Screaming for Ice Cream

Chill out and scoop on this quintessential summer sweet! If you need an excuse to eat more ice cream this summer, we’ve got the scoop. Not only will we be hosting an Ice Cream Social noon-4 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at all three stores, but we’re also having a summer scoop sale this weekend (through July 22) featuring select brands of ice cream so you can share a pint with someone you love.

We carry some really cool (no pun intended) brands, with so many unique flavor combos. Keep reading below to hear a little bit about each.

VAN LEEUWEN ARTISAN ICE CREAM

This trendy Brooklyn-based ice cream is made with gorgeous high quality ingredients and has fun flavors like Honeycomb, Peanut Butter Marshmallow Crunch, and Earl Grey Tea. Vegan flavors also available!

COOLHAUS AWESOME ICE CREAM

Two women launched Coolhaus in 2009 with a barely drivable postal van at Coachella, a music festival. Now they have two scoop shops and a presence in a handful of retail stores, including DLM! The Milkshake & Fries flavor is all the rage with shoestring, crispy potatoes nestled within! Also cool is the Campfire S’mores, Dirty Mint Chip, and Buttered French Toast.

NEW ORLEANS ICE CREAM COMPANY

We’re melting for this ice cream that pays homage to the food-centric culture of Louisiana. Whether it be flavors like Coffee & Chicory, Baked Alaska, Bananas Foster, or Cherries Jubilee, these pints are singing the blues of the Big Easy in the best of ways.

JENI’S SPLENDID ICE CREAM

If you’re from Ohio, then you know this Love Local fave from Columbus. Jeni is indeed the woman behind this ice cream sensation and the James Beard award-winning chef who created the trend of Salty Caramel. Other favorite flavors of ours are Frosé Sorbet, Gooey Butter Cake, and Brambleberry Crisp.

DLM GELATO

Having quite an affection for all things gustatory from Italy, we knew we wanted to bring a gelato under the DLM private label umbrella. We found a local purveyor in Cincinnati and the rest is history. Look for favorite flavors like Killer Brownie® or Madagascar Vanilla, which is so dense with a rich vanilla bean flavor.

GRAETER’S

What would an ice cream article be without mention of Love Local Graeter’s? Not only do that keep all the Fiona hippo fans happy with their limited edition Chunky Chunky Hippo, but they keep our ice cream bowls full all year long with favorites.

HOMEMADE BRAND ICE CREAM

Look for Homemade Ice Cream featured at our Ice Cream Social this weekend.

As the Cincinnati-founded chain United Dairy Farmers grew, the Homemade Brand of ice cream was born in 1982 and has quickly become a freezer staple in homes across the country, boasting a Cookies ‘n Cream flavor made with real Oreo® cookies.

Wake Up! It’s Officially Summer!

Stumptown Coffee
I’m so excited that DLM now carries Stumptown Coffee! The flagship roaster and coffee bar was first opened in Portland, Oregon, in 1999. Stumptown has a huge following of coffee fans and has opened shops in Seattle, New York City, and Los Angeles.

Drop by and pick up one of their coffees – two of my favorites to try are Hair Bender and their Classic House Blend. Or, when it’s this hot outside try Stumptown’s Nitro Cold Brew from our cold drink cases.

So get caffeinated and get going this summer – you don’t want to miss a minute of it!

Drizzle Liberally: How to Make Pesto with Novello

Wondering how to make pesto from scratch? The Fall Harvest Vera Jane’s Novello Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is just the Earthy taste of spring you need and will help you in your pesto pursuits (keep reading for our perfect pesto recipe). In Tuscany, Italy, sits the Zanetti family’s farm, where the olives are grown that are used to make our very own Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.

The fruit of their labor is harvested once a year during a small window. Most of the oil will be stored and bottled as needed, but a select amount is sent to us as the first harvest for you to enjoy. We consider this the most exciting oil of the year with its grassy taste that explodes with freshness as it hits your mouth. It’s a special treat, indeed, and only distinguished as Novello for a limited time. What to do with it? Drizzle liberally. Here are a few ideas, including our recipe for perfect pesto.

  1. Drizzle on top of steamed vegetables, pasta, pizza, steak, or DLM Gelato.
  2. Use to lightly fry meats and seafood.
  3. Finish with a little sea salt, freshly ground pepper, or dried herbs and use as a dip for DLM Artisan Bread.
  4. Make bruschetta, a simple vinaigrette, or pesto!

HOW TO MAKE CHEF CARRIE’S PERFECT PESTO RECIPE

3 garlic cloves
½ tsp sea salt, or more to taste
3 oz basil leaves ( about 1 cup packed )
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
½ cup Vera Jane’s Novello Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

USING YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR
Pulse the garlic, salt, and pine nuts until finely minced. Add the basil and pulse until finely minced. Stir in the olive oil and cheese, and adjust seasoning according to taste if needed.

For more of an authentic pesto, use a mortar and pestle for a finer texture.

MORTAR AND PESTLE
Step 1: Combine the garlic salt and grind into a paste.

Step 2: Add the basil a handful at a time and grind in a circular motion; continue until all the basil is crushed.

Step 3: Add the pine nuts and crush into the paste, then grind in the cheese.

Step 4: Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until well incorporated. Ready to eat right away, or place in a covered jar with a small amount of additional olive oil.

PESTO USES

  • Toss with freshly cooked veggies
  • Mix into mayo
  • Drizzle over eggs
  • Smear on bruschetta
  • Dollop on soup

Making Sense of Balsamic Vinegar

There are many areas in the store where lots of variety is fun: chocolate bars, cheeses, and craft beers come to mind. Sometimes, however, too many choices can be positively confounding. Balsamic vinegar, I think, is an example of the latter, with varying sizes, shapes, and price points ranging from a few dollars a bottle to well over one hundred. You may wonder, “How much money should I spend?” “How many years should the vinegar be aged?” Then you have to navigate Italian terms such as “tradizionale” and “aceto”…mamma mia! Not to worry. Once you make some sense of it all, a little knowledge equips you to buy the right balsamic and the ticket to enjoying one of world’s great condiments. It’s health giving. It’s flavorful. And it’s a part of every well-stocked pantry. When it comes to classifying balsamic vinegar, you can think in three general categories: at the top end you have tradizionale, at the bottom end commerciale, and then there’s a huge middle ground with blends of varying degrees of the first two.

TRADIZIONALE AT THE TOP

Let’s start with the top, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale* is Italian for Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Now then, why would you ever spend over $100 for a few ounces for any condiment? Indeed, why is it so expensive? For one reason, you could say, you are buying a little slice of history when you buy a bottle. Let me briefly describe how it’s made. The grapes, usually trebbiano, are harvested then crushed into juice called “must,” and put into vats. At the first signs of fermentation, the must is filtered and then boiled in copper pots until its volume is reduced by about 50%. This concentrated sugary liquid is put into large wooden barrels to begin its fermentation. A small amount of “mother vinegar” is introduced and its yeast aids in turning must into vinegar instead of wine.
After a couple of years aging in large wine size barrels, the vinegar is now ready for aging in a battery of five handcrafted wooden casks of descending sizes. The types of wood used in the five barrels may vary as well, contributing different characteristics to the vinegar. A producer may, for example, use chestnut for color, juniper for aroma, cherry wood for sweetness, etc. Barrel filling takes place in the winter since the cold weather causes slow alcohol fermentation; thus, the brew is allowed to settle which clarifies the vinegar. In turn, the hot summer months contribute to evaporation and concentration of the vinegar. Once a year, they top off the casks to 4/5 full by replenishing the smallest cask with liquid from the second smallest, the second smallest with liquid from the next largest…and so on, down the line. Only the largest cask of the five casks is replenished with liquid that has been outside the series of five.
After a minimum of 12 years of aging, a small amount is drawn off of the smallest barrel for bottling. To receive the tradizionale designation, the vinegar has to undergo rigorous production examinations, and finally pass blind-taste testing by master tasters of the official consortium, ie cooperative. If the vinegar fulfills all the requirements, the consortium (not the producer) bottles and seals it. Additionally, if the vinegar is aged 25 years and passes all the tests, it can be labeled as extra vecchio (extra-old). You can see why tradizionale is so costly when you see how the producer has invested so much money, not to mention many years nurturing it to maturity.

COMMERCIALE BALSAMIC

If you just get to the first stage described above, you essentially have the entry level balsamic, at least with the best producers. (On the other hand, beware of some cheap vinegars that contain added coloring and flavor.) Our producer, the respected Manicardi family of Modena, does things the right way for their entry level vinegar. That is, they use only cooked must that has been aged for 2 years in wooden barrels. We’ve offered this very product for many years now under our own label as “Aunt Angie’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.” We named it after my Dad’s oldest sister, whose father Frank emigrated from Italy. Aunt Angie was always proud of her Italian heritage, so we named this vinegar in her honor. We sell it for only $7.99 for a 500ml bottle. Although we have a couple of other lower priced balsamics on our shelves, our Aunt Angie’s is by far the best we offer in this category.

NEW! DLM AGED BALSAMIC VINEGAR OF MODENA

Having defined the top end and entry levels, there are a myriad of possible blends in between. When you mix some of the vinegar from the five cask sets and some of the vinegar from the larger wine size barrels, you get some of the best qualities of the top tier and entry levels. Specifically, vinegars in this range can have more viscosity and complexity similar to the tradizionale but for less money. As you can imagine, you find enormous variety in this middle range, depending on the percentages used in the blend, the producer’s palate and many other variables. In this category, prices can range from around $20 to up around $60 and more.
A couple years ago, several of us took a trip to Europe to visit suppliers and Modena was one of our stops. We spent an afternoon with Maria Livia Manicardi touring her family’s estate where they produce their wonderful balsamic vinegars ranging from their Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena to our own Aunt Angie’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. One of our goals was to taste various blends with the goal of bottling a mid-range blend that we could be proud to put our name on.