Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge over Vanilla Ice Cream We have been serving chocolate and caramel sauce in our shops for the past six years, and I feel we’ve pretty much perfected them. Hot fudge sauce, however, is something that I miss from time to time. It can be time-consuming to make, but it is so tasty that I’ve been considering adding it to the mix. I feel I’m pretty close with the following recipe, and I’ve also worked on a method of cutting the time down for preparation (some recipes take upwards of two hours to make). If you want to try it:

Hot Fudge Sauce


150g 70% chocolate
100g butter
100g cocoa
300g sugar
150ml cream
100ml milk

What to do:

1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering (not boiling) water.

Fudge cooking2. Add the cocoa and stir until it is completely integrated.

3. Keep the chocolate mix warm in the double boiler.

4. Combine the sugar, milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture boils. Remove from the heat.

5. Add the hot milk mixture to the warm chocolate mixture as follows – add one sixth of the liquid, stir until the liquid is completely incorporated, then add the next sixth, stirring again, and continue thus until all the liquid has been added.  

Hot Fudge Sauce6. It will clump at first, and it may separate, but keep adding a bit of the milk mixture and stirring it in until the sauce is glossy and smooth.

7. Serve the fudge sauce warm over ice cream! 

Note: This makes quite a bit of sauce, but you can keep it refrigerated for a couple of weeks (if you have that kind of self-control!) 

Technorati tags: , , , ,  

Fógra: Tourists Beware!

An Daingean/Dingle Sign Killarney Almost everything we do centres on making our customers happy, and we pride ourselves on doing so. Recently, however, we have been getting feedback from more and more customers who are angry about something that is out of our control – road signs.

An Daingean SignA few months ago, just before the An Daingean/Dingle/Daingean Uí­ Chúis plebiscite to decide the town name, which I wrote about here, the government taped over the name “Dingle” on all road signs leading to the town. The name of the town is in limbo at the moment, but the road signs only point to “An Daingean.”

Dingle is in the Gaeltacht (designated Irish speaking area), and road signs within the Gaeltacht are in Irish only (rightly so, in my opinion). However, when tourists arrive in Killarney, Tralee, or Farranfore, which are all outside the Gaeltacht, most of them are looking for the town of Dingle. They don’t know about An Daingean.

And so we listen to tales of woe from people who have wasted precious hours of their holiday driving around in circles, searching in vain for a town that is in guidebooks and on maps as “Dingle” but on the road signs as only “An Daingean.” 

The Irish language is a valuable asset to the area in many ways, including tourism. Tourists will have exposure to the Irish language when they arrive in West Kerry, and it will enrich their experience. The purpose of road signs in Tralee, Farranfore and Killarney, however, should be that tourists do arrive and do so as quickly and easily as possible.

Sign SpiddalWhat sense does it make to remove the Dingle name from signs outside of the Gaeltacht without any coordination with maps, guidebooks, GPS systems, etc.? We are dependent on tourism in West Kerry, and the signs are confusing many of the people we are trying to attract, making their first experience of the area a negative one.

Signs are bilingual elsewhere in the country outside of Gaeltacht areas (see photo right), and I cannot understand why the same can’t be true in Kerry, at least until there is agreement on the town name and full coordination with all relevant publications.

In the mean time, if you’re heading this way, make sure you have a good bi-lingual map – one that has the Irish names of towns in a legible font size. Better still, get a GPS. You’ll find “Dingle” listed on all of them.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

10 Things to Give up for Lent

Assorted chocolates We’re into Lent (a Teutonic word meaning simply “Springtime”), but it certainly doesn’t seem to have made any difference to our customers in the Dingle shop, where we had a huge day today, serving out lots of chocolate, coffee, ice cream, etc.

Of course, I don’t have any problem with that, since fasting traditionally meant giving up meat, and we have none on offer. I wrote about sweets and Lent last year (here), and I don’t think I’ll add more except to say that there cannot be any doubt in my mind about hot chocolate being perfectly ok during any fast, since the Vatican made a pronouncement in 1662, allowing it (more here). 

What I will do is add my second annual list of things to give up for Lent:

  1. Crab Cappuccinos (or any such appetisers or in between courses)
  2. Any “Super-sized” food item
  3. Drinking at home in a rural area (Irish country pubs need the business, and we might as well keep our taxi drivers happy too)
  4. Being in such a hurry
  5. Fake chai (chai is not a syrup!)
  6. Eating in the car (excluding snacks)
  7. Non-ripe supermarket fruit, especially those white, tasteless strawberries
  8. Any cake that goes by the name of “Gateau,” unless you happen to be in France
  9. Tipping for terrible service
  10. Diet minerals or anything labeled “low fat” that has high calories and dubious sugar substitutes

Technorati tags: , , , ,

A Baking Day

We had a baking day in production with 6 of us, working on new recipes and combinations of flavours for cakes for the shops. It's really one of my favourite things, playing with taste and coming up with new combinations. 

I think the winner was our take on an Irish coffee cake - a chocolate sponge (with me, there always should be some chocolate) with a layer of whiskey cream, frosted with coffee cream. Keep an eye out for it in Dingle and Killarney!

Technorati tags: , , ,

Thanks to Everyone who Voted

Blog Awards

Ice Cream Ireland has made the short list for the Irish blog awards in two categories: Best Specialist Blog (along with Ask Direct, Beaut.ieOne Breast Less, and The Waiting Game) and Best Business Blog (along with Allagi Blog, Argolon, Ask Direct, BH Consulting Blog, and Biz Growth News). I am most delighted to be in such esteemed company, and there were also many great blogs that sadly didn’t make the short list. Best of luck to everybody…

And thanks, thanks, thanks to all of you who voted! Your vote did count!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Easter Chocolates Come Early

Lorge Chocolate Easter Eggs I do love this business! Easter is still a ways away – we are not even into Lent, but this morning, when I went into our Killarney shop for a staff meeting, there was a full array of chocolate Easter products on display.

Lorge ChocolatesThese were Lorge chocolates, and Benoit Lorge himself was on hand to explain his line to us and to supervise tasting. Not a bad way to start the day!

His Easter eggs are huge, and he has them available filled with chocolate pralines and unfilled. The prices seem quite reasonable given the size and decoration (€10-30), and I’m sure they will be a success.

Lent might seem even longer this year!

Technorati tags: , , ,

Valentine’s Day, Part 2

Valentines Sundae Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a raspberry sorbet and strawberry ice cream sundae we’re making for Valentine’s day…

We also made champagne sorbet, and even some pink champagne sorbet for our shops to make the day special for our customers.

Champagne Sorbet with Raspberry creamBy the way, a handy little trick if you’re making a romantic dessert this evening is as follows:

Whip some cream and once it is firm mix in some crushed or pureed raspberries or strawberries until they are completely incorporated.

It gives you a dramatically pink cream for decoration. And even better, it tastes good too!

Technorati tags: , , , , ,  

Valentine’s Day

Valentines Hearts Here at Ice Cream Ireland, we’re fans of Valentine’s Day, which is coming up fast. Love is always a good thing to celebrate, and loved ones can always use the extra attention. Besides, any tradition that involves eating chocolates is a tradition I can happily get behind. 

So what is Valentine’s Day anyway? A bit of history:

The Romans Know How to Party

Valentine’s Day is probably based upon the Roman holiday of Lupercalia, a fesitival celebrating the Goddess Juno Februa. The name probably comes from Lupus (wolf in Latin) in honour of the wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus, who are credited with founding the city. It is said that one of the traditions including men randomly picking love poems (written by women) from an urn, and thereby selecting their partner for the duration of the festival. 

The Church Has a Better Idea 

St ValentineIn 496, Pope Gelasius I declared the 14th of February a feast day in honour of St. Valentine. Which Valentine is a bit of a mystery, as there were at least three St. Valentines, at least two two of whom are thought to have been martyred on February 14th (possibly the most important of the three was a Gnostic Christian in Alexandria, who wrote and preached about love). 

One of the most prevelant stories about St. Valentines is that he was imprisoned and martyred for perfoming Christian weddings after they were banned by Emperor Claudius II. Another story is that the daughter of his jailor fell in love with him after he miraculously restored her sight, and when Valentine was being led off to his martyrdom he left her a little note, naturally ending “…from your Valentine.” 

St. Valentine: An Irish Angle

Valentine RelicThe relics of one of the St. Valentines (Valentine of Rome) were given by the Holy See in 1836 to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, where they are stored. 

Or Is the Day Norwegian? 

In Norway, this time of year is dedicated to the god Vali, son of Odin, and called ‘Lios-beri’ or light bringing. Vali was worshipped as an archer and said to be the awakener of tender thoughts and the patron of lovers. 

Chaucer makes it literary

In 1382, Chaucer made the first literary romantic reference to Valentine’s Day in his “Parlement of Foules.” He wrote, “For this was on seynt Volantynys day, Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese [chose] his make [mate].”

Romance? Has to be the French 

The earliest surviving Valentine’s is a poem by Charles, the Duke of Orleans, to his wife, written while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. 

Who Made It About Chocolate? 

The first Valentine’s chocolates were marketed in a heart-shaped box by Richard Cadbury in 1861. Solid chocolate as we know it was a recent invention at the time! 

Top 5 Romantic Tips from Ice Cream Ireland

Valentines Chocolates1. Spice Things Up: Make the Aztec Hot Chocolate. Both chocolate and chilli peppers are generally thought to be aphrodisiacs. 

2. Go Over the Top: Champagne Sorbet will always get a bit of attention. Serve it with fresh fruit or chocolates.

3. Get in the Spirit: Be creative in serving up some ice cream with alcohol such as the black and white cocktail, though that one might need a bit of colour!

4. Feeling Saucy? Make some chocolate sauce. Use it to dunk fresh strawberries. Of course there are other uses for chocolate sauce, but that is none of my business!

5. Chat them up: Take time for a romantic chat over a cup of coffee. Naturally, bring out the chocolates. For an extra bit of sweetness with your coffee, try an affogato.

Technorati tags: , , , , ,