We celebrated National Ice Cream Day yesterday (it’s the third Sunday in July), by taking a short trip to Mah Ze Dahr bakery in Greenwich Village.
In addition to the glorious cakes, cookies and bars, hand pies, scones and savories, the bakery provided our first experience with made-from-scratch soft serve.
Every other soft serve we know of starts with a base mix, from which the establishment can add flavors. Not Mah Ze Dahr.
Everything is made from scratch: the ice cream, the glorious waffle cones with a bit of cinnamon (the best cones we’ve ever had), even the “Magic Shell” chocolate syrup that is added to the bottom of the cone, where it hardens to stop drips.
If the chef could make her own sprinkles—and grow her own coffee and tea, for that matter—we have no doubt she’d do it.
The toppings include the shop’s excellent brownies, peanut brittle and tiny meringues, plus “imported” favorites like sprinkles, M&Ms and chopped walnuts.
Mah Ze Dahr is the passion project of Umber Ahmad, a former investment banker whose passion for great flavors inspired her to bake professionally.
In Urdu, the word mazedar describes “the taste essence of food, its flavor and magic that make it delicious.
“This one word captures the life of a taste experience, unique to each person but cohesive in its stories,” says Umber. “It represents something that one cannot describe but wants to experience over and over again.”
Umber was “discovered” by restaurateur Tom Colicchio, who created the Colicchio Discovery Platform to identify and mentor the most promising food enterprises.
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
The charming shop at 28 Greenwich Avenue, a block west of Sixth Avenue, transports you to a lovely place: You could be in The Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard. When we visited, the calm, casual beauty of the place—not to mention the contents of the pastry cases—was an oasis.
We agree! In addition to enjoying the soft serve on site, we bought a pastry sampling to take home (where the six pieces lasted, oh, an hour or so, and we looked mournfully at the empty boxes the next day).
The memories of the lemon pound cake, brioche doughnut filled with pastry cream, banana bread and “everything” brioche braid make us wish for more—now!
While you can’t get the soft serve online, most of the baked goods can be ordered at MahZeDahrBakery.com.
And with that, we’re planning our next visit. We must have the lemon meringue cake, the flourless dark chocolate cake (send one to a gluten-free friend), the carrot cake, the chocolate choux, and…[sounds of racing out the door].
FROZEN CUSTARD HISTORY
Fruit ices were invented in China (around 2000 B.C.E.), and gelato/ice cream was created in Florence in the 1500s.
Frozen custard (a.k.a. soft serve) was invented in the New York in the early 19th century.
Here’s the history of frozen custard.
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