Give it Up for Cognac Gelato
Cognac seems to one of the most divisive of alcoholic beverages. I know plenty of people who love it and I know plenty of people who detest it. I don’t know anyone who thinks it’s “quite nice”.
I bet, too, to add to its woes, that it’s suffering from an image problem. Compare it with the hip, buzzing, cool of whiskey and whisky. Well, actually, there’s no comparison to be made is there?
I am a member of the pro-Cognac camp. I love it in any application: as a sipper, as an evaporater (for shame!) in a flambeé or as an incorporator in an ice cream (or gelato). You don’t often see cognac in ice cream these days. Thinking about it, and do tell me I need to get out more, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen cognac in a gelato.
So, can you imagine my delight and surprise when I spotted a guy selling gelato flavoured with cognac on the fringe of the Abergavenny Food Festival in 2015? Wut? Cognac VSOP gelato!
This was Jack of Jack’s Gelato. It turned out that Jack had been a professional chef and had now turned his hand to gelato production. Good call, Jack. Very good call.
Jack’s Gelato Selection
On that day at the Abergavenny Food Festival, Jack was selling:
- 72-hour Vanilla
- Rhubarb and Rose Sorbet
- Chocolate Chocolate
- Cognac VSOP (add an extra quid for this — absolutely, no problem at all!)
- Burnt Sugar and Salt
- Perl Las (a renowned and deeply tasty Welsh blue cheese)
My food festival companion and serious food nut, Jenny, went for the Rhubarb and Rose Sorbet. She gave me a taste and it was wonderful: as light and ethereal as the most ethereal of feathers but strangely, intensely fruity, too. It was the essence of rhubarb and there was none of the usual bullying, none of the black eyes than can happen when rhubarb (well, especially late season rhubarb) is on the menu.
I chose — you know I had to — the cognac gelato. Oh my! Again, like the rhubarb sorbet, it was yin and yang, big, “wallop-you-in-the-face flavour” but done with a feather duster. Quite. Simply. Sensational.
Jack generously offered us samples of many of his other creations, including the Perl Las, the Honeycomb and the Burnt Sugar. Each one was outstanding. Thank you for your generosity, Jack.
Jack’s Gelato: a Stairway to Gelato Heaven
Tasting Jack’s gelati was like moving up a stairway of superlatives and it went like this: “Yhumm, that’s good” and then, “Ohh, that’s even better” and then “Ahh, that’s better again”. It was one hit after another. We could have gone for all of them.
And, with the benefit of hindsight, all I can say now is how naive — downright crazy — we were to think we could only buy one of each flavour.
Next time, Jack, we’ll buy every one of your beautiful creations. It won’t be a hardship.