If San Francisco is too far to travel to try one of Bi-Rite Creamery's fantastic, handmade creations, treat yourself to a copy of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones: 90 Recipes for Making Your Own Ice Cream and Frozen Treats from Bi-Rite Creamery. The book features confections like Sam's Sundae (chocolate ice cream with bergamot olive oil, Maldon sea salt, and whipped cream), Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl, and Blood Orange Ice Pops — all of which you can whip up in your own home. Or wait to meet the chef/authors, Anne Walker and Kris Hoogerhyde, at The Pasta Shop (5655 College Ave., Oakland) on Saturday, June 30, where they'll provide tastes of their famous flavors, complete with sprinkly toppings, and demonstrate the fundamentals of homemade ice cream.
Both started out as pastry chefs in various San Francisco restaurants. Hoogerhyde's very first ice cream flavors included vanilla, huckleberry sorbet, and malted milk chocolate, while Walker's were buttermilk, strawberry, and malted vanilla. But times change, and today's discriminating ice cream aficionados come to the Creamery in droves for different flavors — and one in particular: "Salted caramel," Walker said. "Every week we make about 135 pounds of caramel just for this ice cream." Don't worry — the recipe is included. And the book is so novice-friendly and detailed that you'll actually be able to follow it. With sections on mainstay flavors like vanilla and when to use beans or extract, and others on using tropical fruits, berries, herbs, and spices, plus notes on equipment, perfecting your technique, and storing ingredients — all paired with mouth-watering photos — Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones equips readers to become their own ice cream experts.
Bi-Rite was the first ice cream shop in San Francisco to use organic dairy products from the Strauss Family Creamery in Sonoma. But they didn't stop there. "We started farming in Sonoma so that our staff could get their hands dirty and learn about what it takes to grow food," Walker explained. Not only do they make their ice cream by hand in small batches and stick to local, seasonal ingredients like strawberries for the balsamic strawberry ice cream that's served only in spring and summer, but "we harvest a whole range of produce in the summer months — tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini." The veggies are sold at the Bi-Rite Market, part of a family that includes the Creamery and its community-center offshoot, 18 Reasons, which hosts workshops meant to deepen community members' relationships with food and with one another.
But back to the ice cream. "As far as ingredients for ice cream go, we harvest basil all summer that goes into our basil ice cream," Walker said. "We also harvest honey from hives on our Sonoma farm and on our market roof that we are able to use in our honey lavender ice cream." And although it's not sold in stores, their salmon-flavored ice cream, developed for a fishing show, "remains the strangest one we've made," said Walker. It's not featured in the book, either, so you'll just have to figure that one out for yourself. 1 p.m., free. 510-250-6005 or RockridgeMarketHall.com