From The Local Ice Cream

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Springtime Growth

Actually we have been growing for over 2 years. It’s just now our stem is poking through the soil and branches are quickly forming. This week was pretty significant but we’re too busy to really sit back and celebrate with a bottle of Cava. We are excited that both our products, Brooklyn Bell ice cream and Good Bars have crossed the East River. That’s right Brooklyn Bell is representing in money making Manhattan. Grab a pint and some bars at Foragers Chelsea.

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Back in Brooklyn, permits have been issued and we have officially broken ground or at least the linoleum flooring at our future ice cream scoop shop in Crown Heights! It’s been an incredible amount of work and so it is for the life of an entrepreneur. We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to grow and look forward to sharing our honest simple foods with our neighborhood and city. We’ll keep you posted on what’s next.

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Maple Butter Pecan from Ft. Greene to Bushwick

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Big smiles are on our faces as we announce our latest seasonal flavor, Maple Butter Pecan. Of course the ingredients remain simple: milk, cream, raw sugar, egg yolks and we add some organic maple syrup and to top it off we butter roasted awesome pecans with a dash of salt.

We are just as happy about the new flavor as we are to let everyone know that you can grab a pint or two of our ice cream in Ft. Greene at the newly expanded Greene Grape Provision store as well as at the Bushwick Food Coop! It really means a lot to us that we are in both of these important stores. I’ve seen the Greene Grape grow and flourish from a nice hole in a wall wine store into a serious food store that anchors my old ‘hood. The Bushwick Food Coop is pretty special as well. No GMOs products and ingredients are allowed to cross their doorway and we are pleased that Brooklyn Bell Ice Cream is in their freezers.

Cold Kickin’ it at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar

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We are grinning ear to ear to be scooping this Friday and Saturday at the famous Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Come by and get a Brooklyn Bell Sundae and grab a Good Bar, the best granola bars in the world. We will also unveil our new winter ice cream flavor, Maple Butter Pecan, made with awesomely fresh Georgia pecans from my cousin’s orchard.

Brooklyn Night Bazaar
165 Banker Street, Brooklyn

Friday, January 31 Doors 7pm / 7.30 Show
The Williamsburg
Salsa Orchestra
DJ Mikey Perez
Los Hacheros
Spanglish Fly

Saturday, February 1 Doors 6pm / 7pm Show
Streets Of Laredo
Lily And The Parlor Tricks
Rocket And The Ghost
Mail The Horse
DJ Mikey Palms & Friends

At the Barn

Happy from Ice Cream School

At the Barn

My youngest daughter sounded proud and thrilled that I was going to ice cream school. I could only imagine what she thought my days were like. I got on the bus at the crack of dawn and rushed to the heart of Pennsylvania. We got right to business. The annual event was essentially a semester of study crammed in one week filled with students from all over the world.

The Class

Seven days later I have a greater appreciation of the art and science of making ice cream. It’s more than mixing cream, milk, sugar, and egg yolks. From seeing the birth of a calf to sampling over 20+ vanilla ice creams to meeting new friends, the course opened up my world of ice creams and other frozen desserts.

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What I learned that week will forever be a part of my ice cream career. I look forward to improving our existing products as well introducing new frozen desserts. Thanks to Dr. Roberts, the speakers, new friends, and entire creamery and food science staff at Penn State.

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You Should Hear How She Talks About You

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure and honor of slipping away for another weekend of Fearless Writing while Ron held down the proverbial fort in our corner of Brooklyn.  While we’ve gotten beaucoup kudos from city dwellers who’ve become our regular customers, it was fun to hear reactions from other folks who came from far and wide to participate in another outstanding workshop and retreat hosted by James Beard award winning writer (and all around phenomenal woman) Crescent Dragonwagon with help from filmmaker David Koff (of “Occupied Palestine” and other acclaimed works) and writer Sue Stevenson, co-creator/writer of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and other indelible hits.  The weekend itself was a smash, as Dragonwagon’s workshops reliably are (challenging, yes, but also fun – thus they’re part “work”shop, part retreat).

Ron, forever thoughtful, sent me with off with plenty of ice cream, which we indulged in throughout the weekend.  I was so impressed with the response it was receiving, and sorry Ron wasn’t there to hear it, that I asked David to catch the reactions on film.  Here is what he gave me.

Thank you, David, Crescent, Sue, and Shadi Towfighi of the celebrated Kismet Inn in Bath, Maine, featuring slow-food lovingly prepared by Shadi, and offering a toxin-free restorative environment, Lori Randall Stradtman, best-selling author and online reputation guru, and Sarah Hollister Potts, whose stories of involvement in As Ever Yours: The Letters of Max Perkins and Elizabeth Lemmon kept us delighted, and of course Mary Gunderson, who has her hand (and fork and spoon and pen) in all kinds of adventures.  Thanks, too, to everyone else who was there.  The lessons stay with me (“authorization in progress”), and I think fondly of our weekend away and writing together.  I’m looking forward to moving Fearlessly Onward with all of you.

**Sadly, Crescent recently lost her mother, famed children’s book author Charlotte Zolotow, who Crescent cared for with help from a team of caring individuals, including the talented and brave Hawa Diallo who also was a Fearless participant with us.  Charlotte lived well into her 90s and left a legacy of love and inspiration that is felt wherever Crescent goes.  We’re sending thoughts of comfort and healing to the friends and family of Ms. Zolotow, and also saying thanks to her for lighting up the lives of so many young readers.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/books/charlotte-zolotow-whose-books-tackled-childrens-real-life-issues-dies-at-98.html?_r=0

Big Smiles and Screams

Bizarre Foods America & Brooklyn Bell

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Thanks Jay Lajoie for the screenshot

It was our first time on national TV and we were a bit nervous. We didn’t know if we made the cut or not. We told friends and family and of course did the social media broadcast. Up until Monday, December 9th at 9pm we looked everywhere for a clue that we would get some airtime.

We patiently waited for months and through Andrew’s travel from the other boroughs until he got to Brooklyn. Our living room was filled with big smiles and screams when we caught a glimpse of our ice cream machine, my tattooed arm, and Kati’s nose in the bumper right before a commercial break.

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First up some clarifications, and answers to questions.  Our ice cream is not certified organic.  We often use organic ingredients (such as strawberries in Simply Strawberry), but we also pay attention  to whether ingredients are local and in season.  Our dairy is sourced from Hudson Valley Fresh, a wonderful dairy cooperative just two hours north of Brooklyn.  Our flavor ingredients are carefully selected for taste and wholesomeness.  Andrew especially loved the Simply Strawberry ice cream, which is a seasonal flavor that will return summer 2014.  He also is a fan of what he called the Black White Lava Caramel, but our caramel is Black Lava Caramel and our vanilla is White Vanilla.

As for nationwide delivery, it is something we are working to bring in 2014 but are trying to retain costs and keep it affordable.  The best way for us to gauge whether to go forward with it is by your comments and suggestions, and by the number of people following us on Twitter, liking us on FB, getting on the mailing list, etc. (Tyson in MN and Steph in ND, stay tuned).

We are very grateful for the exposure, experience, and feedback and encouragement we’ve received.  It helps fuel our future expansion plans (more on that later).  We want to thank Chef Michael and the staff at Hana Kitchen, Nicole from Kyotofu (and Hana) as well as our kitchen mates past and present – Liddabit Sweet, Brooklyn Cured, Granola Lab, Robicelli’s, Whimsy & Spice, Macaron Parlor, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, The Good Batch, Regal Vegan.  And of course, Andrew Zimmern and the Bizarre Foods America crew. Actually, the thank you list is really quite long so I’ll have to figure out some other way of sharing that info.  To wrap it up: Thank You!

 

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Cinnamon Allspice & Thanks

We are delighted to unveil Cinnamon Allspice Ice Cream, our autumn/winter seasonal flavor. It’s the perfect complement for any holiday pie or even to top off a beer float.  Last Saturday, the flavor made it’s debut in the wilds of Bushwick at the grand opening of Hops & Hocks, from the owners of Stinky Bklyn.

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At the opening of Hops & Hocks, I did have a Brooklyn “star” moment when Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery came in the door offering the owners a special collection of beer. I got a chance to chat with him as well as offer a couple of spoonfuls of our ice creams. I also got to enjoy an awesome taste of Lauren and Joe’s, Grimm Artisanal Ales. To round it out, there was beer cheese and I liked it. Floyd Beer Cheese was showcasing the marriage to two great items beer and cheese.

With our new ice cream cart loaded in the van and I was heading down the BQE going home, I couldn’t help but think how grateful our company, Brooklyn Bell, has been to the stores, customers, and suppliers. There is something about this time of year when reflections come into view and we remember that we are thankful. A lot of work has gone into each spoonful of our ice cream and Good Bar granola bars!

Why Are We In Natural Food Stores?

It’s ice cream, which isn’t necessarily the first thing you think when you think of health food.  And, yes, granola bars but really super delicious ones, some with chocolate, another with brandy-macerated cherries (called Coffee with God, and available only at Brooklyn Commune).  So what’s the story?  Well, our philosophy is simple: make great food using simple ingredients.  100 years ago, this would not have set us apart.  Before the mass infusion of pesticide-laden products fueled with fillers and starches and corn syrup instead of sugar, most food was made as ours is — with just the basics and in those basics, nothing more.  Now, it’s like playing hopscotch to avoid food products with ingredients your mouth cannot pronounce and which barely squeak by as food.

Brooklyn Bell Foods & Co strives to put just another handful of products on the shelf to join the relatively meager bunch that is food, real food, and nothing else.  But our other requirement is it must taste divine.  That you will have to taste for yourself.  We invite you to do so at the Evening of Spirit at New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope ($10 for Spirit members, and $15 for non-Spirit membership – but membership is totally free and you can sign up for it here), which celebrates healthy and spirited living.  This is the program’s first ever Evening of Spirit event, and we hope that you will come out and enjoy it.  If you drop by, we just may have a surprise or two for you — (just a hint: it’s like your grandmother would make, but better).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Carrington Pavilion
New York Methodist Hospital
506 Sixth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

p.s. I just came across a post this morning that I want to share here.  It’s from 2011 but does a good job explaining why Brooklyn Bell chose not to use crisped rice in our Good Bars until I was able to source some that was made with no BHT.  When we started making our Good Bars back in 2011, it was not an easy task finding BHT-free cereal.  Fortunately, that’s changed at least a little, and we proudly use BHT-free crisped rice in our Brooklyn Blues and several others.  Ask us about this and all our ingredients (it’s a short list) when you come by on Wednesday.