Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jock's Ice Cream

Australia isn't known for it's ice cream, and with good reason. Quality ice cream is a hard thing to find in the land down under. The variety of ice cream outlets and even grocery store options are something I took for granted during my time in the USA. I never realised that the rest of the world lived without Ben & Jerry's. OMG! I didn't appreciate the Blue Bell Homemade Peach (the Texans among you know what I'm talking about) until it was too late. Honestly, I'm not even a true ice cream connoisseur. Deep down, I'm a Slurpee girl at heart. So when I first moved to Australia, I didn't even take notice of the lack of good ice cream. I just wanted to make sure there was a ready supply of Slurpees.

As it turns out, I married an ice cream fanatic who, unfortunately unbeknown to him, happened to live in a country with paltry ice cream offerings. The Handsome Australian loves nothing more than a cold bowl of ice cream at the end of the night. Until we lived in the USA together for a stint early in our marriage, he was quite happy with the ice cream he'd grown up eating in Australia. Then I introduced him to Ben & Jerry's and the like, and thus began his dissatisfaction with the Australian ice cream industry. He couldn't believe the myriad of flavours on offer in the USA, nor the quality. Just as we wondered how Americans survived without Tim Tams, we also wondered how Australians survived with out Ben & Jerry's.

After living in the USA, the Handsome Australian became a true ice cream snob. It was the only part of his food snob persona that had yet to be cultivated, so it was no surprise really. He was all ready a coffee snob and a restaurant snob; to become an ice cream snob as well was really the logical next step.

As you can imagine, once you become an ice cream snob, not just any ice cream will do. You want to eat really good ice cream all the time. How do you do that when you live in a place where really good ice cream is hard to find? Well, you pack the wife and kids in the car and you drive across town to visit Jock's.

83 Victoria Ave, Albert Park

Jock's Ice Cream & Sorbet is both a well kept secret and an institution. Tucked appropriately between a Pizzeria and a Video shop on Albert Park's Victoria Avenue, Jock's always has a steady stream of customers. The place seems to do a roaring trade with the locals who all arrive on foot, bicycle, skateboard or scooter. Some come just for one scoop, while others arrive with cooler bags and grab a couple of litres to take home. How lucky are these folks to have Jock in their neighbourhood?

Then there are the diehards like us. The people who have driven over half an hour to marvel at Jock's wall of awards (yes, there is a wall full of framed awards in case you were in doubt about the quality of the ice cream) and drool over the offerings in the freezer case. There is a definite quirkiness about Jock's and a true originality when it comes to flavour offerings. On our most recent visit, the Handsome Australian chose "Baked Apple" to top his cone. Imagine a baked apple pie, but as an ice cream flavour. Honestly, it was so smooth and subtle yet extraordinarily delicious.

I was enticed by the "Obamarama", which was peanut butter and jelly ice cream.


Seriously. I wouldn't normally go for that kind of a flavour, but after tasting the Baked Apple, I knew that Obamarama, while unusual, would not disappoint. It certainly didn't.

Our little fellow loves lemon. If there is a lemon sorbet on offer, that's what he wants. Inevitably, we always have to eat half of his cone because it starts to melt before he can finish...or that's how we explain it to him anyway. This means I've tasted a lot of lemon sorbet over the years and Jock's version of the lemon sorbet is definitely the best I've ever had.

Loves a little Lemon

As for the little lady, she loves anything involving a mixture of chocolate and vanilla. Jock's answer for her was a flavour called, "Chocolate Ripple". This is another popular Aussie dessert, Chocolate Ripple Cake, as an ice cream flavour. Nothing but smiles from her, confirming yet another winning flavour combination.

Her smile has a ripple effect

After the hard work of choosing your flavour is over, you can relax on large communal benches outside or take your ice cream for a stroll along the beach which is a short three blocks away. Fantastic ice cream in a lovely neighbourhood right next to the beach. Who could ask for more?

Not this guy, he's in heaven!

If the ice cream is this good, how could it still be a well kept secret? This is the one thing I don't understand about Jock's. When I mention the place to people in our area, no one has heard of it. Yet the newspaper clippings and magazine articles singing the praises of Jock's line another wall inside his store. Some things just can't be explained, but I'll tell you this--run, don't walk, to Jock's today for your own little scoop of ice cream heaven.


Lisa in Oz said...

OMG how I miss Ben & Jerry's! I didn't realize what a huge variety of (really really good!) ice cream we had in the USA until I moved here!

We're lucky that we have a nice mom & pop ice cream shop in my town (it's so freaking cute, all pink and white - it's like Barbie's Dream Ice Cream Shoppe lol) that does some pretty good homemade ice cream. Not a huge variety of flavors - but then, it's a small town! - but pretty good ice cream.

emseedubya said...

Chris is the exact same way with the ice-cream before bed....with Milo. ha!
Australian ice-cream from the store tastes like glorified cool-whip. What is WITH the weird foamy's like imitation ice-cream or something. Blech. When you live in rural queensland there's not exactly a plethora of shops to choose from....but they have a Baskin Robbins, which is American, and tastes at least somewhat normal. There's also a Chai Latte ice-cream I can only find at the Sarina IGA that is AMAZING. I still miss the blue bell though! Need one of those attachments for the kitchenaid mixer....

The BEGS said...

Hi Suz~ I've lived in Melbourne for six years now, married to the Aussie Hunk :) Occasionally I get a bit homesick for Alabama the Beautiful (Gulf Coast). Tonight was one of those times and I thought I might find other birds of the same flock. I so enjoyed reading a bit of your blog! Made me think I was back home talking to the girls. By the way, did you know that B&J are now in Australia? I've pasted the website.
And I think all expats can agree on the ice cream issue! :)

Nathalie said...

I was introduced to Ben & Jerry's in London and was in heaven. That was the first thing I ate when I headed back there last year. But I must say, nothing beats the vanilla ice cream in Germany...out of this world!!

Erica said...

Just wanted to say I love your blog...I'm relating to your first few posts so much. Met my Handsome Aussie while traveling South America to improve my Spanish. Now I'm headed to Australia in May. Your informative and funny blog is definitely preparing me for life there!

suzinoz said...

Thanks for stopping by Erica. Your story sounds similar to ours. Haven't posted much lately as we are on the road at the moment. Hope to be back at it soon. What part of Australia are you headed to in May? All the best.

Searching for something said...

Hey there - had to let you know that yes, Ben and Jerry's are coming to Oz - my friend actually flew to LA as her company got the contract to fit out their stores... ANYWAY - I looked at their website and certain Deli's stock B&J's check it out, hope there's a stockist in a suburb near you :)

suzinoz said...

Thanks for the info SFS. Can't wait till Melbourne gets its own dedicated shop!