If you are tired of the rat race and want to get back to something a bit more real, then take inspiration from Julie Fisher, founder of Ruby Violet. Originally a photographer by trade, as the digital revolution started to take over Julie decided she wanted a change.
She started making ice cream at home to sell at Broadway market, and after a year of very encouraging sales and a growing fan base, she made the leap to open up her own shop in Tufnell Park and is now regularly listed as one of the best ice cream parlours in London.
Right from the start Julie decided there were going to be no compromises on quality or provenance of the ingredients, and wanted to locally source as much as she could. So she uses only organic milk (not homogenised as this makes better ice cream), free range eggs & British sugar, and has some unusual sources for some of her flavours.
These include Blackberries and damsons come from her home village of Flintham in Nottinghamshire, walnuts from one of her Customer's gardens in France, and honey from the bees of Kentish town, which is so local that when she's making honeycomb the bees all try to get back into the shop - seriously!
So after a warm welcome and quick introduction to Ruby Violet, Julie took us behind the scenes to learn more about the process and see one of her most popular ice creams being produced. The process always starts with 4 ingredients - Milk, Cream, Eggs & Sugar which are combined to make a base mix. This is quickly pasteurised and is then rested overnight to make a better, longer lasting ice cream.
As the base mix was poured into the batch freezer we got a chance to taste some of the more exotic ingredients and talk about how Julie creates some of her more unusual flavours, which have included Stilton & white port, Guinness & malted milk, and Chilli Chocolate made with the infamous x-rated Ribman sauce.
One of the great things about craft food is the provenance of the ingredients and how flavours do change with the seasons - unlike the supermarket, craft food doesn't always have to taste the same. Julie explains how she rotates her 18 ice cream flavours based on what is good that week, as well as how different varieties of fruit require tweaks to the final recipe.
Once the base mix started to freeze and had thickened up, it was ready to add the honey and after a few more minutes it was time to churn. We all got a chance to have a go, before what I have to say is one of my taste highlights of the year so far - freshly made honeycomb dipped into luscious Kentish town honey ice cream.
Then finally onto the main event - tasting the ice cream & creating our own sundaes from a choice of 18 delicious flavours including Julie's #1 seller Salted Caramel with Almond brittle, Chocolate sorbet, Stem Ginger frozen yoghurt or Masala chai. Together with a host of toppings including caramelised almonds, meringue pieces and fresh hot chocolate sauce this made a delicious end to a fascinating evening which everyone enjoyed.
We will shortly be repeating this event. For tickets and details of all our other events please click here.