Northern Bloc Ice Cream – There are few things that say summer quite like an ice cream. And when I think of ice cream, I think of nice things, pleasant afternoons in the park with the sun sparkling in the sky and the chimes of a retro pink ice cream van selling us perfectly swirled Mr. Softy ice cream covered in hundreds and thousands, gooey red sauce and garnished with a ‘cheap chocolate’ flake – heaven.
Or so I thought. That is until my recent meeting with a certain Josh Whitehead, chef and creative force behind ‘straight talking’ ice cream brand, Northern Bloc. I don’t know whether to thank him or feel relatively miserable that he has effectively burst my ice cream bubble, unfortunately, the synthetic dollops of ‘dairy’ I had previously enjoyed have now been benched. There is only one type of ice cream worth bothering with – and it’s his.
“Northern Bloc was created when four people came together through a shared passion for ice cream and set out to explore and innovate using fresh, responsibly sourced ingredients.”
I now absolutely agree with this bright young maverick when he says he feels that ice cream is fiercely under rated. Lets face it, ice cream in the UK is generally a sideorder, an accompaniment to the real deal or even worse, the FREE dessert on the kid’s menu. Well fortunately for us, ice cream just grew up. Josh’s passion is clear, his background in various restaurants including Michelin Star establishments has obviously cemented his desire to create and innovate in the kitchen. His knowledge and dedication to sourcing the best flavour combinations, using the best ingredients is more than a little impressive – nearly as impressive as the ice cream itself! (but not quite – this stuff speaks for itself). As he enthused about creating flavours for The Tetley Bar & Kitchen (cask bitter flavoured ice cream), I really wanted to bottle his excitement and possibly bathe in it everyday….
The research and development that go into creating each flavour is astounding frankly, it can take weeks to perfect his recipes, apparently Yorkshire Parkin was particularly troublesome, maturing the parkin and so forth…I’m pretty glad he put the time in, it is bloody gorgeous. It’s actually parkin, but it’s ice cream, but no it’s parkin, but really, it’s amazing ice cream! And how about Raspberry and Sorrel, White chocolate and Popcorn, Earl Grey and Lemon, Roasted Strawberry, Orange Pavlova, Bourban Vanilla, Chocolate and Sea Salt, Ginger and Caramel or my personal favourite, Black Treacle. This menu was well thought through, meticulously developed and executed with absolute perfection.
Trinity Kitchen offered Northern Bloc a residency back in April which they themselves concede, offered them a fantastic platform to share their first menu and to create the buzz they so rightly deserve. Their beautiful 1970’s van is a world away from the bubble gum ice cream vans of norm, but this ice cream is luxury, it’s clever, it’s honest, it’s delicious and just like it’s branding, all grown up. So if you are enjoying some of the fantastic food, festival, music or outdoor events in and around Leeds this summer – and beyond, keep your eye out for the ten mile queue and follow it to the gold at the end of the rainbow! I cannot wait for Northern Bloc to find a permanent residence which Josh assures me is the plan – at some point. I’ll be there with bells on and if I was a betting girl, I’d bet you will be too.
T 0113 320 6656
Unit 14 Castleton Close, Armley, Leeds LS12 2DS