Top 5: Most unique ice cream flavors
Food enthusiasts at Taste TLV give their verdict on the best that the Tel Aviv dining scene has to offer.
At one sitting we tried 44 out of the 50 or 60 flavors that are on hand at Vaniglia at any given time. If this sounds like a large variety, it’s a small amount in the ever changing ice box of Itay Rogozinsky, one of the brothers who own the incredibly successful ice cream shop with over eight branches. We came to Itay to decide on the top five flavors at Vaniglia, however we should have known that this would be an impossible task. How could we possibly narrow down such a variety of flavors and textures when most of them are incomparable?
On top of variety, we found the sheer quality of the aromas, textures, colors and tastes to be incomprehensibly indistinguishable from their fixings. As Itay explained why sorbet is his favorite, “sorbet can actually accentuate the aromas, colors, and tastes of a fruit. It also brings it to an enjoyable texture and removes any work involved in consuming your favorite fruit.” While we are not yet able to tell from a taste of Strawberries & Cream that the strawberries were picked a month too early, as Itay, we very much enjoyed bringing you the Top 5 Most Unique Flavors at Vaniglia.
When one takes such care in picking only the ripest and highest quality fruits how could the sorbet turn out anything less than exceptional? I was worried that the Campari would overthrow the grapefruit, and I don’t even like Campari. Was I ever wrong.
Itay makes it his life work to elegantly balance the delicate flavors in each batch. This sorbet is a balance of sweet and tart, of sour and bitter, and of red and pink. Its sweet and refreshing at first and while the ice melts on your tongue it brings a delicate punch of the bitterness of Campari, and ends with a warm and tart aftertaste that leaves you yearning for the next bite.
If you enjoy fruit sorbet with a twist, Itay has also paired a northern Israeli syrah with Israeli safadoneh pears, wrapped in cinnamon. This is a treat in the summer or winter, as it inexplicably warms and refreshes simultaneously.
Poppy seed/ Almond
“Chew it.” Itay says, with a smile on his face. Never before have I experienced ice cream like this one.
The consistency of this ice cream felt akin to barely cooked cake batter. The taste of poppy seed (an Israeli dessert staple) combined with almonds flown from Sicily, is a surprising yet delectable fusion of earthly pleasures. A new take on flavors, textures, and style- this ice cream flavor is truly representative of Itay and his brother’s style when making ice cream. Creative combinations of flavors and top-notch ingredients are the key to Vaniglia’s success. With the poppy seed & almond flavor, you will be pleasantly taken by surprise. This flavor isn’t just a taste - it’s an experience.
There is no ice cream quite like this one, but if you enjoy the Israeli staple flavors try the Halva ice cream. Not to be confused with Tachina - this ice cream is pure, glorious halva, and enjoyed by most Israelis.
This inventive flavor will undoubtedly take you by surprise. The base of this ice cream has the taste and texture of a well-prepared lime curd. Made with local Israeli lemons, the ice cream itself bursts with freshness and rounds out with a tart flavor. This lemon ice cream serves as a vessel for serving up the second part of the dessert, which is little bits of pie crust (the soft part of the pie crust that you might find on the bottom of a lemon bar or pie). A fresh take on lemon pie, this ice cream evokes the feeling of a light summer dessert.
If you enjoy this type of ice cream, there is a Cheese Cake flavor, which follows the same type of dessert-straight-to-your-cone feel. The taste is impeccable, your favorite cheese cake in a colder yet delightful form.
Yogurt, Pistachio, and Apricot
One bite of this ice cream and you dive head first into the essence of the Mediterranean. You start with the tart yet soothing taste of the yogurt, then your bite hits a soft earthy pistachio , and while you come up for air you get a burst of the sweet apricot chunk. While indulging in this wonderful surprise of tastes, I actually felt a sense of pride for this region of the world. Itay was explaining this is his mix for the Mediterranean, and I felt overcome with joy and love for Israel. This earth that we stand on is so rich in nutrients that the fruit and nuts that it bears are some of the best in the world. This ice cream maker is devoting everything he has to bring these flavors of the land to us with an enjoyable and indulgent method.
The yogurt Itay uses is not sweet, it is plain and tart from the lactic acids. It is refreshing and succulent, and Itay mixes it with ingredients such as roasted pine nuts, bananas, and almonds. At any given time there is a couple of these wonderful yogurt flavors.
Before I tell you the glorious ten spices that make up this surprisingly delicate mixture, it is the fragrance that first hits you. It reminded me of a warm autumn, or even of a pumpkin pie spice mix. But instead of thick squash flavor, a soft milk froth sprinkled delicately with spices rolls over your tongue. It took us a couple rounds, but the ten spices are hell, American pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, tonka bean, vanilla, anise, licorice, and clove. This flavor is the opposite of spicy or loud, just a pinch of each of these spices are tossed into the batch, and are mixed until even the “microscopic, molecular level” has been evenly dispersed throughout. The end product is a light, aromatic and soothing ice cream that will remind each and every one of a fond memory.
This ice cream is definitely one of a kind, but if you are into quality spices and beans, try going with some classic French Vanilla. Nothing classic about Itay’s version, as he travels to Italy once a year and chooses four of his favorite vanilla beans. He extracts all of the deep flavors of the four beans, and you are left with a creamy and luxurious flavor.
Whether you are feeling adventurous enough to experiment with your taste buds, or stick to your favorites - you can be sure that the ingredients in your ice cream at Vaniglia are of the highest quality, and each batch of fresh ice cream has been made with the love and care of a small homemade one. Whether it’s Itay telling the farmer which branch he wants his oranges from, or that he makes sure only 4 cookies are crumbled at a time, you are indulging in one of the most perfected desserts in Tel Aviv.
Insider Tip: Itay is connected to a very special farmer in the north of Israel who is growing some of the only boysenberry’s that this country has ever seen. While many Israelis are not familiar with the marvelous fruit, we can expect a refined batch of boysenberry sorbet coming this summer to a Vaniglia near you.