Folkus on Food: Jack's Gelato

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Jack’s Gelato

I dream day & night of your pistachio & rose gelato.’ Kiu

Truly the stuff of dreams, the flavours conjured up by ice cream alchemist Jack van Praag verge on the poetic…Goat’s Milk and Wild Honey, Jasmine, Honeycomb, Somerset Apple Brandy, Salted Treacle, Rhubard Crumble, Strawberries and Cream, Peanut Butter, Jordanian Orange Flower, Armagnac and Prune, Chestnut and Meringue, Roasted Banana with Bourbon…the mesmerising names drift on and on. Add to that the countless tributes and it’s clear that Jack’s is not any ordinary ice cream, it’s an experience and an experience not to be missed!

It was back in 2010 when Jack took the plunge, sinking everything into creating his very own business after years of making ice cream in restaurants and home kitchens. Beginning by selling from his vintage tricycle outside Cambridge’s Botanical Gardens or on Grantchester Meadows, word spread and a reputation for exceptional ice cream soon led to the opening of a beautiful, gem-like parlour in the historical centre of Cambridge where an ice-cream treasure trove is churned and scooped seven days a week.

Committed ice-cream fans at Festival HQ we were keen to find out more!

Can you share any of the secrets behind your success Jack?
‘I strive for perfection, making everything by hand in small batches and utilising the best ingredients: Organic and Fairtrade cocoa, coffee beans from The Coffee Officina,  a small batch coffee roastery based in Essex, and organic and fair trade Madagascan vanilla to name but a few.’

Are you looking forward to returning to Cambridge Folk Festival this summer?
‘This will be our third year at Cambridge.  Such lovely people, such a nice atmosphere!’

One or two flavours that may be on offer over the Festival weekend?
I will definitely bring Salted Treacle to the festival and I am hoping that blackcurrants will be in season especially for the festival :)

…what else contributes to the delicious taste?
We use Guernsey and Jersey milk and cream from The Estate Dairy! 

Where do you get your inspiration for flavours? Do you have a personal favourite?
My inspiration comes from a range of places, experimentation and discussing ideas - it is this development side and flavour creation of my business that I enjoy the most! My personal favourite is Damson Sorbet. 

Do you manage to hear any music...anything you’re looking forward to this summer?
‘We have been too busy previously but we hope to this year. Obviously looking forward to First Aid Kit and also hope to catch Rhiannon Giddens and also Swamptruck!’

Apart from sorbets, are there any vegan ice creams available. If so, what flavour?
I tend to call of my dairy free ice creams sorbets to avoid confusion for those with dairy allergies but I do make some in the style of an ice cream with, for example, coconut milk as the base. My sorbets are also sometimes thought to be ice creams as they too have a creamy texture - the fibres in the rhubarb sorbet for example work particularly well in this regard. Other vegan ice creams that I make would be Dark Chocolate & Rose and also Macadamia Nut.

How did you learn to make ice cream? Is there a difference between ice cream and gelato?
I learned how to make ice cream originally, working as a pastry chef in various restaurant kitchens. Most of what I have learned however, has come since working for myself and having the freedom to explore new ideas and experiment. Gelato has less cream (more milk) than ice cream making it less rich and the flavours stronger without the cream obscuring them. 

…and the most popular flavour at Cambridge Folk Festival 2017 was?
‘Salted Treacle!’

Yum! Roll on August 2nd

Praise for Jack's Gelato...

‘If you are around on a warm sunny day, look for Jack's Gelato. You will not regret it and may well have the best ice-cream of your life.’

‘Just got some Seville orange, Blue Stilton and EVOO from Jack's Gelato. Tried them all immediately. Utterly delicious. He is a culinary wizard.’ 

‘Had the best ice-cream I have ever tasted yesterday from Jack's Gelato. Went for pink grapefruit & tarragon.’

Take a look at our 2018 Festival Food Line Up HERE

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