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Boston chefs explore unusual ice cream flavors

Coffee ice cream is scooped at The Ice Creamsmith in Dorchester. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Coffee ice cream is scooped at The Ice Creamsmith in Dorchester. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Nothing says summer like ice cream. But do you stick to the classics, like vanilla and chocolate? Or do you like to venture out with flavors like passionfruit, burnt caramel and green tea?

Gus Rancatore, owner of Toscanini's Ice Cream, and chef Joe Gatto of From Scratch joined Radio Boston to share some of their favorite creative ice cream flavors. Espresso chipotle is a surprising smash hit.

Interview Highlights

On favorite childhood memories of ice cream: 

Rancatore: “I’m one of five children, and I remember my father confronting the Good Humor man, who always wanted to sell us five popsicles. And being a child of the Depression, he always wanted to get those popsicles you could split in two and divide them. We’d get half a popsicle, and he might take one himself.”

On surprisingly popular flavors: 

Rancatore: “I think probably Grape Nut, which is a Caribbean flavor that a lot of customers wonder why we make. But it’s very popular, because we have a lot of customers from the islands. Sometimes we put raisins in it, and sometimes we make it straight up. If you go to Caribbean festivals in neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Franklin Park, you’ll see Grape Nut everywhere. Sort of surprisingly, Grape Nut ice cream is also popular with people from northern New England and the Maritime Provinces, and I don’t understand why there’s this geographic discontinuity.”

 On espresso chipotle ice cream: 

Gatto: “With the spice, which is a smoked habanero in adobo, the fats from the heavy cream and the milk are going to wrap your tongue, so you’re going to get a little heat, but it’s going to be tasty.”

“I left the chipotles just with little pieces. It chews like a cherry, but you still get a little bit of smokiness and heat with that espresso. I thought they played off each other and gave it what I’m always looking for when I’m cooking, which is balance.”

On making ice cream at home: 

Gatto: “This is a very simple process. You’re using ingredients you typically have at home: milks, heavy cream. You can make it simple. I think it’s called Philadelphia style, when there’s no eggs involved. You can take the eggs out of the equation and just go with simple milk, heavy cream and sugar that you’re melting down. You can steep the espresso. The one I made, it took 20 minutes to make and 20 minutes in the ice cream machine.”

This segment aired on July 15, 2022.


Sydney Boles Associate Producer
Sydney Boles was an associate producer for Radio Boston.


Tiziana Dearing Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.



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