Get the Scoop on Artisan Ice Cream

Saturday, November 7, 2015 | 3:17 am

_MG_5495Artisanal food is a return to the homemade goodness that many people nostalgically associate with the “good old days” of cooking. It takes us back to the days when we knew the milkman and bought our produce directly from farmers.

From beer to cheese and ice cream, it’s an artisan revolution. Jessica Mortarotti, the co-founder of Carmela Ice Cream, is one of the leaders of the revolution. She has been crafting frozen treats with produce directly from the farmer’s market for almost ten years.

_MG_5505Her love of ice cream led her to try her hand at making this creamy treat and work with local farmers to find flavor inspiration.

“[At] one of our first farmer’s markets, one of the farmers came up to me and [asked], ‘Will you taste my cucumbers and try to make a cucumber sorbet? I think it sounds really good,’” Mortarotti said. The end result? You guessed it: Cucumber sorbet. Most of Carmela’s ice creams are seasonal so you know that what you’re eating is at the peak of freshness.

_MG_5509This fall, Carmela Ice Cream offers a Spiced Apple Sorbet made with tart Granny Smith Apples.

“It kind of helps the flavor really come very strongly and we pair that with seasonal spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, it has a little bit of orange and lemon zest. So it’s fun flavor, lots of going on,” said Mortarotti. This flavorful sorbet pairs particularly well with their Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

Other seasonal flavors include, Brown Butter Sage, Pomegranate and Mint. What sets Carmela Ice Cream _MG_5514apart is its intense flavors. Mortarotti credits this to the fresh ingredients and a French custard style ice cream base she developed. This base uses uses milk and egg yolks, “it just gives you a little bit more of a flavorful creamy texture, [and a] more stable final product,” she said.

But developing this tasty product was not easy – food artisans don’t necessarily have ice cream coursing through their veins. Mortarotti was not born into the business.

_MG_5497“When Zach and I started the business about eight years ago, we hadn’t ever made ice cream before… it was literally a full learning curve,” she explained. “I had to learn how to make ice cream and the way I did it was by practicing at home. The classes are definitely a tribute to that.”

Carmela Ice Cream offers seasonal ice cream-making classes each quarter. This November, Spiced Apple Sorbet and Salted Caramel Ice Cream are on the menu.

These ice cream intensives are a tribute to Mortarotti’s ice cream-making process. Guests will learn the ins and outs of ice cream making and make the exact flavors Carmela Ice Cream sells at their scoop shops and farmer’s markets.

Mortarotti wants to spread the ice cream love and she isn’t worried about divulging her recipes. “We don’t really feel like there’s that many secrets in ice cream,” she said.

Get the scoop on artisanal ice cream at one of Carmela Ice Cream’s classes on Saturday, November 7, 14 or 21.

Classes are held at 2495 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 797-1405 or visit for more details.


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