I’ve said it before and I will say it again…I am not really a chocolate person.
This doesn’t mean I won’t eat it, it means I just don’t get all feverish and crazy for it like a lot of
women people seem to do. If you handed me a dessert menu, “death by chocolate” would be the last thing I would order.
I know that is somewhat of a loaded statement in a post dedicated in part to chocolate, but stick with me here.
I have recently realized that I was basing my choco-stereotype on mass-market brands like Hershey’s and Cadbury and spongy, flavorless supermarket cakes. I knew there were so-called “gourmet” brands, but I was always too cheap to spring for truffles from Godvia (not when I could get a quart-sized sack of Haribo gummy bears for the same price) so it was easier to say “I am not really a chocolate person.”
Thankfully, there are now times when I can get excited about chocolate. When I know it’s been made with care in small batches using quality minimal ingredients. Now imagine ice cream made the same way. Finally, imagine those two things together.
Steve’s got its start in Somerville back in 1973, and is widely credited as the first ice cream place where you could customize your premium cup or cone with “mix-ins” like candy, nuts, and fruit. Steve’s grew rapidly and was sold by its original founder/owner in 1977. After changing hands a few more times, it disappeared for good in the late 1990’s.
Now the brand is making a return in the hands of David Stein, who worked at the original store when he was a student. During his time there, he learned the importance of making quality small batches of ice cream by hand. He considers the entire process a craft, and strives to partner Steve’s with only the finest artisanal dairy, coffee, and chocolate producers that share his philosophy.
Which brings me back to Taza Chocolate, also from Somerville. I have mentioned before how much I love Taza. They remain the only bean-to-bar producer in the US of organic, stone-ground chocolate. They do everything in-house, their chocolate tastes amazing, and the lover of vintage design in me cannot can enough of their artistic packaging.
I am in no way dairy-free, but my favorite flavor of the evening was the Mint Cacao Chip. It was so smooth and creamy you would have never have thought it was vegan thanks to coconut cream. The mint was bright and refreshing, while the chocolate covered cacao nibs lended some crunch.
I can’t believe I paused from eating it long enough to take a picture.
Other fantastic flavors I tried were Mexican Chili Chocolate (chocolate ice cream spiced with cayenne, cinnamon and Taza Guajillo Chili Chocolate), Salty Caramel (caramel ice cream with sea salted caramel swirl), and Dirty Girl Scout (with coffee liqueur, Irish cream, and mint liqueur ice cream).
I didn’t photograph them because I was also holding onto a cocktail at that point…
A Dark Russian to be exact, expertly shaken…
And served over ice with a scoop of bourbon vanilla ice cream. Oh boy.
Have I mentioned I just love Taza’s packaging and colors?
We were each given a charming take-home glass jar of Steve’s Hot Fudge, made using the original 1973 recipe and featuring Taza chocolate. I hate to even open it, but I know I won’t be able to resist much longer…
Thanks to Taza and Steve’s for a fun and tasty evening – and to Fiona from A Boston Food Diary for bringing me along! It was so much fun snacking on chocolate and ice cream and sipping cocktails with Fi, Megan, Melissa, and Pam.
Right now it looks like you can only get Steve’s in NYC, but they have said they will be selling pints at the Taza store, and you should begin seeing it pop up in local markets soon. They also plan on selling it online for home delivery. Keep an eye out and your spoon ready!