Today, after my Louis XIV lecture, I wandered the streets of Paris enjoying the lovely spring day. I was headed in the direction of La Cuisine, and I stopped to picnic in the jardin behind Notre Dame with half a baguette and a chunk of brie. Bliss. I thought to myself, how could this lunch be any better? And then I had a revelation. Ile-St. Louis was only minutes away, and that meant that Berthillon, the famous Ice Cream shop could be in my future. I had read about Berthillon in my book, "Stuff Parisians Like" and my parents tried it last week and also gave it glowing reviews.
I haven't spent much time on Ile-St. Louis, it's a charming island, and not nearly as overrun with tourists as Ile de la Cite. However, there were a few tourists around (complete with Rick Steves guidebooks) who also seemed to be searching for the renowned ice cream parlor. I found the original store (founded in 1954) and stepped inside.
Thanks google for a pic of the inside of the store! (I wasn't sure how keen they were on pictures inside, Laduree doesn't like people snapping pics of their products....)
Luckily it wasn't too crowded, and the small line in front of me turned out to be a blessing because I needed a moment to choose my flavor. There was vanilla, chocolate, white chocolate, strawberry, caramel, salted butter caramel, and blackberry, just to name a few. I decided to go for the strawberry. I stepped back outside into the spring sunshine with my "boule de fraise"(scoop of strawberry).
"un boule de fraise"
I had my first bite after snapping this picture. Mon dieu it was good. It was just like eating pureed strawberries picked at the peak of the season. I honestly don't know if I would call it ice cream, it was more like fruity sorbet, not creamy like ice cream. Or perhaps this is how ice cream is supposed to taste. It gave Kawartha Dairy (my favorite Canadian ice cream) a run for its money. But it's almost impossible to compare the two. Kawartha is more creamy and rich, whereas Berthillon is lighter and had a stronger flavor. I guess I'll just have to go back and try their other flavors. All in the name of scientific research of course! Here are a few quotes I found on ice cream.....
I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream. ~Heywood Broun
Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos. ~Don Kardong
Ice cream is happiness condensed. ~Jessi Lane Adams
Never trust a skinny ice cream man. ~Ben Cohen