Winter is definitely coming. In many parts of the continent, it’s already here. Blizzards and arctic air are making it seem like fall is long gone. Winter usually means saucy, hearty dishes such as lasagna, chili and steel-cut oatmeal that warm you to the core. Those are great, of course. But for me (and Derek Jeter) it also means ice cream.
In my mind ice cream is the perfect winter treat. What dish better matches the frosty landscape? And, if you go out for a long walk in the ice and snow, you’re probably already bundled up, so it’s not as if a few scoops are going to give you hypothermia. Don’t forget that in winter, there’s less likelihood your cone is going to melt quickly and drip all over your hands and boots. The good news is that there are many local ice cream makers, like our friends at Earnest Ice Cream, creating interesting flavors with rich, savory ingredients that are as perfect a combination for winter as David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth. Here are a few of my favorites.
Salted Caramel: This one seems like a summer licker, but it’s also ideal from late November through March. The smoky butter flavors and the saltiness of the caramel meld nicely with the overall sweetness to create the perfect winter ice cream scene, like an arctic fox on a snowy field.
Whiskey Hazelnut: Nuts are a winter thing. Whether it’s chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or a festive fruit and nut cake —there’s something about nuts that just screams winter. Maybe it’s the dose of healthy fats they provide, or that they make you feel full. The pleasant smokiness and savory crunch of this flavor will make you feel warm inside.
Maple Walnut: Another nut-forward option, this one has the added zing of maple syrup to remind you of that time you visited a sugar shack and ate maple sap straight off the pristine white snowbank. Haven’t experienced that? Find one! It’s a life-changing experience and used to be part of the elementary school curriculum in Canada.
London Fog: This one is becoming quite common at small-batch ice cream joints, so I bet you can find it close by. The drink version of a London Fog is made by adding steamed milk and vanilla to Earl Grey tea. It’s great for cold weather when they sky is a hazy shade of grey-brown. The ice cream version is even better, since it has the benefit of being ice cream.
Rum and Egg Nog: This is a no-brainer. Nothing gets you in the winter zone better than egg nog, and the rum kicker offers a spicy zing. The swirling flavors of nutmeg and vanilla will get you into the season faster than you can say “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation movie.”
What’s your favorite winter ice cream flavor? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter at @Luvoinc.