Meet the Ice Cream Company Creating Flavors Inspired By Travel

Kat Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

I miss the sandy beaches of Thailand, the air of romance in Paris (paired with cups of espresso and gently folded crepes), the electricity of Tokyo. I miss traveling. Since the beginning of the outbreak of COVID-19, traveling for pleasure — for the most part — has been put on hold indefinitely. This is the correct decision to maintain everyone’s collective well-being that I wholeheartedly agree with. But I can’t help but daydream about my next adventure.

Luckily, with enough imagination, I do have the opportunity to travel via my tastebuds thanks to Wanderlust Creamery. Wanderlust is a Los Angeles-based ice cream shop with five brick and mortar stores and a pop-up each weekend at Downtown Los Angeles’s Smorgasburg. The entire menu, which rotates month-to-month, is inspired by different parts of the world. Currently, you can delight in a violet marshmallow flavor that’s reminiscent of Southern France, eat a honey nougat flavor swirled with pistachios inspired by Iranian gaz, or take a tropical vacation to Hawaii through Wanderlust’s pineapple sorbet flavored with lilikoi or passion fruit and li hing.

The concept is genius, especially when travel is particularly limiting right now. But Adrienne Borlongan, the co-founder of Wanderlust and food scientist behind all the magical flavors, wasn’t initially aiming for wistful concoctions.

“I didn’t decide ‘I’m going to make ice cream inspired by travel,’” she explained to me on a recent video call. “I just made flavors that I wanted to eat.” It just so happened that the flavors she wanted to experiment with extended beyond the typical chocolates and vanillas.

Making ice cream is in Borlongan’s DNA. Her grandfather worked for what she refers to as “the Dreyers or Breyers of the Philippines,” Magnolia Ice Cream. “He developed flavors for that company. It actually started off as just making regular American flavors, like vanilla and strawberry, because there’s a big American military presence in the Philippines,” Borlongan said. But Borlongan’s grandfather also experimented with Filipino ingredients, crafting cheese-flavored ice cream and ice creams studded with corn and jackfruit. Initially, these flavors were saved for staff and family — but in a streak of confidence, Borlongan’s grandfather decided to release the flavors more attuned to his country. “After that, they never sold any American flavors. They took chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry off the menu because all of these other flavors outsold those,” Borlongan said. This boldness has influenced Borlongan’s own creations. “I don’t care if it’s a little out there or ‘weird’ — there’s a lot of people who would love these flavors.”

“I don’t care if it’s a little out there or ‘weird’ — there’s a lot of people who would love these flavors.”

Although ice cream-making runs in Borlongan’s blood, it wasn’t something she necessarily envisioned herself doing. “I always knew I wanted to do something in food. My mom would take me to garage sales and my sister would beg for a toy and I would beg for old cookbooks… I just didn’t know [my career] would be in ice cream.”

Borlongan wanted to go to culinary school, but took the route for nursing instead after being encouraged by her parents to follow that career path. In the back of her mind, however, food remained — so two years into college, she decided to use her science credits and shift tracks to focus on a degree in food science. Throughout this, Borlongan also worked as a bartender and mixologist, which inevitably helped her when developing her own ice cream flavors.

“When you learn mixology, you learn that everything has to have a balance. When I was taught how to create a drink, you kind of think of it as a cross. At the top of the cross is strong, the bottom is weak — that’s in terms of alcohol. And then on the left of the cross is sour and to the right of the cross is sweet,” she explained. “You’re always finding a balance between everything and I noticed I use that principal in every flavor I make.”

It’s true; Wanderlust’s Earl Grey flavor is creamy and fragrant from bergamot, but has a light bitterness thanks to the brewed black tea. The ube malted crunch is bursting with sweet purple yam flavor, but also has the milkiness of malt. The Japanese neapolitan — a swirl of black sesame, hojicha tea, and matcha — is nutty, grassy, and subtly sweet.

“What defines ‘regular ice cream’ depends on who and where in the world you ask,” Wanderlust’s website reads. Just because a flavor may feel unconventional to some, it’s nostalgic and comforting for others. That’s partially how Borlongan develops new flavors now.

“In the beginning, it was based off of places I’ve actually been and stuff I’ve actually eaten and tasted,” Borlongan said. But as the business took off, she hasn’t been able to set aside any time to travel, so she gathers inspiration from other people’s trips or memories — whether it’s her parents’ jaunt to Indonesia that brought forth a recent avocado coffee flavor, souvenirs and ingredients provided by her sister from moments abroad, or customer suggestions. “More recently, a lot of our flavor inspiration comes from other people, like customers coming in and being like, ‘I’m Armenian and this is what I grew up eating; you should make this into an ice cream.’” Borlongan takes these recommendations to heart. “When we make flavors that speak to other people’s culture, when people see an ice cream on the menu that represents their culture, they get so excited. It’s personal to them. I think that resonates more with our customer base.”

I ask Borlongan what it’s been like being a small business owner during a pandemic, knowing that the restaurant and service industry is being hit particularly hard right now. But Borlongan has some edge; Wanderlust perfectly serves the consumer who is dreaming of their next vacation once this is all over.

“I think throughout this pandemic, people are turning to things that comfort them. A lot of people in the ice cream industry [have] also seen an uptick in sales through the pandemic,” she explained. “I think people just want to be comforted and ice cream is an easy comfort. And [with] the whole travel thing, I think people are craving a way to escape. We do provide that, somehow.”

Though I can’t get on a cramped flight to Bali right now, or trek the mountains in Peru, or luxuriate in the rich hazelnut gelatos of Italy, Wanderlust Creamery is an entirely welcomed alternative.

Source: Thrillist

Esterhazy Slices

Ingredients

7 egg yolks
1-3/4 oz granulated sugar
vanilla sugar
grated zest of lemon
7 egg whites
4-1/2 oz granulated sugar
8 oz grounded hazelnuts
oil and flour to batter the baking tray

Cream

9 oz butter
3-1/2 oz icing sugar
1 cup vanilla cream
1 tbsp rum

Vanilla Cream

1 cup milk
3/4 oz vanilla sugar
1-1/2 oz icing sugar
3/4 oz vanilla custard powder
1 egg yolk

Garnish

1-1/2 oz apricot jam, strained
9 oz fondant – sugar glaze
1 tsp cacao – chocolate powder
1-3/4 oz grated almonds, roasted

Method

  1. For the cream beat the butter with icing sugar until creamy. Pass the vanilla cream through a fine sieve and pour slowly onto the cream butter, add rum and stir continuously.
  2. For the vanilla cream pour 1/4 of the milk into a bowl, blend in the egg yolks, the sugar and the vanilla powder. Bring the rest of the milk to a boil and pour in the egg yolk mixture, stir well and remove from the heat immediately.
  3. Beat the egg yolk with 1-3/4 oz granulated sugar, vanilla sugar and lemon zest creamy. Take the egg whites, 4-1/2 oz granulated sugar and whisk together until the mixture is white and thick. Fold into the egg yolk mixture, add the grated hazelnuts and gently mix together.
  4. Turn the mixture out onto a baking tray and spread lightly (1/4-inch). Bake for about 8 minutes, remove from oven and let it cool. Cut in 3-inch stripes. Spread butter cream on bottom layer, cover with the second layer, spread cream again and so forth. Sandwich with the top layer smooth side upwards and spread some reserved cream on the sides of the cake. Let it cool.
  5. Spread the strained apricot jam over the top layer and glaze with the warm fondant. Take 2 tbsp of fondant and mix with the chocolate (cacao). Fill the mixture in a small piping bag and pipe lengthsways in lines. While the fondant is still warm, create the typical esterhazy pattern dragging a knife lengthwise across in thin lines. Leave to set and sprinkle the sides of the cake with the almonds. Cut in 10 slices.

Makes 10 slices.

Source: Culinary Austria

In Pictures: Character Food of Kuromi My Melody Cafe at Egg & Spuma in Shinjuku, Japan

139 Clients, No COVID Infections: Hair Salon Study Shows Face Masks Work

M. Joshua Hendrix, Charles Walde, Kendra Findley, and Robin Trotman wrote . . . . . . .

On May 12, 2020 (day 0), a hair stylist at salon A in Springfield, Missouri (stylist A), developed respiratory symptoms and continued working with clients until day 8, when the stylist received a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A second hair stylist (stylist B), who had been exposed to stylist A, developed respiratory symptoms on May 15, 2020 (day 3), and worked with clients at salon A until day 8 before seeking testing for SARS-CoV-2, which returned a positive result on day 10. A total of 139 clients were directly serviced by stylists A and B from the time they developed symptoms until they took leave from work. Stylists A and B and the 139 clients followed the City of Springfield ordinance* and salon A policy recommending the use of face coverings (i.e., surgical masks, N95 respirators,† or cloth face coverings) for both stylists and clients during their interactions. Other stylists at salon A who worked closely with stylists A and B were identified, quarantined, and monitored daily for 14 days after their last exposure to stylists A or B. None of these stylists reported COVID-19 symptoms. After stylist B received a positive test result on day 10, salon A closed for 3 days to disinfect frequently touched and contaminated areas. After public health contact tracings and 2 weeks of follow-up, no COVID-19 symptoms were identified among the 139 exposed clients or their secondary contacts. The citywide ordinance and company policy might have played a role in preventing spread of SARS-CoV-2 during these exposures. These findings support the role of source control in preventing transmission and can inform the development of public health policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. As stay-at-home orders are lifted, professional and social interactions in the community will present more opportunities for spread of SARS-CoV-2. Broader implementation of masking policies could mitigate the spread of infection in the general population.

Stylist A worked from day 0 to day 8 with COVID-19 symptoms before receiving a diagnosis of COVID-19 by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Although self-isolation was recommended after testing on day 6, stylist A continued to work until the test returned a positive result, at which time stylist A was excluded from work by salon A. On day 3, after working with stylist A, stylist B developed respiratory symptoms. During Stylist A’s symptomatic period, the two stylists interacted while neither was masked during intervals between clients. Stylist B worked from day 3 to day 8 while symptomatic before self-isolating and seeking PCR testing, which returned a positive result for SARS-CoV-2 on day 10. Stylist A worked with clients for 8 days while symptomatic, as did stylist B for 5 days. During all interactions with clients at salon A, stylist A wore a double-layered cotton face covering, and stylist B wore a double-layered cotton face covering or a surgical mask.

The Greene County Health Department (Missouri) conducted contact tracing for all 139 exposed clients back to the dates that stylists A and B first developed symptoms. The 139 clients were monitored after their last exposure at salon A. Clients were asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and were called or sent daily text messages to inquire about any symptoms; none reported signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Testing was offered to all clients 5 days after exposure, or as soon as possible for those exposed >5 days before contact tracing began. Overall, 67 (48.2%) clients volunteered to be tested, and 72 (51.8%) refused; all 67 nasopharyngeal swab specimens tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR. Telephone interviews were attempted 1 month after initial contact tracings to collect supplementary information. Among the 139 exposed clients, the Greene County Health Department interviewed 104 (74.8%) persons.

Among the 139 clients, the mean age was 52 years (range = 21–93 years); 79 clients (56.8%) were male (Table 1). Salon appointments ranged from 15 to 45 minutes in length (median = 15 minutes; mean = 19.5 minutes). Among the 104 interviewed clients, 102 (98.1%) reported wearing face coverings for their entire appointment, and two (1.9%) reported wearing face coverings part of the time (Table 2). Types of face covering used by clients varied; 49 (47.1%) wore cloth face coverings, 48 (46.1%) wore surgical masks, five (4.8%) wore N95 respirators, and two (1.9%) did not know what kind of face covering they wore. Overall, 101 (97.1%) interviewed clients reported that their stylist wore a face covering for the entire appointment; three did not know. When asked about the type of face coverings worn by the stylists, 64 (61.5%) reported that their stylist wore a cloth face covering (39; 37.5%) or surgical mask (25; 24.0%); 40 (38.5%) clients did not know or remember the type of face covering worn by stylists. When asked whether they had experienced respiratory symptoms in the 90 days preceding their appointment, 87 (83.7%) clients reported that they had not. Of those who did report previous symptoms, none reported testing for or diagnosis of COVID-19.

Six close contacts of stylists A and B outside of salon A were identified: four of stylist A and two of stylist B. All four of stylist A’s contacts later developed symptoms and had positive PCR test results for SARS-CoV-2. These contacts were stylist A’s cohabitating husband and her daughter, son-in-law, and their roommate, all of whom lived together in another household. None of stylist B’s contacts became symptomatic.

Source: CDC

Unhealthy Housing Can Lead to an Unhealthy Heart

Lack of access to quality housing can be a steady stressor that increases the risk factors for heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular issues, according to a new report.

“Chronic housing insecurity may impact a person’s ability to eat properly, get quality sleep, schedule regular medical care or fill prescriptions due to cost,” Mario Sims, chair of the writing group for the American Heart Association scientific statement, said in a news release. The work – a review of the current research on housing’s impact on cardiovascular disease – was published Wednesday in the AHA’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“These factors all contribute to inadequate treatment to reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use, and to the greater likelihood of having a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke,” said Sims, a professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. He also serves as chief science officer of the Jackson Heart Study, the largest research project to date looking at the causes of cardiovascular diseases in African Americans.

People are considered homeless, as defined by the federal government, if they live on the street, are serial renters who move often, or temporarily live in hotels, homeless shelters or with friends.

“The disparities in cardiovascular health among people who are homeless and marginally housed are largely due to psychosocial stressors, unhealthy behaviors used as coping mechanisms and barriers to health care, including lack of insurance and stigmatization among this population,” Sims said.

Among adults who were homeless or housing insecure:

  • 60% of their cardiovascular disease-related deaths are caused by smoking
  • 25% report recent cocaine use, which increases risk of heart attack
  • 25% have mental illness, which may contribute to delayed diagnosis and fragmented medical care

Poor quality of housing, residential segregation and bias contribute to the problem.

Houses that are deteriorating, that don’t heat or cool well or leave residents exposed to pollutants such as mold, lead or secondhand smoke can impact cardiovascular disease risk. Improving air quality, reducing dampness and living in a comfortable temperature have been shown to lower blood pressure.

Studies have found that adults who live in older public or low-income housing are more likely to have heart disease. Substandard living conditions affect mental health, which also has been linked with heart and blood vessel health in both children and adults.

Residential segregation by race and ethnicity as well as gentrification – when more affluent people renovate in neighborhoods and displace lower-income residents – also can make it harder to find affordable, high-quality housing.

The scientific statement looked at how the 2007-2010 foreclosure crisis was associated with poorer heart health, and it highlighted racial disparities. Hispanics in areas at risk for foreclosure had higher rates of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Foreclosures also were associated with higher rates of heart attacks and strokes among middle-aged Black residents.

“Neighborhood environments are strong predictors of cardiovascular health and well-being,” Sims said. “Studies have consistently shown that individuals residing in economically distressed neighborhoods with high poverty and unemployment rates have a higher incidence of cardiovascular risk factors, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, and higher risk of stroke and death from a cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and others.”

The way neighborhoods are designed even has an impact, the report said.

Walkability and access to healthy food options are tied to body mass index, blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and a cluster of heart disease risk factors called metabolic syndrome. Research suggests high levels of neighborhood greenness, or vegetation, are associated with lower rates of Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, coronary artery disease and heart failure.

Source: American Heart Association


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