What is the ice cream experience like abroad? We have Japanese Ice Cream and Ice Cream Ireland to tell us something about it, but it's always nice when our traveling friends taste ice cream in different countries and tell of their experiences. Husband was in China last week on business, and he graciously bought ice cream at the Beijing Airport and wrote us a guest posting. If you have international ice cream stories to tell, please do tell -- we'd love to share your story.
I was walking through Beijing International Terminal 2, debating if I had bought enough souvenirs for my awesome, sexy wife when I noticed this:
I didn't have much room in my luggage, but I did have room in my stomach, so I figured I could try bringing back an ice cream post from China. Plus, if I load it up with enough compliments about Bethany and her incredibly smart and talented partner, Tina, they'd post anything.
First off China does a few things right and service is one of them. In the USA, this little stand would have been staffed by one unhappy teenager trying to avoid looking at you. Customers = work, right? This stand had two enthusiastic women scanning the crowds. The guys at the right were just standing around looking at some lights on the wall, my guess is that they were monitoring the delicate ice cream computers. At this point, I've wandered a bit closer so that both women are smiling, waving, and trying to offer me samples. I start scannng the case and they hand me a tasting spoon of coffee ice cream, easily one of my favorite flavors ever that I didn't even see in the case yet. How did they do that? There must be an ancient Chinese art of flavor identification.
The coffee was pretty good, but I could get that anywhere. I kept looking in the case and something else caught my eye in the back corner. Black sesame. Now if any of you know my dazzling wife, you'll know the only type of sesame she ever liked was the street, and even then she would have reminded you how much she doesn't like the seeds. Bethany wasn't here, so I bought the smallest size of black sesame for 25 RMB, thanked them in my nonexistent Chinese and walked away.
Ok, now take some time to look at this picture very closely and you'll see something very unfortunate:
Seat 44L, which is soon to be one crappy seat in the back corner on a 14-hour flight to Newark.
The ice cream. Now I am notoriously bad at identifying Bethany's archnemesis of seeds, which is probably why I had no idea what this tasted like. It had a great texture, but then this other flavor kicked in and stayed. I think the best part was the blue-grey color, which I hadn't seen since I tried squid ink ice cream with a friend in Hokkaido. That had decidedly more color than taste. This has decidely more taste than color, and I also wasn't too happy with where this taste wanted me to go. It was like my poor little taste buds had just gotten into some sketchy van.
Anyway, the taste let up when I finished the cup, which was good news since it was going to be a while before I'd get on the plane and the food cart would make it all the way back to 44L. The ladies probably knew me better than I did; next time I'll stick with the coffee. All of the other flavors in the case had been pretty common, with some green tea ice cream thrown in to round out the Asian experience. The next time I'm in this terminal I think I'll get one of those other flavors, unless they come up with another color that looks like it shouldn't be ice cream.
Disclaimer: Despite the lovely things said about both Tina and me, we had nothing to do with the content of this posting and, though accurate, we did not edit this piece to make ourselves look better!