Last month I was invited to an ice cream social by the California Milk Advisory board. I wasn’t going to turn that opportunity down. July is National Ice Cream month and they were showcasing the ice cream produced by California dairy farmers. I walked in and was surprised to see my fellow Dreamer into Doer friend Janis Elspas, the Mommy Blog Expert.
Danielle Keene, from Top Chef Desserts and owner of Bittersweet, shared recipes and creative mixtures for serving ice cream. We were sitting on the patio with full sun so the ice cream melted a bit before even being served. In the heat of the day the ice cream was a refreshing treat.
I was born and raised here in California but didn’t know that we are the nation’s largest milk producer since 1993 and is also the country’s leading producer of butter, ice cream, yogurt, nonfat dry milk and whey protein concentrate. More than 1,620 dairy families stand at the center of the state’s vast and growing dairy industry. The state’s dairies house 1.75 million milk cows and last year alone produced 136.5 million gallons of ice cream. 136.5 million gallons of ice cream!
99% of the dairies in California are family owned. I had the opportunity to speak with one of those families, John and Essie Bootsma from Norco. John came from a farming family and has passed on his love for farming to their family. Their daughter now has her own farm. They were the sweetest couple, childhood sweethearts dating in high school and marrying. I loved talking to them and hearing their family story. Essie is known as The Dairy Lady and you can see a bit of their story here.
They kept bringing platter after platter of sundaes to sample until we couldn’t eat any more. My favorite was the Grown-Up Chocolate Sundae: Humboldt Organic Chocolate ice cream with bitter chocolate syrup, sprinkled with smoked salt and pink peppercorns. I loved the pairing of smoked salts and ice cream.
Another favorite was On The Beach Sundae featuring Thrifty Coconut Pineapple ice cream drizzled with lemongrass syrup, garnished with a bamboo skewer of grilled pineapple and sprinkled with toasted shaved coconut. This one was super refreshing.
When they talked about McConnell’s Ice Cream I remembered going as a child to visit their ice cream shop in Santa Barbara on summer vacations. They have grown and now you can find them in select grocery stores.
I came home thinking how easy but unique these sundaes were. Any of these combinations would make a delicious ending to a summer dinner.
Enjoy these other ice cream pairings.
Peach Melba with Thyme: Fresno State Peach ice cream on a disc of thyme-flavored meringue, with roasted strawberry sauce
Frozen Vietnamese Coffee: McConnell’s Turkish Coffee drizzled with cinnamon infused condensed milk and sprinkled with caramelized coffee beans.
Strawberry, Basil & Balsamic Sundae: Crystal Strawberry ice cream, drizzled with
aged balsamic vinegar reduction and garnished with deep-fried basil leaves.