A great chef aims to bask in originality, but culinary trends are hard to resist. In fact, peruse various menus in Austin and you’re likely to come across countless similarities and nuances across the map — especially when it comes to pastries.
Ice cream has been growing in popularity on the Austin culinary scene for the past several months, and this frozen sweet is appearing as a revamped, upscale treat all around town.
Ice cream has been growing in popularity on the Austin culinary scene for the past several months, and even though it’s a classic American favorite, this frozen sweet is appearing as a revamped, upscale treat all around town.
Laura Sawicki, pastry chef of La Condesa, isn’t one to follow in others’ footsteps; in fact, she is known for her tendency to breakaway from traditional pastry styles and shine while doing so. Sawicki confessed that she, amongst other pastry chefs, is preparing numerous ice creams and sorbets for her menu. She believes businesses like Lick and CoolHaus have transformed what Austin residents expect from their ice creams and has also influenced chefs to test recreations of the dessert as well.
Josh Matlock, pastry chef of Paggi House, agrees with Sawicki’s assertion that chefs are experimenting with foreign flavors in their ice creams and sorbets. “People are getting more comfortable with unusual flavors in their desserts and ice creams,” he says. “I prefer to do one frozen item for every dessert on my menu, in fact." Some of Matlock’s ice cream and sorbet flavors include rhubarb and smoked caramel.
“There are a lot of different approaches to this universal dessert, and the weather is the perfect vehicle for this artistry.”
Callie Speer, pastry chef of Swift’s Attic, says that most upscale restaurants tend to feature ice cream on their menus, but that she has just recently noticed more boutique, avant-garde ice cream shops opening up around Austin. “There has always been Amy’s Ice Creams, but nobody has hit that niche until recently," she says. Speer has several playful recreations of ice cream, such as popcorn ice cream and beet sorbet, on Swift’s Attic’s menu and recently collaborated on her husband’s — Philip Speer’s — green strawberry sorbet.