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Courtesy of Gabe Hopkins
Glace Ice Cream DisplayGlacé Artisan Ice Cream uses local, seasonal ingredients to create unusual flavors.
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Courtesy of Ron Berg Photography
Christopher ElbowChristopher Elbow is a master chocolatier with a passion for ice cream.
One of the best summer treats is cooling down with a tasty scoop of ice cream. And in Kansas City, you’ll want to try the gourmet ice cream spooned out at Glacé Artisan Ice Cream.
Owner Christopher Elbow, of Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates, has been satisfying Kansas City’s sweet tooth since 2003 with his one-of-a-kind beautifully detailed and national award-winning homemade chocolates. Recently, Chris expanded his talents to Glacé Artisan Ice Cream.
Unusual Flavors, Local Ingredients
Some of the fundamentals of both making chocolate and making ice cream are the same. With chocolate, Chris says, balancing the strong fl avor of cocoa can be difficult; but with ice cream, there is a neutral flavor, which gives him a vehicle to play with a wider variety of flavors.
Creative combinations—including Pineapple Cilantro, Rose Water, Ricotta with Honey, Caramelized Fig, and Vietnamese Cinnamon—weren’t, and still aren’t, the traditional flavors seen in an ice cream shop.
But being different proved to work in Glacé’s favor when the average number of daily transactions was pushing 400 during its opening summer in 2010 at the Main Street location, just a few blocks away from the Plaza Branch Library.
“Making chocolate and ice cream are actually pretty similar to me,” Chris says. “In both cases, small-batch production, precision, and using all-natural ingredients as well as local ones are important factors in both production processes.”
Using local ingredients can be challenging when it comes to chocolate, but Chris uses other local products as much as possible. For example, he buys apples from a local farm to use in apple flavoring and uses locally grown corn for his Sweet Corn ice cream.
Small-batch production is the only way Chris will craft his ice cream. The strict system allows him to control the process from start to finish.
Being able to pay close attention to each step ultimately produces the unbeatable textures, flavors, and quality that Chris is known for. A small batch of ice cream consists of two gallons for Chris and his staff.
“Once you start mechanizing and changing recipes to get bigger, changes will occur whether you want to think they do or not,” he says.
Commitment to using only the freshest ingredients makes all the difference in Chris’s final frozen product. Using seasonal herbs and fruits are another reason that Glacé’s flavors are one of a kind.
Chris says he also likes using seasonal spices to bring out unique flavors, especially during the holidays. Pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg are some of his favorites.
He buys his milk from Heartland Farms, located in northwest Missouri. The most important aspect of using Heartland Farms is that their milk is free of growth hormones.
Chris makes his ice cream using the French-custard style, which starts by using the basic ingredients of milk, eggs, sugar, and cream. The style he uses to make his cream is also what inspired the name for his shop.
“Glacé means frozen in French; and since we use the French-custard style to make our ice cream, we felt that the name ‘Glacé’ was elegant and appropriate,” he says.
His memories of hand-cranking ice cream in the summers with his family inspired his appreciation for classic custard. Old-fashioned ice cream with rich texture and flavor was his goal for Glacé from the start.
“Some of the stuff on the market is too fluffy and not very good, so that really great custard texture was something I wanted to bring back for customers.”