Imagine a dairy farm where a herd of 80 cows are all known by name; where they graze on luscious organic pasture, and their milk is packed full of nutrients and bottled on site. Well that’s exactly what happens at Hardwicke Farm where Jess’s Organic Farm Milk is produced. The milk is sold at a number of outlets across the county and further afield, but they also deliver daily to a place in town I’ve been meaning to try out for a while – Milkbar.
This place is essentially a gelato bar, but with an emphasis on organic ingredients and a real, proper gelatiere at the helm. ‘Gelatiere?’ I hear you say. Yep, that’s the name for someone who makes gelato. Gianfranco has a shed load of experience in the industry and even comes from a long line of gelatitions!
Milkbar offers handcrafted gelato, sundaes, milkshakes, crepes and waffles. Now, if you’re wondering if gelato is just a posh name for ice cream, allow me to explain the difference between the two. Gelato has a greater proportion of whole milk to cream than ice cream, giving it a slightly lower fat content; it’s also churned at a lower speed so is denser and has a lot less air in it; and unlike ice cream which is stored in the freezer and served frozen, gelato is typically stored and served at a slightly warmer temperature.
We obviously had to try the gelato on our visit, so we had it in milkshake form; they are each made with three scoops of gelato. After much difficulty making a decision, I went with two scoops of Pecan & Maple with one scoop of Banana, whereas Kingsley went for two scoops of Chocolate and one of Pistachio. Mine was the winner – I don’t take a long time deciding on what to eat and drink for no reason!
We didn’t rest there, we also had to test some of their other offerings. Kingsley had the Rum, Raisin and Chocolate Crepe which spurred a conversation about the difference between raisins, sultanas and currants. Raisins are the plump, juicy ones, and coated in warm, melted chocolate, a dash of rum and wrapped in a crepe, go down incredibly well! I had a Waffle on a Stick: Pretty much what it says on the tin, this is a waffle…on a stick; but obviously there’ a little more to it than that. It’s freshly created, served warm and serve with your choice of topping. I chose the Salted Caramel sauce and it didn’t disappoint, went splendidly with my choice of shake too!
There’s another item on the menu that really intrigues me, and will require a return visit: Gelato Panini. Just imagine – gelato in a warm brioche bun! Mmmm.