When I handed a small tub of lavender ice cream to the guy behind the register at Jay Shindler's chocolate and gourmet food shop in Old Town, he voiced his approval. In fact, he said that when the kitchen made its first batch of the sweet treat, the employees ate most of it, and only a few pints made it to the refrigerator for customers. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get home to try it; after just one bite, all I had to say was yummmm. It's so rich, creamy and delicious, I imagined that I was eating dessert in a fine dining room somewhere. Surely no queen, princess, famous chef or even Oprah could find a richer, tastier ice cream anywhere.
Besides homemade lavender, cinnamon, pistachio and caramel ice cream, the shop makes truffles, cookies, cakes and pastries. Oatmeal butter cookies, flourless chocolate cake, pineapple upside-down cake, mango sorbet and small molten chocolate cakes also tempted the tummy on a recent visit. Truffles come in an array of flavors, including dark chocolate, Grand Marnier, amaretto, coffee, vanilla bean and mint. They can be packaged in gift tins, bags or boxes, and shipped across the country if necessary.
The shop also has non-sweet items as well, offering a solid selection of cheeses, sandwiches (such as smoked turkey, grilled chicken, tuna salad and smoked salmon), salads, dips and spreads, including Smoke Daddy barbecue sauces, for easy carryout. Shindler and company also run a full-service catering company and make a variety of enticing dishes: mini baked potatoes with black truffle cream, zucchini pancakes with peach chutney, mushroom wontons with truffle cheese, caramelized balsamic onion tarts, Gruyere crisps, mashed potatoes and more.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Mary Susan Littlepage