National Ice Cream Day is a Sunday and the enthusiasm for the occasion ranges from hot to cold, depending on who you ask.
Frozen dessert purveyors differ in their approach to the commercial holiday – some want to put it on ice, while others prefer the idea.
Sugar Hill Creamery will not celebrate National Ice Cream Day in Harlem. “It’s more of a gimmick and more of a marketing ploy rather than good flavour,” co-owner Nick Larsen told The Daily News.
But Tyler Malik, co-founder of excellent ice cream shop Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon — who has made a name for his family-owned business with concoctions like Deviled Egg Custard and Cinnamon Honey Fried Chicken — is raising this year’s ice cream bar with a fragrance that’s supposed to sprinkle on the treat the freezer.
The new Culinary Perfume by Salt & Straw is an edible fragrance designed to decorate centuries-old desserts.
Available in three varieties—melted chocolate cloud with smoky cocoa, honeysuckle and jasmine floral fragrance, and spicy, herbal-infused citrus scent—a 65-ml bottle is $65 and a pack of three 10-milliliter bottles is $48.
According to Malik, ice cream is one of the only foods that contains ingredients that have a strong flavor but almost no odor when served.
“When it’s frozen, it shouldn’t smell like anything because it’s too cold,” this self-proclaimed “master of slag” told The News. “You know, the flavors don’t really start coming out until the temperature gets to 30°C, and most ice cream is served at zero degrees.”
Malik started working with Portland perfumer Imaginary Authors four years ago to create fragrances. Their first collaboration was an inedible perfume, based on waffle cones, to evoke the “epic scent” people smell when walking near an ice cream parlor.
Salt & Straw’s owner and cousin Kim founded Salt & Straw in 2011, where they started as an ice cream van before branching out to 21 locations along the West Coast.
“We designed this fragrance specifically for National Ice Cream Day because we wanted to do something really cool and something that would change the industry in a really good way,” Malik said.
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Here on the East Coast, Larsen of Sugar Hill Creamery focuses on creating high-quality innovations year-round, rather than specifically focusing on National Ice Cream Day.
“We don’t do anything specifically in general,” Larsen said. “We are always creating new flavours. We are always evolving and trying to do new things and collaborations.”
Larsen and his wife, Petrushka Bazin Larsen, laid out a plan in 2017 to return a family-owned ice cream parlor to Harlem after the community was left without one when the neighborhood’s main Thomforde ice cream parlor closed in 1983 after serving an upper Manhattan village for eight decades.
Sugar Hill now has three locations across the city.
While enthusiastic about the evolution of the ice cream industry, the classically trained chef scoffs at some of the popularly noted concoctions.
“I find sometimes they pay the intruder line in exchange for being good,” he said. “Because I come from a chef background, I’m kind of skeptical.”
Whatever you feel about National Ice Cream Day, it’s clear that Americans love the icy treat. Market research firm Top Data reports a 29% increase in demand for ice cream in the US compared to last year, with New Yorkers choosing the coffee flavor as their number one.