October is here, Fall is here, short days, good tv, basketball practice, wool blankets, blood moons… Happy Halloween boys and ghouls!
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have a deep affinity for October; October has such a drastic change in mood compared to September, soothing and thrilling. On our monthly ice cream menu here at Salt & Straw, you can feel that strong change in mood. These Fall months are swept away by imagination and nostalgia. While the entire Summer has been driven by our epic harvest of seasonal fruits, veggies, and yummy-ness in both Portland and Los Angeles, October throws the obligatory “farm-to-cone-driven-flavor-inspirations” out the window and starts running to keep up with all the eerily creative flavor ideas we’ve been fermenting on the past six months. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still using the best ingredients available in my ice cream. No matter what. But this month instead of collaborating with all of our friends locally around town, we’re collaborating with The Cyrptkeeper (any ‘90s HBO fans out there?).
This menu was incredibly fun to create because it forces our kitchen to ask questions like:
“What if Halloween monsters had recipes that had been passed down generation to generation?”
“What do ghosts taste like?”
“If you poured an entire bag of Halloween candy into ice cream, what would it taste like?”
A menu that’s guaranteed to please even the most adventurous thrill-shreekers out there. We’re making five flavors that will be featured in both LA & Portland this month. This is a little different from most months, when we typically create completely different menus for each location; but, in my opinion, fear is universal. Here’s a peek into my brain, a little about each of these five flavors:
Candy Corn: We’ve eaten these little corn kernel candies for many years, yet none of us know what the flavor actually is… only know that white tastes like white, yellow like yellow and orange like orange. When you’re making ice cream by hand, this is actually nearly impossible to recreate! Imagine tiny hands carefully sculpting perfect layers of each distinguished color/flavor in individual pints. Yum.
The Great Candycopia: Throwing all caution to the wind, this ice cream is both childish in ideation and execution. We told ourselves, “screw it, let’s make our own version of our favorite candies in this world… just better. MORE delicious. MORE shock-alatey. LESS processed. LESS waxy.” Using REAL ingredients, we made our own “nougat caramel peanut bars” (wink wink), “chocolate malt balls,” “toffee chocolate bars,” and “peanut butter cups.” From there, we piled these homemade candies into a butterscotch ice cream in such mass it would make both Ben AND Jerry cringe. Shut up, this one is delicious.
A Potion of Malicious Delight: A special potion concocted by our ice cream churners that’ll help you feed your fear this Halloween. This potion brews together a preparation of ingredients that tickle your tongue, singe your lips, and caress your tastebuds. I’m not gonna lie, we were heavily influenced by both HP and the Dr. Jekyll on this one. The goal with this ice cream is for you to close your eyes and just trust that you’ll be taken on a journey as a scoop of this ice cream melts in your mouth.
Essence of Ghost: Similar to the potion, this is another “experiential-based-flavor.” Who cares what the ingredients are! All that matters is that when you taste this, you imagine this: “you’re walking through a foggy graveyard, the only light coming from the moon bouncing off the gloomy, opaque fog. In the corner of your eye, you see a faint ghoul swirling past your cheek. Quickly reaching out, with just as much excitement as fear, you snatch a thick cloud of the ghost and greedily shove the spoonful in your mouth.” This ice cream flavor will literally give you chills. If it steals your breath and sends shivers down your spine… we made it right.
Creepy Crawly Critters: I promise we didn’t go off the deep-end on this ice cream. Just trust me on this… We wanted an ice cream that might start of bright and cheery (like a surprisingly sunny Fall day!) but then slowly churns to the curiosity, slowly changes to something both intriguingly delicious and eerily weird. The ice cream is a bright, tequila and orange laced matcha ice cream. It’s grassy and lush, like sitting in a field on a beautiful day. The candy is smattered into the matcha like intrusive shards of sugar holding toasted and salted edible bugs in crystal amber. Bugs? Delicious, nutritious, slightly malty (think Wheaties cereal), totally yummy… again, you gotta trust me on this one.
As you can tell, this menu is much more a journey into something oddly creepy and fun. It’s like a “neon-painted haunted house” or a “corn maze filled with creepy stuffed animals.” It’s one of my favorite monthly menus to create all year and I hope everyone is equally disturbed with enjoyment when visiting us at Salt & Straw this October!
-Tyler Malek, Head Ice Cream Maker