Summer may have finally faded away, but my ice cream escapades continue … if less frequently than when the days were longer and warmer (sigh). I haven’t visited Victory Garden in the West Village since I wrote about it in 2011. But on a recent evening, after an unsuccessful shopping outing, their instagram photos of incredible looking goat’s milk sundaes lured me back. The USP here is goat’s milk – less fatty, lactose free and as the closest thing to human breast milk, apparently easier to digest. I’m not going to dwell on that.
Victory Garden is a charming spot, clean and bright, with the earthy, country vibe of a farm shop or dairy. Tall stools in the window let you sit and watch the world go by, but it’s too petite to linger too long. A barn-like display shelf sells goat’s milk products, soaps, honeys and t-shirts but what’s new since I last stopped by, are the take-home pints of the goat’s milk gelato (I guess they can’t call it soft-serve once it’s hard-packed into pints?)
I sampled a wonderful honey and rosemary flavor, which was warm, floral and delicate. I strangely can’t remember ever having rosemary in a sweet, which puzzles me since it feels so right with honey and cream – if perhaps a little too fragrant for me to enjoy a whole cup. Whilst very tempted by the fabulous sounding sundaes (I stared way too long at the menu), I was alone and not super hungry, so I opted instead for a simple double swirl. The salted caramel was just as delicious as I remember. Unlike many salted caramels that I find too cloying, the rich, burnt sugar flavor is perfectly balanced by the tartness of the goat’s milk. The chocolate was good and, well, chocolatey. I’m trying to work out why I’m not as excited by the chocolate… and I think it could be that soft serve has the ability to feel like ice cream for kids (of the human variety), since the texture is so unchallenging. So soft serve in a simple flavor like chocolate somehow doesn’t feel as grown-up as some of their other flavors, and therefore a little less classy or decadent. I also normally never order just a simple chocolate, it feels like a wasted opportunity to try something more interesting!
In my mind, VG’s goat’s milk soft serve has created for itself a perfect niche somewhere between frozen yoghurt and ordinary ice cream. I’m honestly not sure why it took me so long to go back, but I know for sure that next time I’m tackling a sundae – hunger or no hunger! As the troll once said to the Three Billy Goats Gruff: “I’m going to eat you for breakfast, lunch and tea!”
(NB. I know I have almost entirely adopted American spelling. But I simply cannot lose the S in Goat’s milk. Goat Milk just sounds wrong to me. #sorrynotsorry)