto Family Farms fruit at the peak of ripeness and not oversweetening to death. I hear what you're saying, some of the ice creams had an overcooked, custardy note. Maybe a batch inconsistency? I liked the plum, strawberry, and toasted coconut. The key may be to select the ones that have a higher percent of fruit pulp, once summer rolls around again.

                        I'm not a fan of Three Twins. It is consistent overall, but takes few chances, and ends of being sort of middling due to its conservatism. Have not tasted anything as good as SRC's nectarine at 3T, but it's been at least a year since I've been in a scoop shop. Ici in Berkeley is better than SRC overall even if it is much too sugar-happy, overconfected and therefore, not my cup of tea.

                  2. re: Melanie Wong

                    While we're on the subject - I've heard about this whole licensed pasteurizer business, but only obliquely - do you know if there is some reason why more artisanal shops are not making their own base? Does it have something to do with pasteurizing the eggs in the base?

                    1. re: chinchilla

                      I don't know much about it, but here's a post that addresses pasteurizing raw eggs.

                      Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz also uses Clover milk and has an on-site pasteurizer. This photo shows the ice cream making room and a sliver of the pasteurization tank on the left side.

              2. I think it is worth point out that there is ice cream base that is a witch's brew of chemicals, gums, and stabelizers and then something like the Strauss base which is... real.

                1. Delicieuse French Ice Cream Artisanale...makes their own base.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: moniqueyd

                    Delicieuse is permanently closed as of January 1.

                  2. Scoops hasn't been mentioned yet? Does anyone know..

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: AAQjr

                      one can only dream of Scoops using an edible ice cream base (Straus/Clover, or otherwise).

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Oh, I agree. I would be very surprised if they didn't make their own base though. I'm still not sure why this is important to the OP, but if you want someone to customize something for you I'd ask at Scoops

                        1. re: AAQjr

                          reiterating AAQjr:

                          Dear OP, why the obsession with in-house base? Is it for some horticultural thesis? New Years resolution? We're all curious.

                    2. It's like a chocolate chip cookie store making its own chocolate chips.....why bother?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: jackattack

                        not so. the chips don't comprise the base of the cookie dough, they're merely an addition/enhancement. a more appropriate analogy would be to say that it's like a chocolate chip cookie store mixing its own dry ingredients for the well they should.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          When you can get perfectly good chips to put into your cookies, there is no reason to go through the trouble of making your own. Same with ice cream base. You can get perfectly good mix from Straus and if people are saying "I love Scoops but do they make their own base?", well, why do you care, are you not going to love their ice cream anymore just because they don't make the base?

                          1. re: jackattack

                            you're missing my point. the cookies aren't created *from* the chips, but the ice cream *is* created from the base.

                            anyway, i never said there was anything wrong with ice cream that uses a base from Straus (or any other company), but judging by this comment...
                   sounds like the OP may have specific reasons for needing/wanting something from scratch.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              I wrote the original post because I needed to find somewhere that could do a couple of special orders from scratch using specific ingredients in the base. That's not possible to do when you're using a pre-mixed base.

                              When I started contacting ice cream shops, I was surprised that "artisanal" didn't mean "from scratch", thus the post here. It's a little bit like finding out that your favorite artisanal bakery is using cake mix. The ingredients in the cake mix may be excellent, but it seems to take the craft out of it. It's not a huge big deal, just a question of knowing what you're getting - if I go to Thrifty ice cream, I expect everything to be pre-mixed, that's not a problem. I was just surprised to find the same thing at the "artisanal" creameries, and it sounds like some other people were surprised to hear that too.

                              In the case of ice cream, there may be very good practical or legal reasons why so many ice cream shops use ice cream base, maybe it has something to do with the pasteurization question, and I'd be very open to hearing about that.

                              For my own search, the suggestions from the board have been very helpful, thank you!

                              1. re: chinchilla

                                It's a little bit like finding out that your favorite artisanal bakery is using cake mix. The ingredients in the cake mix may be excellent, but it seems to take the craft out of it.
                                see my chocolate chip cookie analogy above ;) i suspected you needed something made to your specifications - thanks for confirming because it seems as though some of our fellow Hounds were puzzled by your request.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  I suspected so too, but suggestion might be very different knowing that. I am not a big fan of scoops mostly for textural reasons, you just don't get the mouth feel that you get from a higher fat base. OTOH I know that is the same reason their odd ball flavors work. And they are pretty friendly, and I don't know for certain but I bet they'd be willing to do special orders as long a as min order is guaranteed