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Cool new ice cream

March 27, 2008 |  1:46 pm

It sounds too good to be true -- a "fusion of Italian gelato, fresh frozen custard & hand-cranked home made ice cream," made fresh hourly. So what are they really serving at Silky Smooth, the new ice cream place in the Beverly Center?

Well, it's low in fat (10%), so it tastes more like ice milk than Ben & Jerry's or Häagen-Dazs. You can look on this as a positive (cleaner flavor) or a negative (not as rich).

Unlike the usual low-fat ice cream, though, it has a wonderful texture. One reason is that it's served at 18 degrees, much closer to the luscious melting point than to the rock-hard temperature of most ice cream. It's more like soft-serve, that is, except that soft-serve always has a fairly coarse texture, and Silky Smooth really is silky smooth. They say the secret is a special ice cream maker that produces ultra-small ice crystals, combined with the fact that the ice cream is made that day, so it never gets exposed to the cycle of thawing and refreezing that coarsens supermarket ice cream.

Another difference from most of today's ice cream places is that Silky Smooth stocks a limited range of flavors -- just vanilla, chocolate, coffee and strawberry when I was there this morning. In the '30s and '40s, soda fountains usually worked with no more than three or four ice cream flavors, which they varied by making sundaes, splits and shakes. Silky Smooth continues that tradition, except that it can also blend ice cream flavors if you want.

The best part, for some people, will be that all the soft drinks are old-school, made with cane sugar rather than the now universal high-fructose corn syrup. So they're all imported. Silky Smooth may be the only place in town that boasts of serving Coca-Cola bottled in Belgium.

-- Charles Perry

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