Oh, Clementine’s. What can I say about you that hasn’t already been said?
I remember when I first tried Clementine’s ice cream. I came in December of 2015, a little over 6 months after the original Lafayette Square shop opened. The hubs and I were living in Dallas, and we had come to visit some family. Already, there was decent buzz about the ice creamery and what it was trying to do – small-batch ice cream with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible (eg stout from 4 Hands, cookies from Whisk, fruit from farmer’s markets), arranged and mixed into interesting flavors, some completely originally and some a twist on old classics. And further, half of the flavors were “naughty,” meaning that they were based off of cocktails and contained alcohol. It’s a fun and playful theme that lends itself to some interesting taste combinations.
I will admit, the first time I ever tried it, I was slightly underwhelmed – the texture was a little off for the naughty flavors, and the flavors were a little too mild and weak. A year or so later and we moved to St Louis, and now I can’t stay away. There’s no way that I would ever use the words “weak” or “mild” to describe that ice cream now. It’s bold and daring, experimenting with flavors until there is a constantly changing, rainbow array of impossible choices.
For the hubs, every visit is some combination of madagascar vanilla, salted crack caramel, or toffee butter brickle. Sometimes gooey butter cake (made with the famous Park Ave gooey butter cake) if his sweet tooth is particularly loud that day.
For me, it’s the rotating seasonal flavors. I can’t stop until I’ve tried all of them. I remember when there was tahini (like sesame candy!) and calm yo’ tummy (spiked with lavender), sweet corn. I’ve tried cup o’ sunshine (glowing with turmeric), lady grey. Clementine’s makes my favorite s’mores ice cream, using a fascinating marshmallow base instead of the usual chocolate – it was one of my favorite winter flavors. And the pistachio – the pistachio is the most pistachio tasting ice cream I’ve ever had. It’s amazing and wonderful and one of my default flavors. Although this summer, black cherry ash and blackberry buttermilk, the latter with a subtle tang on the finish, are giving my defaults a run for their money.
I mean, if the flavor assortment isn’t enough, there’s also the textural aspect. Clementine’s is classified as a microcreamery, which means low overrun (<30% air) and high butterfat (>=16%). What that means is it’s some of the more rich, smooth, and creamy ice cream I’ve had (and I’ve had plenty of ice cream).
But really, instead of listening to me, you should just go pay Clementine’s a visit. Or several…
Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery | 1637 S. 18th Street, 63104 (Lafayette Square)