There are a lot of foods that I enjoy eating while in France; foods that I can't really get anywhere else, or at least that don't taste as good anywhere else. Fondues, baguettes, croissants, croque monsieurs...the list could go on forever. Ice cream also rather surprisingly makes this list. I know what you're thinking, "Why ice cream? You can get that anywhere!" Well, that's true, but there's something special about picking up a cup or cone of homemade ice cream and strolling around Paris with it. What's more, they have some flavors here that you don't see everyday in the US such as coconut and black currant. Recently, I tried a flavor that I had, up until then, been a little tentative about trying. I can't explain it, but for many years something just told me that I wasn't going to enjoy pistachio flavored ice cream.
That's right, pistachio. As in the little green nut that comes in the partially open shell. I love eating them, but would I like them in ice cream form? Would something that is usually very salty taste good as something that is usually very sweet? And what's with that green color? Peppermint bon-bon ice cream is green too, but generally in a bright, "I'm so happy to be green!" kind of way. Pistachio - a dull, pale green, - looked almost depressed. The last thing anyone wants to eat is depressed ice cream.
But last week, as I stood in front of my favorite glacier, I decided to take the plunge. After all, it would be a shame to spend so much time in France and not try one of their native ice cream flavors. Plus, this particular ice cream shop lets you choose two flavors for the low price of 2 euros and 30 cents. If the pistachio was gross I had a back-up. Happily, the pistachio was not gross, it was really good! It's a complex sort of flavor, not quite salty, not quite sweet, and not quite tasting like a pistachio nut. It's very subtle, none of this "wham!" you get from coffee ice cream or dark chocolate ice cream, it's more refreshing than anything, and it pairs surprisingly well with mango sorbet. Kind of made me feel bad I've been ignoring it all these years.