THIS WEEKEND my aunt took my husband and me on the most spectacular ice cream adventure. Ici is the establishment that serves up such confectionery perfection. They had flavors like Chicory, Honey Basil, Candied Cocoa Nibs (delish), and my fave..Cardamom Candied Orange. The line was long and there were a few women around us who were just as anxious to jump right in to ice cream heaven. Chez Panisse protege, pastry chef Mary Canales opened this ice cream shop not long ago and it has become a sensation. It’s small, but the decor is elegant and welcoming. The “ice cream enthusiasts” behind the counter were friendly and helpful.
My husband and I established an iron-clad plan. He would taste two flavors, and I would taste two other flavors, we’d swap spoons and decide on the two choices we’d actually commit to. I tasted Chicory and Cardamom Candied Orange. He tasted Carmel Banana and the Candied Cocoa Nibs. All were better than any regular ice cream parlor, but the Cardamom Orange was spectacular. The orange was perfectly sweet, tart and chewy, and the cardamom was fragrant but subtle. The Candied Cocoa Nibs was a stellar flavor as well. It was crunchy, with intense cocoa flavor, and a little bitter with the sweet.
As if that wasn’t heaven in a bite, you can get their handmade sugar cookie cones with the surprising (though very practical) chocolate plug at the bottom. They use the freshest seasonal organic ingredients and you can really taste the difference.
Ici also uses compostable bowls and spoons. So…you are really doing a great service to the planet by giving in to your sweet craving. My husband and I generally prefer gelato over ice cream, but Ici is in a category of its own.
Ici Ice Cream is located at:
2948 College Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705