The Ultimate Ice Cream Sandwich
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because you shouldn’t, but oh, you should.
By Leslie Nguyen-Okwu
Picture this: caramelized watermelon seeds, custard vanilla cream, crumbled cookies, melt-in-your mouth bonbons and giant dollops of creamy chocolate ice cream — all sandwiched between two chocolate brioche buns fresh from the oven. A sweet homemade treat designed with the snobbiest of foodies in mind.
The ice cream sandwich of yesteryear — a sliver of bland vanilla ice cream squashed between two soggy slabs of chocolate cookies — is getting a high-class makeover. And leave it to Hong Kong, the culinary capital of Asia, to dish up what might be the poshest of all dessert combinations on this side of the globe. The InterContinental Hotel is one of the city’s fancy-schmancy hotels, awash with five-star luxury and panoramic views of the Victoria Harbor. If you take a peek inside one of their three Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll find Cyril Dupuis whisking and baking feverishly. The French-born executive pastry chef’s greatest saccharine inventions are five internationally themed ice cream hamburgers.
… a new Hong Kong version with chestnut and mango ice cream, rum raisin and brandy.
A literal interpretation of the childhood favorite, these sweet “burgers” are piled high with pizzazz. The Australian Macadamia and Blueberry Burger contains custard vanilla cream, blueberry jam, blueberry ice cream, macadamia ice cream, whipped vanilla cream, mango juice and a sprinkling of blueberries. Not feeling the sugar rush yet? Well, Hong Kong is the Pearl of the Orient too, so Dupuis has created the Chinese Sesame and Lemongrass Burger, which combines crumbled coconut cookies, whipped vanilla ice cream, white sesame sauce and huge heaps of lemon grass and black sesame ice cream. There’s also the American Caramel and Chocolate Cookie Burger, the French Valrhona Chocolate Burger, the Spanish Berry Crumble Burger and a new Hong Kong version with chestnut and mango ice cream, rum raisin and brandy. We could go on, but you get the picture. This latest foodie fad is a delectable way to “enjoy a cool and refreshing dessert during the hot and humid Hong Kong summertime,” Dupuis explains. Two golden buns just barely hold the tall stack of ingredients, which, he adds, “reflect each part of the world,” brought together.
The ice cream burgers, which sound like more than a mouthful, are just that. Carole Klein, who recently gobbled down one of these burgers with her three friends, says it’s a “little much to eat on your own.” So you might want to bring a friend. Klein also found them to be too “rich and decadent” to pack in one bite. And you’ll pay for such decadence. These gourmet desserts come with a gourmet price tag: HK$210 ($27) a pop. And clearly, it’s not for the calorie-conscious who are keeping a close eye on their figure.
But we’re not counting calories or Michelin stars for this carefree consumption. We’ll take a side of Dupuis’ sugary churro fries with that too.