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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ma La Ice Cream at Terre Adelice

I'm a sucker for ice cream.  Not just any ice cream, mind you, and if you know me even a little bit I may have already mentioned to you the existence of piment d'espelette or tomato ice cream.  You may have been appalled, but I may then have piqued your curiosity.  Opportunities involving such bizarre mixtures in dessert should never be passed up in one's life, because one does not know when that opportunity may come up again...especially when one has been waiting years for that 2 hour drive to happen so one could blissfully slurp that chili pepper ice cream while admiring the beautiful view of the Monts de l'Ardeche.
I've been frequenting the Terre Adelice here in Lyon for quite some time, enjoying flavors such as wasabi, goat cheese, bell pepper, pain d'epices, cucumber, ginger, pine nut, sesame.. and I'm not finished naming them all.  Their ice cream is such high quality and most of the time, organic, that I always must taste a different flavor every time I'm in the area.  Their website shows all the different flavors they make, and after consulting it for the first time, I felt lust at first sight.
I absolutely had to try the Piment d'Espelette ice cream.
Unfortunately, the one in Lyon doesn't carry that flavor (because it must be so rarely requested, being that we are in France, the country of wimpy palets.. hehe) so I had to seek out the social chair, about 150km south of here in a lovely region called Ardeche.
 This desire has been haunting me for quite some time.  I even went near the actual city of Espelette in search of an ice cream glorifying their precious chili pepper but to no avail.
The social chair is only open everyday during July and August.  The rest of the year it is only weekday afternoons and closes at 5pm.  This is the reason it took me so long to make the trip... but today was my lucky day...
Upon arriving I saw the Terre Adelice signs and followed the one that showed the "store" and tasting area.  I had to ring a bell for the girl to come down and open up for me.
As she opened the doors, I felt myself drool.  I had been imagining the mix of spicy sweet with numbing sweet.. the perfect Ma La dessert.. for ages.  When I saw the scoop section, I almost cried.  There were only the traditional flavors available.  Vanilla, chocolate, peach..
Please, lady, I just made a 2 and a half hour detour coming home from a business trip for your piment d'espelette and sichuan pepper ice cream and you're offering me vanilla?
I was only expecting to leave with my 2 scoops and then be off with a photo and a salivary memory.
Instead, I was off with 3 pints.  Piment d'espelette, Sichuan pepper, and beet.  No tasting these flavors, since nobody ever asks for them.
Ha (I thought to myself) I have an ice chest in the car, and I don't really care if it melts, I'm bringing some of that goodness home.

And in the end, it worked out better this way, because I will get to indulge over and over again in this sweet spicy numbing earthy dessert.
I would have driven (and did by the way) all across the country for this.

I do realize that those chiles in the photo are chile de arboles... but I didn't have any (fresh or dried) piment d'espelettes.  Oh my Chile de Arbole ice cream would be an extreme flavor.. I'm going to have to incept that idea into the people that harvest those fresh...
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