Kitty Travers' La Grotta Ices

Kitty 1

Foodies rejoice, for Chinti and Parker have found the perfect, most scrumptious, antidote to this weekend’s hot weather forecast; Kitty Travers’ La Grotta Ices.  With locally sourced natural ingredients and seasonality at the heart of her mouth watering creations, she firmly receives the Chinti seal of approval.  Whether it’s her inventive Greengage and Gingersnap or Blackberry and Rose Geranium creations, or simply her refreshing Passionfruit Sorbet that gets your juices flowing, we recommend you head down to her takeaway window on Dockley Road, near Maltby Street Market, this weekend.

To whet your appetite, the Queen of ice cream reveals her inspiration, favourite flavours, and more importantly, the long awaited secret to combating those pesky ice cream headaches.

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You've travelled the globe in search of ice cream inspiration. In your opinion, which country has the best ice cream? 

It's interesting but each country's ice cream reflects the culture and geography of that place and, therefore, suits it best.  So in Brazil, ice creams were traditionally made with natural vegetable starch as a thickener - instead of egg yolks or cream - as it's more economical and lighter for the digestion in hot weather.  As it has no flavour it also allows the taste of the fresh fruits to shine.  At the other end of the scale, you get America's 'super premium' ice creams which are very rich because they have huge cattle herds and an abundance of wonderful dairy produce.  They usually mix their ice cream with roasted pecans, butter toffee or something similar.  In my opinion they are all good and probably the first thing I do when I travel is run around looking for the best ice cream shop and stand outside until it opens for breakfast!

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You combine some unusual, yet tantalising flavours. Where do you get your inspiration? 

I don't see the point in trying to imitate what other countries do, so my first point of inspiration is to draw produce from the British Isles and London mostly.  If you restrict what you are able to use then you have to look twice at what is available and be creative.  So I might use ingredients like pea pods, fig leaves or green walnuts to flavour my light fruity ices.  Also, things that grow together at the same time seem to have a natural affinity, for example apricots and chamomile.

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How often do you eat ice cream (as an indulgence, not quality control), and what flavour would you choose?

When I am relaxing on holiday, probably at least twice a day... but sometimes more!  In London I'm always working and so don't get about enough!   I do, however, eat my ice cream on Saturday on a Little Bread Pedlar brioche bun when I've finished at the market and am parched and exhausted and it tastes great! I don't think of it as indulgence though; La Grotta Ices are 50% whole fresh fruit.  It’s a luxury in that someone (me) has done all the work of selecting, washing, peeling, macerating and processing that fruit with organic milk and fresh cream into smooth ice cream but it’s not an extravagance - it's nutritious!  My idea of a perfect ice cream would probably be fresh peach.

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Any suggestions for combating an ice cream headache? 

Lick ice cream - don't bite it.  You get more flavours that way too, as you are literally painting the taste buds on your tongue!

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What flavours can we expect for autumn? 

The first autumnal flavours are just starting now with Greengage Custard and Gingersnap, Damson Frangipan Spumoni (tiny ice cream cakes) and Raspberry and Fig Leaf Choc Ices.  I add new flavours every week though, so it is best to keep an eye on the website or on twitter.