August 18, 2008
Fig Ice Cream? Make It Two Scoops

IMGP3494_edited.JPGJust as every Sacramento neighbohood has a Rite Aid Pharmacy, every New York neighborhood has an ice cream shop. There may be a message there, but short of contacting the Centers for Disease Control for demographic data I'm not about to claim that New Yorkers have fewer health issues than Sacramentans. I'm just going to go on eating ice cream as I roam about New York's Hudson River Valley, where I arrived Sunday for this week's 2008 New York Wine & Food Classic, the state's largest wine competition.

Earlier this year, New York legislators passed a law to allow the state's wineries to make wine ice cream. Haven't had any of that yet, but it sounds like it could be a new class for the competition. In the meantime, I'm stopping at old-fashioned ice cream parlors for a cone here and a cup there.

Last night in Hudson, which dates from 1785 and purportedly is the oldest chartered city in the United States, I dropped into one of the settlement's newer businesses, Lick, where partners Christopher Haupert and Michael Harris have been scooping up ice cream since just before Memorial Day. Their brand of choice is the Hudson Valley's highly regarded Jane's Ice Cream. In addition to the standard vanilla bean and milk chocolate, Lick's lineup includes such novelties as minced ginger, grapefruit sorbet and sublime lime. I went for the fig and sweet cream, which couldn't have been more convincingly true, both gritty and creamy, tasting so much like figs I left convinced it had done me a world of physical good.

Shortly before stopping at Lick, I was told by a Hudson resident that the town is "10 blocks long, 10 blocks wide, a Norman Rockwell painting in motion." The scene in front of Lick was that, all right, with residents taking a break from walking their dogs, children playing hopscotch on a grid chalked on the sidewalk, and grandparents relaxing on white benches. It was hot and it was muggy, which gives New Yorkers two reasons for two scoops.

As to the local angle, Haupert's parents were to arrive today from their home in...Auburn.

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