Thursday 28 July 2011

Ben & Jerry's Sundae Festival

A beautiful day in Clapham for eating ice cream

After a rather miserable couple of weeks of weather in England, the sun finally shone for Ben & Jerry's Sundae Festival in Clapham Common, London. Some of my friends that had been before told me that they had managed to eat a total of seven ice creams - I was definitely hoping to consume even more!

My friend and I began the challenge with a scoop of Fairly Nuts: caramel ice cream with praline almond clusters and caramel swirls.

Fairly Nuts

Whilst the ice creams were still in our hands, we went straight into another queue for our second ice cream - Cherry Garcia: cherries and dark chocolately chunks.

Cherry Garcia

My friend and I then went exploring. There was plenty going on inside the festival grounds including a helter-skelter, coconut shy, Pimms bus, toe wrestling, "Mystic Moo", two performance stages and plenty of food and drink stalls.


We quickly moved onto our third ice cream - Chocolate Fudge Brownie: chocolate ice cream laden with chocolate brownie pieces.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

This was the first time that I had ever tried Chocolate Fudge Brownie. I think that this is because it is a classic flavour and I always try to go for the newest or most unusual, so I had always avoided it. I was surprised how much I loved it!

I must admit that we started to feel a little bit sick at this point, so we then went for a more refreshing choice of Jamaican Me Crazy Sorbet: chunky pineapple sorbet with passion fruit swirls.

Jamaican Me Crazy

This was very refreshing and certainly cleansed our palettes in preparation for more rich and chocolately ice creams. Next up, after a quick rest, was the Chocolate Macadamia: chocolate and vanilla ice creams with fudge covered macadamia nuts.

Chocolate Macadamia

We were both surprised by how much we liked this one as it seemed like such a simple combination. We both really enjoyed the fudgy and chocolatey macadamias.

We then felt desperate for some salt to balance out all of the sugar that we had consumed, so we shared a bowl of chicken and chorizo paella.

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

It had a collection of meaty, salty and spicy flavours with chewy rice and tender meat. We could have eaten a bowl each, but we were only half way through our target of ten ice creams, so we needed to leave some room for the rest!

After the paella, we were ready for another drenching of sugar and cream. We tried one of Ben & Jerry's new ice creams - Coconutterly Fair: chocolate ice cream, coconut caramel swirls and chocolately covered caramel crunch.

Coconutterly Fair

This, surprisingly, wasn't as coconutty as I had expected.

We really wanted to try a 'wich (Ben & Jerry's ice cream sandwich) and were trying to find the ladies who were handing them out. During our search, we saw a short queue for Caramel Chew Chew: caramel ice cream with a caramel swirl and chocolatey covered caramel chunks, so, of course, we tried one.

Caramel Chew Chew

This was very caramelly indeed.

By this time, the festival was drawing to an end and the queues were becoming fairly short. The next stop was Baked Alaska: vanilla ice cream with marshmallow swirls and white chocolatey polar bears.

Baked Alaska

I am not a huge fan of overly-sweet desserts, so, unfortunately, this ice cream being too sweet for me, ended up in the bin.

Baked Alaska... in the bin

I hate wasting food but I just couldn't finish this one - sorry B&J!

We wanted something more refreshing and went in search of the Berry N'ice: strawberry ice cream with real strawberry pieces.

Berry N'ice

We thought, originally, that this was another sorbet but it turned out to be an ice cream. It had a wonderful fresh strawberry flavour and, even though it was an ice cream and not a sorbet, it was rather refreshing. After this we sampled the Strawberry Cheesecake: strawberry cheesecake ice cream with strawberries and cookie swirls.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Uh-oh, another sickly sweet ice cream. Having just had the Berry N'ice, we could really tell the difference between these two strawberry ice creams. After a few licks, this one had to be binned too...

The last ice cream of the day was Phish Food: chocolate ice cream with gooey marshmallow, caramel swirl and chocolatey fish shapes.

Phish Food

I am not sure if I am just more tolerant when it comes to chocolate, but I somehow managed to finish this without a problem, after having just rejected the Strawberry Cheesecake.

The Phish Food completed our total count of eleven ice creams! Not all of them were fully devoured, however, but most were, and all were sampled.

The bins were all overloaded with ice cream cones

At the beginning of the day I was very excited to see Pieminister. During Glastonbury last year, I consumed two of their pie meals (the Matador and Heidi pies) within the same hour. I was completely overwhelmed by their deliciousness. To my delight, because it was near the end of the day, Pieminister were selling their pies for only £3.50 with all the works! They were out of Matador pies (steak, sherry, chorizo and green olive) so I went for a "Blue Moo" (steak, stilton and rosemary) instead. I have no idea how I managed to consume this, with the minted peas, mash, crispy onions and "groovy" (gravy) after all of that ice cream, but somehow I did!

Blue Moo Pieminister Pie with mash, minted peas, crispy onions and "groovy"

My friend also ate a pie meal and we then waddled back to the station. I am pretty sure that we looked pregnant with our giant food babies!

What a wonderful food day indeed. Were any of you there?

Wednesday 20 July 2011

The Last Brunch of San Francisco

Firstly, I would like to apologise to my readers for neglecting my blog during the past few weeks! I have now completed my Study Abroad Year in California and have returned to England. I spent my last 30 days in California travelling around the West Coast and barely found time to sleep, let alone blog! So, please forgive me.

San Francisco is famous for its brunches and after having eaten brunch in various locations around San Francisco, I can conclude that my favourite place to have brunch in San Francisco is - yes, you've guessed it - Butterfly!

Every waiter/waitress must hate me. My love of all types of food gives me terrible difficulty in deciding which dish to order. Butterfly is, possibly, the worst victim of mine due to the fact that I find everything on their menu incredibly delicious.

Poached Eggs with Kalua Pig

I finally settled for a brunch dish that included the English Muffin and poached eggs. I ordered the Poached Eggs with Kalua Pig instead of the Poached Eggs with Smoked Salmon that I have ordered numerous times in the past. In a hurry to decide, I asked the waiter what Kalua Pig actually was. I had thought that it may have been similar to Canadian Bacon, but when the waiter replied "No, Miss, it's actually a type of slow-cooked shredded pork" I said "I'll have that then, please!"

Half-way through eating the Poached Eggs with Kalua Pig

What a fantastic decision that turned out to be. It was an absolutely stunning Benedict, my favourite so far! The tender and salty pork was drenched in hollandaise and the poached eggs were, as always, cooked with a runny yolk that oozed over the pork and added yet more richness to the creamy hollandaise. I was dreaming throughout the entire time that I was devouring this dish. The chunky chips (sorry, fries, in America) were crisp on the outside and perfect for mopping up those delicious salty and meaty residues. I then enjoyed refreshing my mouth with the mixed fruit bowl.

Kumquat Margarita

I accompanied my meal with a kumquat margarita (I have been obsessed with tequila ever since I visited Mexico last March) which complemented the richness and slight stodginess of the Poached Eggs with Kalua Pig. If only I could repeat the experience of this absolute dream of a meal every weekend!