Thursday, August 21, 2008

Field Report: Christina’s Ice Cream

My co-worker Rebecca recently sojourned to the Boston area and happened upon newsworthy ice cream! I, too have been ice creaming in this part of the country. While in Boston I ate at J.P. Lick’s which features a wide variety of flavors. I sampled the accurately named cucumber and Disco Inferno (sweet cream with a hint of Tabasco). I purchased chocolate chip cheesecake and strawberry-rhubarb. Mmm, rhubarb. But enough about my silly life! Here’s the scoop on Rebecca’s findings:

Christina’s Ice Cream in Cambridge, MA has the single largest selection of flavors I’ve ever seen in an ice cream shop, and I’ve been to a lot of ice cream shops. After much deliberation, I narrowed it down to adzuki bean and carrot cake. I tasted both, and while the adzuki was good, it didn’t have the enough of the red bean flavor that I love in those steamed sweet rice Chinese nibbles wrapped in banana leaves that I don’t know the name of. So I opted for the carrot cake with a side of walnuts, and went with the economically sensible pint size. It is more than twice the size of an individual serving but only costs a little bit more, so the ice cream lasted me my whole weekend in Boston. The flecks of carrot in the ice cream went very well with the walnuts, but my one issue with it was the raisins. Because they were mixed into the ice cream, and not provided as an optional topping, the raisins were like hard little pebbles that you had to let sit in your mouth to soften before you could chew them. I would have preferred a side of plump golden raisins to sprinkle on top…but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Sarah, the resident Cambridgian, got a pint of her favorite flavor, burnt sugar. It was yummy but a bit sweet for me—it really did taste like someone just took a kitchen torch to a pile of table sugar. Patty split her pint between mint chocolate chip and blackberry, which was notable for just how fresh and sorbet-y it was, despite the fact it was a full-fat ice cream. Carly’s pistachio, with chunks of pistachios and a light sage-green color, was the perfect summer flavor (even though our summer weather was thunderstorms).

If you’re ever in Cambridge, I recommend a trip to Christina’s in Inman Square! Their website has a full list of flavors, including the puzzlingly named Nietzsche’s Chocolate Ascension and why-would-you-come-up-with-such-a-combination Wild Turkey & Walnut.

Note from 2012: I had opportunity to visit Christina's and, yes, it is good! In my humble opinion, Toscanini's is better, but try both and decide for yourself.

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