Can the anticipation and excitement of a 99 from an ice-cream van ever be beaten by a tub from the freezer? My family puts Kelly’s of Cornwall to a vigorous test.
It’s a hot Sunday afternoon and we’re playing about in the garden. Everyone’s happy. And then we hear a sound that is full of promise and sweet temptation. The ice-cream van! It is still a few streets away. We wait, anxiously for the optimum moment when we can run out into the street; to go too soon would be silly, too late and we would be left with nothing. The sound gets nearer and nearer, the anticipation mounts and at last we run, grabbing change, losing flip-flops, racing to get to the front of the queue.
But we are not first, so we wait, an age, until finally it is our turn. We ask for 99s and the ice-cream man produces a cornet, holds it up to the machine. Then he pulls the handle and the ice-cream swirls out of the nozzle in a white curl and piles up into a perfect point to be finally garnished with a chocolate flake.
There are many ways to eat a 99, none of them are polite. I think it is always best to slurp off the point and suck it between my teeth, that way you can really appreciate the fluffy and sweet, cold, ice-cream.
Of course high-brow ice-cream lovers may dismiss the 99 as being a mere bagatelle lacking the depth and intensity of an Italian gelato, but I like its softness, the fact that is slightly synthetic and so distinctly childish. So can any tub from the freezer match this mixture of precision timing, ritual and sticky sweetness?
I wondered about this when Kelly’s of Cornwall offered me couple of tubs of ice-cream to review on this blog. It was a generous gesture but perhaps lacked the drama of the ice-cream van. It arrived by courier bike, two tubs: Clotted Cream Vanilla Ice Cream and Honey Comb Caramel Ice Cream, so no Greensleeves, but still WOW, FREE ICE-CREAM. I realised that I was hardly going to make any kind of discerning and impartial judgement, so I asked my nephews, Fin aged 14 and Ru aged 10 and my sister, Cornelia, aged 26 (or thereabouts) to help me review it.
We started off with the Clotted Cream Vanilla Ice Cream.
Ru: It’s OK.
Fin: Nice. Creamy.
Katrina: Good. Not too sticky and sweet.
Cornelia: I was initially put off by the yellowy colour, I thought it looked synthetic, especially when you compare it to the really white colour of Green and Black’s vanilla ice-cream which is excellent. But I think the deeper colour comes from the clotted cream. This is really creamy and tasty. How much is it?
Katrina: £2.99 for a litre.
Cornelia: That’s good.
Katrina: Try it with fresh raspberries, it’s like raspberry ripple. Now that’s a good ice-cream flavour.
Ru: It reminds me of fruit flan.
Cornelia: This is even better. Makes a great contrast.
Then we moved on to the Honeycomb Caramel Ice-cream.
Katrina: I like it. Good texture. I like the bits of cinder toffee in it.
Fin: I prefer the vanilla.
Ru: This is a BOLD flavour.
Cornelia: Tastes better quality. It’s good for the price bracket.
We then added fresh peaches to our bowls and tucked into the rest of the tub.
Fin: Yes. Tasty.
At the moment we heard the ice-cream van in the distance.
Katrina: 99 anyone?
Fin: Nah, not this week. Thanks.
Ru: Slurp. Slurp. Slurp.