The delights of summer

AS the warming weather gives us the first sniff of summer my mind drifts to memories of great summers past. Of Sundays spent in the paddle pool in the backyard, or on the back porch, cool watermelon juice and seeds dribbling down my chin.

Later it was the beach with “the gang”, where we braved the surf and the laughter of those who hadn’t developed winter tans.

But best of all was the ice cream.

The origins of ice cream are the subject of any number of myths and legends. Everyone from Charles I, Marco Polo and Elvis have had a dig at claiming they invented or created the frozen wonder. It seems that the forerunner of ice cream was the ‘slushee’, which has been around since that old soak Alexander the Great had ice brought down from the mountains to cool his wine before battle.

Marco Polo is said to have brought the slushee idea back from China, where exotic fruit juices were mixed with ice.

The fine-tuning of ice cream was left to the Italians during the Renaissance, however. Chefs of the rich and famous would churn out sweetened creamy concoctions that ultimately became the first Italian ice creams and gelato.

Modern ice cream facts provide some interesting reading. For instance, the world’s most popular flavour of ice cream is vanilla followed by chocolate and ice cream with nuts in it. And I was surprised to learn that the Kiwis are the world’s leading consumers (per capita) of ice cream. Australia comes in fourth behind the Canadians and the Americans.

My search for Perth’s perfect ice cream led me to Fremantle’s high street and Simmo’s of Dunsbourgh, WA’s first home-grown ice cream franchise.

This is real ice cream, no additives and no artificial colouring.

Real fruit is used and only the freshest milk is added, says Fremantle franchisee owner Mike Minutelo. The Dunsbourgh home of Simmo’s Ice Cream has access to dairy country right outside the back door, so the cattle feed on some pretty lush grass and produce fantastic milk.

Simmo’s has an enormous range of flavours to choose from and new flavours are constantly being introduced and created to enhance the range.

The Fremantle store has a rotating range of about 50, with the most popular being mint choc chip, mars (just like a mars bar), white chocolate with maltesers, and the strange combination of cinnamon with ginger.

And Simmo’s also will create ice cream to suit. Last weekend, for example, they made a blue ice cream with Grand Marnier and a strawberry swirl for the Bridgetown Blues festival.

One of the more unusual flavours is the squashed frog. The green represents froggy flesh, the white chocolate chunks the bones, the dark chocolate chunks the eyes and the strawberry swirl blood. It is one of the more popular ice creams they serve, especially with boys.

Some of the adult flavours include pinacolada – with coconut, coconut rum and pineapple swirl –the whiskey prune marscarpone or Cointreau choc chip.

While the full range of tasting notes will take some time to compile, I will go off early and give my detailed comments on the mango passionfruit sorbet ………. “Yummm”.

With Christmas just around the corner I’d advise you try the Xmas pudding ice cream that will be available in a few weeks. You can even order for Christmas. And Mick tells me that you can taste the brandy running through the ‘pudding’.

Simmo’s in Fremantle is open from 10am to 10pm on weekdays and 11am to 12pm on weekends next to the Dome at 11 South Terrace.

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