Posts Tagged ‘fresh food’

Split Banana The Review

October 15, 2010

In this particular case, I am exerting my right to use caps in my headline. With good reasons. What I dutifully announced here has finally been tested, thoroughly and with increasing bliss. The Split Banana Ice Cream Parlor in Staunton, Va.

It all started like this:

We see here a thoughtful founder with his crowbar, considering the administrations necessary to create what eventually was to become one of the most awesome ice cream and gelato venues I have ever seen.

How it turned out is more or less like the picture here above, with people moving eagerly around in front of the counter to get a better idea of the stunning selection of flavors, and others moving equally fast behind, to serve their customers in the best and most effective manner.

During two weeks of intense work, I have tested the majority of flavors and styles available at the Split Banana. What I found is a stunning example of how well the simple philosophy, to use high-quality, preferably locally produced, ingredients, can work out, if the preparation is then inspired by an unfailing dedication to perfection.

During my stay, I was, for example, the witness of a significant upgrade of the Pistachio flavor which was excellent to begin with. The upgraded version could best be described as gelatified freshly roasted pistachios-in-a-bowl, of an intensity I had never tasted before.

Many of the flavors are surprising, not always in their suddenness and intensity, but often in their subtlety. Whereas, for example, the coconut bounces around in your mouth shouting Fresh! Fresh! in a silly giggle (the best coconut ice cream – or was it gelato? – I ever had), the Virginia peach (in September just as fresh as the former) is astonishingly mild and mellow, and not half as belligerent as your average up-sugared fruit products tend to come across. (more…)


the travels of haricots verts and asparagus

November 21, 2007

I just learned that opinions vary about what the term haricots verts means. Some think the French “green beans” are a smaller variety of the common green bean, but the French Wikipedia version says that they in fact are just: common green beans.

Everyone seems to agree that small, equally sized green beans are most delicious, whatever they might be called. Marcella Hazan, in her Classic Italian Cookbook, p. 307, equals fagiolini verdi with French beans. Often, all sizes of beans are bunched together. If you have the chance, says Marcella, you should pick the smallest ones available, or at least only beans of an equal size, so they cook evenly.

Green beans grow pretty much anywhere. Germany, Holland, France, Italy all have their own production. In Holland the price for green beans is ridiculously low most of the time. In Germany, they are usually still affordable. What Sweden shares with these countries (and more than twenty others that are potential green bean producers) is a membership in the European Union. Frozen green beans, some from other EU countries and some of unknown origin, are available in Sweden; the cheap ones are usually ghastly. The other ones are not cheap and even here, their inherent limpness makes them difficult to prepare well. Another way of offering green beans in this country is neatly sorted into miniature green carton trays, for an outrageous price. These are called haricots verts and come from: (more…)