This summer you have surely seen an ice cream shop or two advertising that they offer artisanal ice creams. You might have even stopped to taste one, and you might have wondered what’s special about these types of ice creams. Well, if that’s the case, read on to answer all of your questions and to discover a few things you should know about artisanal ice creams. And after it, I assure you that you’ll definitely want to try one!
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How can I distinguish a real artisanal ice cream?
Artisanal ice creams have several properties that can attest to their natural essence. And, in fact, it is really easy to distinguish them if you use your senses. Due to the lack of artificial additives, artisanal ice cream will never have a strong smell or color. That’s because the mix of natural ingredients with the dairy products used in its preparation will tone them down. Moreover, the flavor will obviously be more natural and closer to that of the ingredients used in its preparation, including the milk. That’s why the taste can be more acidic, milky or sweet than with normal ice creams. Finally, the texture is an important aspect of artisanal ice cream. It should be creamy, cold but not icy, and firm without extra air added to increase its volume and fluffiness.
Why are artisanal ice creams more expensive?
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Three main factors affect the price: the ingredients, the process, and the distribution.
First of all, you are paying both for the fat and the premium ingredients. To achieve that creamy texture, ice creams need milk fat. However, the percentage of fat needed to achieve the desired texture is expensive. That’s why cheaper brands use less fat, more air, and artificial stabilizers to get a similar but not so good result. On the other hand, to get those amazing and natural flavors, the ingredients used are those of the highest quality, from small specialized plantations, home-made or even hand-picked and mixed.
TAKEAWAY: Did you know that nowadays only 1% of vanilla ice creams in the world have actual vanilla in them? The island of Madagascar is the world’s greatest exporter of vanilla, covering 80% of the production. However, with the destruction of multiple crops by a cyclone last year and the increasing Western demand, the price of this ingredient has spiked, reaching over $600/kg last year (which is more expensive than silver). This has brought a series of robbings and murders to Madagascar, forcing farmers to protect their crops by patrolling their lands and marking their precious high-quality vanilla pods with their names or serial numbers.
Regarding the process, artisanal ice cream machines blend and freeze the product in batches in order to have greater control of the mix, texture, and flavors. However, these freezers limit the amount of ice cream they can make, which increases the price. Finally, the costs of distributing artisanal ice creams are based on the business model they follow of having a more face to face relationship with their customers. While they open fewer shops, the attention to customers in more personalized with greater care for the serving of the finished ice cream and broader knowledge of what each flavor offers.
Why are artisanal ice creams getting more popular?
As with almost everything else in the market, the interests of Millenials is affecting the ice cream offer. On the one hand, existing brands try to adjust their values and products to satisfy the needs of this generation. On the other hand, new brands and, especially, new types of businesses (such as Kith Treats) have arisen to fill new niches. Following the increasing concern for protecting the planet, artisanal ice cream shops have become quite popular in big cities. Their use of locally sourced, natural and sustainably produced ingredients, along with greater care and control for everyone and everything involving the production and distribution has granted these shops the attention of a huge public. Furthermore, their vegan options and new exciting blends have made them a popular choice even despite their higher prices.
Which are the most popular flavors?
If you are an ice cream lover, all ice cream flavors can be a treat, from the most traditional to the craziest blends. But if you want to follow the trends and taste the most popular flavors right now, which flavor scoop should you ask for? While vanilla, chocolate, cookies & cream, or strawberry are all-time favorites, in artisanal ice cream shops the flavors depend on what’s in season to get the most out of their premium ingredients in a sustainable way. That’s why the offer may vary from month to month. In any case, Matcha Green Tea, Ginger, Lavender, Kaffir Lime, Goat Cheese, Peach or Corn are some of the trendiest flavors on offer nowadays. Would you choose one of these or would you go for more extreme flavors? Tell us in the comments!