Clearly, I am in the wrong season for ice cream. It’s cold and dreary, and cold. So why have ice cream? Because you can!!!
I love ice cream in the wintertime. It is cold, delicious, and happy. Just because it is -25C outside, it does not mean you cannot partake in childhood pleasures.
Lucky for me, the best ice cream shop in Stockholm is on my island, Södermalm. 18 Smaker (18 flavors) makes their own homemade, organic ice cream. It is founded by two friends, Danne and Karin and opened in 2009.
But they have delicious and unique flavors. Anise and cardamum, licorice, cosmopolitan, blueberry shortcake, ginger, pepparkakor. There are too many flavors to try!
And so I spent afternoon with Danne discussing ice cream.
Me: We all dream of owning an ice cream shop as kids. How did you do it?
Danne: Like everybody else, I loved ice cream. I worked at an ice cream shop during the summers when I was in college and it was one of the best experiences.
When I was chatting with my friend, Karin, over a fika, we both realized we were dissatisfied with our corporate jobs and wanted to do something else. Something fun. So, we decided to go for the ice cream shop with our own homemade ice cream.
Me: And it happened!
Danne: It did! But there were a couple moments where it was all going to fall apart; not having a place, not having everything financially secured. Then as luck would have it, a perfect spot dropped on us and we open in August 2009.
Me: Most of your products are ekologist (ie. organic). Why?
Danne: With so many processed foods today with chemical ingredients, we realized we wanted something real. Some ice cream produces uses artificial flavors, powdered milk, and chemicals to make ice cream tasty.
In reality, a beautiful ice cream is: milk, eggs, sugar, cream. And why not buy organic? It is better and tastier.
On top of the base mix always being organic, we try to ensure all of other ingredients are organic as well. Occasionally it happens we cannot get organic (e.g. Indian mangoes do not come organic; neither does Trykisk Peber) but then we strive for the best quality of fruits and mix-ins.
Me: How do you choose flavors?
Danne: Hehe, I never thought about it as they just come to us! Most of the flavors are suggestions from customers and of course the basics like vanilla, dark chocolate and lakrits.
In addition, some customers will share their summer yield of fruits with us. We were able to make a rhubarb ice cream thanks to a customer of ours. Other times family members will give us their extra plums and lingonberries. Fresh, natural, and from Sweden!
Me: I’ll put my two cents and would love to see pumpkin pie!
Me: You just mentioned lakris, licorice, as a popular flavor. Really?
Danne: Yes! Licorice is one of the most popular flavors we have. It’s Sweden equivalent of vanilla.
When tourists stop by the shop, they ask about licorice. We give them a tasting and usually get such funny faces! Some tourists love it and some still remain skeptical.
And we use Tyrkisk Peber, this very strong flavored licorice that is a popular Swedish godis. It is strong, sour, spicy, peppery, and anise-y (is that a word?).
Me: Have you had a train wreck ice cream?
Danne: Yes, the worst was an espresso sorbet. It was so bad it would not even solidify and we had to let it go.
Me: What’s going to popular for the fall?
Danne: With the wintertime, we like to have some of the favorite Christmas sweets. There will be saffron, pepparkakor, and then wintertime flavors like cognac and plum.
A big thank you to Danne who chilled with me to chat about ice cream.
Monday to Saturday: 12 – 18
Sunday 12 – 17
Timmermansgatan 15, Södermalm, Stockholm
Tbana: Mariatorget, take the Mariatorget exit
OR, walk 8 minutes from Slussen
The ultimate list of ice cream flavors
Hot chocolate (varm choklad)