Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bakery Review - Ici Ice Cream

Ici Ice Cream - visited July 20, 2014
After lunch at Bowl'd, we headed back to Berkeley for dessert from Ici Ice Cream. Resist the urge to pronounce "Ici" as "icy". I know, it's hard if you're not French because you see ice cream and instinctively want to pronounce it wrong but "ici" means "here" in French and is therefore pronounced like "easy" but with a soft "s" sound instead of a "z" sound. Or think of pronouncing it as "Eeee Ceee" Ice Cream - close enough.
When we got to Ici, the shop was pretty crowded but it appeared we came at a good time because when we drove by later on our way home, there was a line out the door and along the sidewalk. If you don't mind spending $4-5 on a scoop of ice cream (and let's be clear, I don't mind - research once again), I can understand why.
Before I get to the ice cream, I was distracted by the offerings of baked goods in the display cases. Those were a nice surprise since I thought Ici was "just" an ice cream shop. Ah, how wrong I was.
They had a surprisingly wide variety and very nice selection of different baked goods, from whole Baked Alaskas to bite-size individual desserts and little cookies. All super cute. I treated everyone for the ice cream and my niece bought me an assortment of bite-size desserts for me to try later. She knows all about my research for this blog and she wanted me to try out different options. Awww.
Now let's talk about the ice cream. According to my niece, Ici makes different flavors daily and you're allowed to ask for taste tests of up to 3 different ice creams. The helpful counter staff will ask which ones you want to try, go behind the counter, dig around the frozen ice cream vats and come back with little spoons cradling mini scoops of the taste tests you requested.
My niece asked for 3 taste tests and settled on the lavender honey. On her advice and experience, we both opted to get our scoops in the homemade waffle cones. They fill the bottom point with chocolate so no ice cream will melt out into your palm. Brilliant.
Lavender Honey
I confess that once I saw a flavor labeled "Vanilla Fudge Salted Almond", I had pretty much made up my mind, even without a taste test. One of my favorite ice cream flavors is mocha almond fudge and this looked like an upscale riff on that. I tried the sample taste test but since I had already decided that was "my" flavor, I didn't feel the need to try 2 other flavors. Oh, and yeah, that's two scoops you see in that picture and I downed all of it. I may be indifferent to ice cream 90% of the time but that leaves 10% for when I happen to be in an ice cream parlor. I'm a two-scoop minimum kind of girl. Good thing too since the ice cream was delicious, smooth and creamy while the salted almond made a nice contrast to the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream. Do I even need to mention the fudge ribboning throughout was also perfect?
Vanilla Fudge Salted Almond
My parents opted for the Cinnamon Pecan in a cup - waffle cones held no interest for them. No, I'm not adopted; that's just how they roll.
Cinnamon Pecan
With my double scoop of ice cream on a waffle cone, you can imagine I didn't have room for the little box of baked goods my niece got for me. I wasn't there when she was choosing from the bakery displays so when I got home, it was a nice surprise to open the box and see what she picked.
The bottom layer at the left of the picture below is a ginger molasses cookie that she said she'd had before and thought was "bomb" (millienial slang for "yummy-delicious"). She also chose (left to right) shortbread, coconut macaroons and Mexican wedding cakes.

I had to pace myself (freaking portion control and all that) so I consumed the treats over the next several days. They were all good. The ginger cookie had bold ginger molasses flavor like a good cookie of that kind should have. The coconut macaroons had great coconut flavor and the Mexican wedding cakes were just like the ones I make (that probably sounds vain, oh well).
But my absolute favorite of the whole box was the shortbread. I'm predisposed to like shortbread anyway but theirs is better than any I've made. It wasn't too buttery but it still had great flavor. But what I loved about it was the texture - it was soft but not crumbly. "Melt in your mouth" is such an overused cliche but an apropos one in this instance. Honestly, if I could make shortbread like that, I'd have my Christmas cookie of the year.
Mexican Wedding Cakes
Coconut Macaroons
Ginger Molasses Cookies
All in all, Ici Ice Cream was a fun place to visit and try out. If you go, I advise going on the early side. We were there right after lunch so maybe sometime between 2 and 3? Just an hour later is when the line was spilling outside of the shop.


  1. Tita, I should not have read this blog post at 9pm... the vulnerable hour that reminds of me of my inherent craving for cookies and ice cream! Glad you liked Ici though :)

    1. LOL, this is why I have emergency cookie dough in my freezer - ready to bake off for those moments :).