All-natural ice cream made with clotted cream-like milk from Bath Soft Cheese
Forget clinging on to summer: summer is quite literally clinging on to us, with a humid, sticky grip that can only be alleviated by, a) an icy mountain waterfall or b) a scoop of cool, rippling ice cream. This being Borough Market, a place not known for its waterfalls, we chose the latter and limped, sweatily, to Bath Soft Cheese Co.
There, ice cream is made from milk so rich with the wildflower-strewn grasses on which their cows graze you can—if you’ve a sensitive palate—taste the various seasonal changes within it. You might struggle when it gets to ice cream, of course: the addition of fresh vanilla pods or English strawberries can render the detection of, say, new clover, tricky, but as always there’s a correlation between the quality of raw ingredients and the quality of the product at the end.
“We are an organic farm. We have just 200 cows and they are very well looked after,” says Will at the stall. “They only eat grass or fermented grass.” Their milk is creamy—really creamy—and because it’s pasteurised at a lower temperature than your average pint, it caramelises slightly in the process, “almost like clotted cream”.
It comes through in the ice cream, which, far from slipping away into airy nothingness, melts seductively on to the tongue, filling the mouth with a cool wave of strawberry or vanilla. Made on another farm (close to Bath Soft Cheese’s farm in location and in principles) the ingredients are natural, sourced as close to Somerset as possible, and include neither hydrogenated palm oil, water nor eggs.
The vanilla was our favourite, partly by default; mainly because its light, bright flavour best allowed the milk to shine through. Normally milk is the vehicle for ingredients in ice cream: this ice cream does it the other way round. It recalls a bygone era—days when milk really mattered and was celebrated for its nutritional value, versatility and depth of flavour.
Step aside, ye skimmed and filtered imposter, and let the milk from Bath Soft Cheese’s dairy, served in a gleaming boule on a large cone, shine like a beacon of cool hope on a hot, Indian summer day.