Review: FELL+COLE Gastronomic Ice Cream in Seoul

23 Jun

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This morning, I found myself musing on the combination of bacon and maple sugar.  I’d heard of an ice cream flavor incorporating bacon, and could imagine that actually turning out quite good, so one whim led to another, and googling led me (with camera in hand and a taste-testing buddy in tow) to a little artisanal mostly-organic ice cream shop in Seoul called FELL + COLE, after a couple of streets in San Francisco, where the owner was inspired in the first place.

 

 

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The Hongdae branch is super easy to find–just walk out Sangsu Station (Line 6) exit 1, make a right at the first alley, and follow it past the little jog in the road, where you’ll see FELL + COLE on the right-hand side.  The owner was present, when we wandered in an hour or so after opening on a Sunday morning, and was both fluent in English and ready to answer curious questions about the variety of ice cream on hand.  And it was quite a variety.  Today’s array included ‘Drunken Salty Watermelon’–which sadly sold out right before I got to the counter– ‘Honey Lavender’, ‘Agave Chocolate’, and ‘Fleur de Lait’. However, I was in the mood for something more daring…

I asked for a sampler (they’ve only got one 3-hollow sampler plate available, by the way!) and would have probably tried everything if the three scoops I did get hadn’t been so big. As it was, I picked two that sounded completely odd and one more because it was pretty, because… well.  My friend ordered the Raspberry Sherbet (pictured above), while I…

(drumroll… wait for it…)

I went out on a gastronomic limb and ordered the ‘Foie Gras’ and the ‘Youth Potion No.6’ in addition to the ‘Strawberry Red Wine with Szechuan Pepper’.  Now, if you have ever seen me eat ice cream, there is rarely any guessing involved.  If there is chocolate, I will gravitate to the chocolate.  If there is double-chocolate, I will pick that.  If there is triple mucho chocolate fudge & coffee chunks in a chocolate base with chocolate chips, bring it on.  But I was particularly daring today.  I mean, foie gras ice cream? What?  I’m not sure I would even eat foie gras if you put it in front of me on a plate.

gastronomic003 Anyway, I didn’t regret my decision for a moment.

I started off with the Foie Gras (pictured at the bottom).  It had a surprisingly mellow flavor, with a light caramel base and a hint of salt that really gave it dimension.  I couldn’t actually taste anything ‘meaty’ about it, but found this the best of the three I tried, just because it wasn’t super sweet, but had an amazingly complex flavor profile without being overpowering in any direction.

Youth Potion No.6 (pictured in the middle) turned out to be made from a combination of grains and seaweed (!).  If you’ve ever tasted Korean dessert-style ddeok (떡; rice cake), this tasted exactly like a very fresh batch of that.  The flavor was reminiscent of sweet black bean and rice with a hint of sesame, and a very rich nutty finish.  Like the first, it wasn’t too sweet, and struck an amazing balance.  I can’t usually eat dessert-ddeok, because the gumminess of the texture wigs me out, but this had all the wonderful parts of the taste in the form of ice cream–no interminable chewing required!

Lastly, I dived into the Strawberry Red Wine with Szechuan Pepper (pictured at the top).  This, by the way, was listed as a vegan choice on their Facebook post about the day’s flavors.  This one was intense, intense STRAWBERRY, super-sweet, and tasted so fresh and real I couldn’t believe it.  I couldn’t catch much more than a hint of wine, but my taste-testing buddy said it was pretty strong.  Then again, her Raspberry Sherbet tasted too mild, to me, in comparison to the more clamorous flavors I’d chosen, so….  This was definitely one to enjoy if you like a sweet and vividly fruity ice cream.  It was delicious, though, and despite the sweetness, I didn’t find myself fighting a nasty aftertaste in the wake of it, as I usually do after anything very sugary.

I will definitely go back here, probably for another tasting-round the next time I can round up a friend to come along.  The flavors change from day to day, even hour by hour, depending on what they feel like making.  As all the ice cream is made in relatively small batches, you can imagine some sell out pretty fast, and there’s no guarantee they’ll return.  Personally, I’m still waiting to try the ‘Hokey Porky’ flavor with bacon, if I can catch it the next time it pops up…. I had a hard time today convincing myself I didn’t need to get another cup of ice cream for the road when we left.  My decision was largely cemented by the fact that I couldn’t choose which one to get seconds of, honestly!

For the health-conscious, the owner freely admits that ingredients are as organic as possible, which is about as good as you can do in a place like Seoul, where some things just aren’t available, and for the vegan/lactose-intolerant crowd, there seems to be a constant circulation of several delicious milk-free choices available.  Plus, the flavor names are just really fun.  Today’s selection at the Galleria branch, south of the river, included ‘Obamacadamia’, for example.  The shop also sells coffee, as well as some small cakes, pies, and ice cream sandwiches.

 

My rating: ✧✧✧✧✧

(5 out of 5 – Great service and communication, a wide variety of unexpected flavors, something for everyone, and the taste is head & shoulders above the usual sickly-sweet preservative-laced mass-produced stuff you’ll find in standard ice cream chains.)

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2 Responses to “Review: FELL+COLE Gastronomic Ice Cream in Seoul”

  1. audioboon June 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Bacon ice cream? And I thought there was only variations of Chocolate. Silly me!

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