Go Big or Melt – The New York Times


Ms. Dundas said, “’Why isn’t there any great artisan ice cream in New York?’ We were like,” he said.

Ms. Gallivan said there was an “eureka moment” when women began to miss the kind of ice cream that exists in Boston, where “there is this incredible tradition of ice cream.” In New York “had Tasti D-Lite and Baskin-Robbins – nothing worth the calories, as my mom said.”

Blue Marble’s overarching concept, like that of many Brooklyn brands, was sublime and vaguely European, featuring “essential” flavors sourced from upstate farms with impeccable organic ancestry and no fudge or breakfast cereal. If sweeteners were more religious than childish, it wasn’t crass marketing: Ms. Gallivan leveraged her expertise in international aid to set up ambitious satellite projects in Haiti and Rwanda, and the latter took 10 years.

And the ice cream was good.

“It’s chewy,” said fourth-generation ice cream maker Thomas Bucci Jr., who “co-packages” beers for the Rhode Island factory Blue Marble and other brands. Good ice cream has a certain bite that “unlike the big guys, it’s just air—it doesn’t even melt,” he said.

“You can spend $20-30,000 a week on milk and cream alone,” said Mr. Bucci, to get that texture. To be precise – added that there are no shortcuts.

However, compromises were sought as Blue Marble began to gain success in its early years, including partnerships with JetBlue and Facebook.

“It’s really hard not to start making concessions in a place like New York, because things are expensive and they’re consuming your margins,” said Ms. Gallivan. Blue Marble said it refused to cut corners, believing that “in the end, quality ingredients and the best ice cream will prevail.”

The freezer shelves at Whole Foods tell the story of the success of artisanal ice cream, with proliferating labels and secret flavors that flutter for space. From Ample Hills and MilkMade to Phin & Phebes and Van Leeuwen, many pints trace their origins to Brooklyn, circa 2010, when a contender for the mantle of the borough’s most authentic ice cream emerged. Even Steve’s, an iconic Boston brand, has tried to reposition itself as a Brooklyn brand.


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