Aside from a constant stream of delicious things to eat, the nice thing about working in the specialty food space is that the “discoveries” never end.
Just in time for National Ice Cream Sandwich Day (August 2nd), we came across something new at Dolce Gelateria in Greenwich Village (33 Barrow Street, just east of Seventh Avenue).
In addition to 24 appealing flavors of gelato (the cantaloupe is the hands-down winner in a tasty field), Dolce Gelateria introduced us to the gelato ice cream sandwich—on a brioche roll.
Proprietor Salvatore Potestio says that’s how ice cream sandwiches have always been served in his native Sicily. He scoops what seems more than a half pint of gelato—your choice of two flavors—onto a hamburger-size brioche roll.
We ate ours like an overstuffed sandwich, without the colorful little gelato spoon. As large as the portion was, we soldiered on, finishing every last crumb.
Then we went home and tried it with almond croissants, chocolate croissants, plain croissants and King’s Hawaiian Bread. It works with all of t hem!
Serve an ice cream sandwich on brioche. Photo courtesy Dolce Gelateria | New York City.
Dolce Gelateria always has 24 flavors on hand. There are the classic Italian flavors—caramel, chocolate, coconut, coffee, mango, mint chip, mixed berry, olive oil (made with oil from the Potestio family groves in Sicily), pistachio, stracciatella (chocolate chip) and strawberry, plus seasonal fruits (currently including blackberry and the celestial cantaloupe).
They are joined by “American” flavors that Salvatore created to acknowledge his kids, American college students: in Almond Joy, Butter Pecan, Nutella*, Rice Pudding and a constantly growing roster.
House-made waffle cones are about eight inches tall—the NBA of ice cream cones. We preferred them to the equally tall imported Italian cones, which are still an improvement over the wafer-like American cake cones, which have less flavor and body than a sugar cone or a waffle cone.
BACK TO THE BRIOCHE ICE CREAM SANDWICH
Wait a minute. What is brioche, that most buttery and eggy of French breads, doing in Sicily?
Salvatore references the Norman conquest of southern Italy, including the island of Sicily, which spanned most of the 11th and 12th centuries. With the conquerors came the bakers, and ultimately the brioche.
The first recorded use of “brioche” in French dates from 1404, the very beginning of the 13th century. So on the great food timeline, the reference works.
Given the random survival of printed records (destruction by fire, earthquake, war, general decay, etc.), foods and any items and practices can be in use for decades before a printed reference appears.
It should also be noted that, while fruit juice-flavored ices have been around since about 2000 B.C.E., gelato was invented in the 14th century. (Here’s the history of ice cream.)
HOW TO IMPROVE ON THE SICILIAN ICE CREAM SANDWICH
Switch the brioche for King’s Hawaiian, a line of breads based on a Portuguese sweet bread recipe. They’re made in a variety of ever-so-delicious styles: burger, dinner, hot dog, mini sub and sandwich buns and rolls, plus loaves and sliced bread.
Founded in Hawaii in the late 1950s, the company now has a bakery on each coast and national distribution. Look for them at your retailer, or ask the store manager to bring them in.
Our whole family has fallen for King’s Hawaiian, a recent Top Pick Of The Week.
King’s Hawaiian and any flavor from Dolce Gelateria (or your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt) are a match made in heaven. Enjoy them on National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.