It was a dream of a trip: Just my friend and me in Paris for a long weekend sans kids. The first thing we lined up were our restaurant reservations.
Tekés (which means “ceremony” in Hebrew) was top of the list and a spot that was getting rave reviews for its Middle Eastern vegetable-focused cuisine and Michelin star-winning chef. The open kitchen, the stellar food (let’s just say the Brulée de Cécile was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of dish), the candlelit ambiance—it was energizing and delicious and romantic all at once.
But something surprising happened during the dessert course. When our server brought over the dish, a chocolate ice cream of sorts, she drizzled it quite artfully in olive oil. Not only that, it was a pretty generous pour.
A sprinkle of flaky salt to finish and she was off. Our taste buds and minds were blown, the olive oil evolving the entire flavor of the dish. Why hadn’t we considered this combination before?
Q: So why does this combo work so well?
AB: A few reasons! First off, all pastry chefs deserve so much respect. Dessert can become very unilateral, and ice cream falls into that trap sometimes. First bite is creamy and rich and sweet, and so is every single one afterwards. So what can you do to spice things up? Insert texture and unexpected flavors. With good extra virgin olive oil, you add super punchy and grassy notes, which creates a welcome complexity. Plus, it’s an umami bomb on top of the fat content in ice cream.
Q: Is chocolate ice cream the difference or does olive oil work with other ice creams?
AB: If you are a chocolate ice cream lover, you should put finishing oil on that. If you are a vanilla ice cream lover, you should put finishing oil on that. It’s an amplification of what you already love.
Q: Are there certain olive oil attributes you should look for when choosing the right olive oil to pair?
AB: For sure! There is generally a correlation between “slap you in the face intense” olive oils and “quality”. At Graza, that’s exactly what we are trying to serve up. For ice cream specifically, we would recommend looking for an EARLY HARVEST / FINISHING oil (like Drizzle, wink wink), because they are going to pack the most punch.
Q: What's the origin story of this match made in heaven?
AB: Truthfully, this is the type of thing that likely has 20 separate origin stories. That’s the beauty of olive oil, it’s been used in SO many different cultures and cuisines for thousands of years. My first experience with EVOO and ice cream was at Oddfellows in Brooklyn (they served up a strawberry olive oil ice cream that was to die for), so does that make its origin story Brooklyn? Why not!