Monday, July 22, 2013

The Ancient Olive + Blue Bell Ice Cream

Had someone told me 2 1/2 years ago that food blogging would give me the opportunity to eat copious amounts of ice cream in the name of "research", I might have started this blog much sooner.

I've gotten some pretty cool food related opportunities lately, but last week's visit to The Ancient Olive in Delray Beach might have just made one of the top three for this year so far. I was invited to come check out a really exciting collaboration between their store and beloved Blue Bell Ice Cream brand, and I didn't have to think twice about responding, "YES!" to the event.


I arrived at The Ancient Olive {which looks unassumingly small from the outside}, opened the door, and found myself drawn in to the seemingly endless array of shiny silver drums beckoning for investigation. Rows and rows of specialty olive oils and vinegars were punctuated by various other wares - from gifts like soaps and lotions to condiments like smoked sea salt and uniquely flavored hot sauce. {But more on that later!}





It was immediately evident that olive oils and balsamics are a true passion for co-owners Jeffrey Schrader and Brian Behling. They scour the world for the very best products available and proudly tout their latest accomplishment -- being able to call themselves carriers of Ultra Premium Certified Olive Oil. {Don't worry, I had no idea what that meant, either. But it's pretty cool and you should definitely read about it!} Not only are these two gentlemen knowledgeable, but they're also happy to lend a hand to anyone who walks into the shop with a question or curiosity about anything they sell.



Once I listened to them talk briefly about their quality products, it was easy to see why a partnership with Blue Bell Ice Cream was a natural fit. The two companies have quite a bit in common!


Through Jim Wiederholt, I learned that Blue Bell is a Texas-based company that started back in 1907. Over the years, they've maintained a proven track record by putting their heart and soul into creating an ice cream that ranks in the top three brands in the country! That's pretty big compliment, but the folks at Blue Bell seem to only care about one thing: Making truly delicious ice cream without ever compromising the quality of their product. {Did you know that some "ice creams" out there are not, in fact, ice cream but "frozen dairy dessert"?? Eek!}

{My only complaint: I could do without the high fructose corn syrup. Just a friendly opinion from a well-meaning fan!}

That's some professional ice cream scoopage right there.
Together, The Ancient Olive and Blue Bell Ice Cream make the Dessert Dream Team.

That's right, friends... olive oil and balsamic are no longer just for making vinaigrette. They also make some fabulous ice cream toppings.


I discovered the ice cream/balsamic thing about 3 years ago and was hooked, so I was super-jazzed to let the experts guide me in creating some amazing flavor combos.


Here are just a few of the ones we were sampling:

Italian Cream Cake Ice CreamBlood Orange Olive Oil + Murray River Sea Salt

Peaches and Homemade Vanilla + Strawberry Balsamic + Basil Chiffonade

Caramel Turtle Cheesecake + Dark Chocolate Balsamic

Rockslide Brownie + Espresso Balsamic + Applewood Smoked Sea Salt

They even recommended a dash of Papaya Pequin Hot Sauce to enhance the flavor experience!


{P.S. My system was in complete lactose shock from going from a reduced/non-dairy diet in the past few weeks to stuffing my face with ice cream. Not recommended... but totally worth it!}

If you think ice cream and balsamic or olive oil isn't your thing {though I highly suggest trying it before coming to that conclusion!}, there are other ways to enjoy experimenting with these ingredients. 

For example, Maria Ruiz Castaneda discovered that flavored balsamics and olive oils were the perfect accompaniment to cashews, walnuts, and almonds. The pairings were so popular, in fact, that she just launched her own company -- Kernel Desires -- and is selling her delightful products at several of The Ancient Olive's locations. Her Blackberry-Ginger Walnuts were out of this world!


Flavored balsamic and vinegar are also featured in this amazing Coconut Lime Shrimp Ceviche that was served at the event. I couldn't get enough, so I made sure to get the scoop{ha! How appropriate for an ice cream post!} on the recipe and am sharing it with you today!


At the end of the event, we were each given a chance to choose four little bottles of flavored oil and balsamic, and were gifted with a generous cooler-full of Blue Bell Ice Cream... 4 half gallons to be exact! Swoon!

The udder-load.
Well, you can't say I didn't bring back some new, creative ideas for your next ice cream party! Be sure to let me know if you get innovative the next time you serve yourself a scoop. ;)

A big thanks to The Ancient Olive and Blue Bell Ice Cream for hosting this fantastic event!

Coconut Lime Shrimp Ceviche 
Courtesy of The Ancient Olive

1 bag {41 count} raw shrimp
2-3 cucumbers, diced
2 Serrano Peppers, diced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 medium red onion diced
1/2 c Coconut Balsamic
1/2 c Persian Lime Olive Oil

1. In a large bowl, combine the diced cucumbers, peppers, cilantro, red onion, oil and vinegar together.

2. Parboil the shrimp, about 1 minute, then immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

3. Remove from ice water {draining as much water as possible}, and dice shrimp.

4. Add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well to combine.

5. Chill for 1 hour to allow flavors to marry. S

Serve with tortilla chips. Makes enough for a large crowd or a few very hungry folks! ;)




1 comments:

Katy said...

Fabulous article! You truly captured the moment. I'm so glad that you could make it out for the event.

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