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8° Fahrenheit Ice Cream: a different approach to ice cream

Ice cream is quite possibly my favorite food in existence, and crepes are a close second. When I was told that there was a place in town that served both I nearly lost it. 8° Fahrenheit Ice Cream, located in heart of Campustown, specializes in Thai fried ice cream. This ice cream requires the use of a cold grill that is chilled down to 8 degrees fahrenheit, and turns cream into sweet, delicious ice cream. I have never experienced anything like this and had no idea what to expect.

Thai fried ice cream originated in Thailand, where traditionally it was served as a street vendor food. It made its way to the United States fairly recently and has been gaining popularity ever since. Often the ingredients used are fresh fruit, or you can choose more decedent items like cookies or brownies. They are combined with cream on top of the grill and it freezes as it is mixed, thus creating a confection that would please any ice cream lover. I certainly hoped that would be the case for me.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the location was how open it was. The kitchen was completely exposed, showcasing all of the equipment that was needed to make the food. There was a standard crepe griddle used to make giant crepes (I was already salivating) as well as a square metal surface which looked extremely cold to the touch. I assumed that was where the ice cream was prepared but I was still unsure of how they made it. I could hardly contain my excitement.

The menu displayed some pretty delicious looking options, such as a variety of sweet and savory crepes, and even healthier options like vegetable smoothies. Despite these yummy looking items, I was there for one thing. I looked at the ice cream menu and they had a lot of standard flavors that would be featured at other ice cream places, like chocolate or strawberry, but they had matcha and Thai tea flavors as well. If that is not enough, you can choose up to two additional toppings. In the end I decide to go with the espresso flavored ice cream topped with strawberries and whipped cream for $5.50. My friend decided on a nutella crepe with strawberries and bananas for $4.99.

Now this was the part I was anxiously waiting for: the ice cream. I was so happy that there was only a window separating me from the kitchen. I got to see the entire process, and I was not disappointed. The process started by pouring the cream onto the grill, and then some spatulas that looked very much like paint scrapers to chop up the ingredients and mix it with the cream. Once it became more solid it was spread thinly on the grill in a rectangular shape. The next step was to scrape the ice cream off of the grill and form it into rolls. Then the rolls were placed in a cup and finished with the toppings.

Watching the crepe being made was equally as fun. The batter was poured onto the griddle and was spread with a wooden utensil in a circular motion. Much like a pancake, crepes are done when the side facing up looks dry and the bottom is browned. While still warm, the crepe was spread liberally with Nutella, fresh fruit, and folded into thirds. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

I had one of those rare moments where I did not want to eat it because it looked so pretty, but my hunger always wins out and I dug into the ice cream first. The flavor was on point; the coffee was not overbearing in any way. Espresso can sometimes add a bitterness to food that can make it a bit overwhelming, but when done right there is a subtle taste of cocoa that finishes well. The strawberries gave another element to the flavor by adding a tart sweetness that paired well with the coffee. The texture was definitely different from what I am used to; it was almost flakey rather than creamy like normal ice cream. The only downside was that the rolls of ice cream were a little difficult to eat. I developed a strategy of taking off one layer of the roll at a time. It proved to be most effective.

The crepe was just as good. There was a perfect amount of Nutella so that it did not bleed through and make a soggy crepe. It also did not mask the flavor of the crepe, which was slightly sweet with just a smidge of vanilla. One of my favorite flavor combinations is Nutella and banana, so it was a winner for me from the start. The nutty quality of Nutella balanced beautifully with the banana, mostly because bananas cut the richness of the spread. Again the strawberries added a tartness that made the Nutella less rich. Much like the ice cream, the crepe was a little difficult to eat because it was placed in a paper holder rather than a plate, but in the end it did not make a difference in the taste.

I would definitely say that this was one of my favorite ice cream experiences. If you are looking for something new and exciting, I would highly reccomend 8° Fahrenheit Ice Cream. I had so much fun watching the food being made as well as eating it, and I can not wait to go back and try more flavor combinations!

8° Fahrenheit is located at 508 East Green Street and is open Monday through Sunday, noon to 11 p.m.

All photos by Merry Thomas. 

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