It’s that time of year when all of our minds turn to ice cream. The sun’s out, the temperatures are high and the taste of something cool and sweet is the only answer. I have recently sampled some of the best gelato and sorbet this side of Italy. What’s more, it’s made a hop, skip and a jump away down the coast in Dorset. Baboo Gelato first came to my attention about 3 years ago when I was working a summer job at a friends PR and marketing company. At this point, I didn’t have the opportunity to sample their wares but the girls from the office were raving about the product and how lovely the people were behind the company.
A few years later I was contacted by Baboo Gelato and asked if I would like to sample some of their flavours. With the high praise still ringing in my ears all these years later I jumped at the chance.
For me, ice cream holds many memories and growing up by the seaside I certainly have sampled my fair share. I have watched many holidaymakers, giggling from my beach towel, venture off in search of a cone only to forget where their friends are with the inevitable happening. Their ice creams melting rapidly under the summer sun and oozing from the cone down hands and arms creating a sticky mess.
Saturday nights as a not quite teenager sitting with my family watching television with a bowl of vanilla and if I was lucky a squirt of ice magic or a dollop of strawberry sauce that had probably never set eyes on the real fruit. Occasionally we would go upmarket with a scoop or two of Neapolitan. Do you remember Neopolitan ice cream? A tricolour of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate ice cream in one tub. It felt so indulgent!
I remember my first taste of an ice cream sundae fondly. A Knickerbocker Glory no less. I was probably about 6 or 7 years old and my Nan and I found ourselves in a cafe in Exeter on a day out. We were probably on an important school shoe buying trip or something. Back then we only ventured into Exeter, the closest city to where I grew up, for specific things like school uniform so it always felt like a treat. The city felt big and exciting and when given the opportunity to stop in a cafe for lunch or for my Nan or mum to have a coffee I relished at the chance. We certainly didn’t go high end. The Littlewoods Cafe was a regular haunt and maybe that is where I tried my first Knickerbocker Glory. To be completely honest my mind is a little hazy where I had it but it’s a memory that has stuck with me all these years. What stands out firstly is the excitement I felt when I saw the tall glass filled with ice cream, fruit and fruit sauce topped with whipped cream. It felt like all my dreams had come true. My Nanny and I shared the icy cold dessert, using long spoons to get right down to the bottom to make sure nothing went to waste.
Even now decades later I still hold that memory close to my heart. Especially as my 94-year-old Nan has been a little poorly of late. The taste of that icy cold goodness brings so many memories flooding back.
About Baboo Gelato
Baboo Gelato was established in 2015 by trained gelatiere, Annie Hanbury, who wanted to combine her passion for making fine gelato with the glut of ripe fruit on her doorstep. After years of living abroad, Annie and her family moved to the rolling hills of Dorset and set up camp in a smallholding a short distance from the seaside town of Bridport.
Annie decided she wanted to put the heart and soul back into gelato making. She missed the excitement and wonder on her children’s faces as they chose from a bright and colourful array of flavours. This is something I can certainly relate too. Baboo Gelato wants to recreate this.
Annie was born in Vienna to a Russian father and Irish mother and lived abroad for most of her life. Her earliest memories are of groaning tables and family gatherings where they would endlessly bicker about recipe nuances.
She studied the making of gelato at the Gelato University in Bologna, Italy. Here she learned from the worlds leading gelatieres the science of gelato making.
Baboo Gelato has been bestowed with countless awards for their flavours over the years. The latest accolades coming in the 2019 Taste Of The West Awards with 6 golds and 1 silver.
I wanted to recapture the joy of ice cream eating as a child with something a little bit different so I created an ice bowl to serve my Baboo Gelato in. Ice bowls are incredibly simple to make and are visually stunning. All you need are two bowls, one slightly smaller than the other and some water. Decorate your ice bowl with edible flowers and herbs if you fancy creating a bit of texture and interest.
To make the ice bowl, fill the larger bowl with herbs and edible flowers if using. I used rose petals, rosemary and lemon balm from my garden. Pour over cold water and then place the smaller bowl on top. You want the water to come up to the lip of the bowl. Place a weight on top (I used a full Baboo mini gelato tub!) and put it in the freezer until completely frozen. Overnight is best.
To remove the ice bowl carefully place some warm water in the top bowl. This will melt the ice slightly and the bowl will come loose. Do the same with the larger bowl underneath. Once removed pop it back in the freezer until you want to fill it with ice cream or sorbet.
Of course, if you don’t have time to wait overnight and want to dig into your Baboo Gelato sooner then an old fashioned bowl will just have to do!
At this point, Baboo Gelato is only available at their kiosks and a growing number of restaurants, shops, stately homes, theatres and cinemas. For a full list of stockists check out their website here. If like me, you live in the city of Exeter you can get your Baboo Gelato fix from Harry’s Restaurant on Longbrook Street or Ebdons on Sidwell Street. Hunt it out though. It’s so worth it.
Disclaimer: I was gifted a selection of mini Baboo Gelato tubs to sample. I was not paid for this post and all views are my own as always.