Vanilla Fleur de Sel Ice Cream by High Road Craft

Having talked about High Road Craft Ice Cream last week, I thought about waiting a bit before bringing another flavor to the table. The metaphorical website table, I mean--they have all been brought to the table a few times in a very real, physical sense. What I mean to say is that I have Learned New Things in the past week and felt I should share while they were still fresh in my mind.

First things first: I have been to the magical factory where they make High Road. Their factory store is open every Saturday from 10:00am to 1:00pm and they do tours every hour. They also, imps that they are, have flavors available there that I did not see when I perused my local Whole Foods (the easiest place to find their stuff at the moment). More on that in a moment. The tour was conducted by their Head Chef and co-founder Keith Schroeder, who A) is too nice a guy to seem like the mad scientist his flavors would imply and 2) did not cackle madly when showing us large pieces of industrial equipment. Also, surprisingly, the facility had no visible Tesla coils. The factory tour was brief as the place is basically two rooms, but those two rooms consisted of concentrated awesome.

Things learned: High Road is considering a line of coffee ice creams. Which makes me dance a merry jig, but thankfully not where anyone can see me do it. Also, the ice cream base of the previously reviewed Caffeine & Cacao is indeed a buttercream cream. I believe that's what Chef Keith was saying, because at the time I was busy sampling some of the isolated cream with the cacao bits in, so that's, as you might imagine, a bit distracting. Chef Keith was nice enough to grab me some of that to taste, as the coffee elixir they put into Caffeine & Cacao was not available to try--it had all already been dumped into the mix. What a nice guy.

Anyway, that's part of what I've learned: the mad awesomeness of the High Road facility. Here's something else.

You remember when you were younger and your parents tried to get you to stop adding salt to everything? Maybe you didn't have that problem. And by problem, I don't mean the tendency to want to add salt to things...I mean the tendency of your parents to try to stop you. Salt is fantastic. Anyway, I don't know about you, but when I discovered the notion of caramel fleur de sel, it was a revelation. "Hold on a second...you can add salt to caramel? What unholy ridiculous mayhem is this?" Perhaps that's one of the few benefits of growing older: you can say to caramel, "Caramel, I will salt you like you are a slug that has offended my family name. Prepare yourself."

However, and this is the odd bit--it never occurred to me to do that with vanilla. But High Road has--or at least had at their factory store, this might be one of those flavors--Vanilla Fleur de Sel. Which is like heaven for people like me, who dig vanilla and also dig salt. As I've already stated in my look at the Chocolate Magnum Bar, I love vanilla ice cream. But this vanilla is the opposite end of the spectrum from that bland, uninteresting, "I'm just here to carry the chocolate" vanilla. It's vanilla ice cream so good it could probably take Haagen-Dazs' lunch money. This stuff is bourbon vanilla. It's vanilla, it's sweet and then it's salty on top of that. Cosette found it a bit too salty for her tastes, but I am pro-salt, so I find it delicious. In fact, if you use the Uncle Warren method of making scrambled eggs--where you use vanilla ice cream instead of butter in the pan--you might not need to salt your eggs once they hit your plate. I find this theory fascinating and will undertake experimentation soon.

The main thing is: another home run flavor from High Road, the ice cream company that can apparently take your childhood notions of seasoning to the next level.

Just don't tell my parents.