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Challenging Elements: Ginger


It doesn’t pop.” That’s what Drew Honness keeps saying as we walk out of his bright, friendly ice cream shop in downtown Louisville. In the last year, Honness’ Sweet Cow has become known for its creamy, smooth, delicious house-made ice creams with creative flavors that, well, pop.

Twenty-four hours prior, I had called Honness’ cell phone and left a message with his secret ingredient: ginger. Usually when you tell a chef his ingredient, you get a sense of whether the Challenge will actually be a challenge.

Turns out, ginger is not necessarily a test for an ice cream shop that has 127 flavors, including cereal-inspired, sweet corn and chocolate-bacon ice creams. Honness actually has two ginger flavors in his line-up. When we walked in, he was making both the ginger snap molasses (made with Reed’s ginger ale, butter and brown sugar) ice cream as well as a new creation, a ginger ice cream with candied ginger chunks and carrot chips.

“With ginger root,” he says, “you have to peel it, and it’s really hard to consume. We prefer fresh ginger powder. You make a paste with water, and then you blend it with the milk, cream and sugar.”

With waffle cones baking in the background, the Sweet Cow crew moves around the counters and the ice cream machine, pouring in and pouring out, tasting, adding ingredients, tasting more and walking to the freezer and so on.

“The basics are there, and now we just get to play with it,” he said. “Because of that, we’ve never had a bad batch. We’ve never thrown out a batch. We fix it. We add to it.”

That’s where we are when Honness sets down two large tubs. The ginger snap molasses is smooth and rich, thickened with ginger snap cookies, and nicely gingery. It tastes like fall. The ginger carrot chip ice cream is sweet and spiked with soft bites of spicy candied ginger and crisp, savory bursts of carrot. It’s well-balanced and totally creative. I “mmmm” out loud.

But Honness isn’t quite happy, and you can already see the wheels turning. “Yeah, the ginger just doesn’t pop in the carrot chip. We’ll need to get that perfected,” he said, turning to his associates. I nod, trying to tell him that it’s delicious.

Nope, he has perfection on his mind.

“We’ll get it to pop before the magazine comes out.”

Sweet Cow will have the ginger carrot chip ice cream available through August. They are located at 637 Front St., Barn Door B, Louisville. sweetcowicecream.com


email no info send march17th/09

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