The ingredients were simple and real, but the results were extraordinary. Sweetened egg custard, vanilla, cream and half and half were placed in a canister surrounded by rock salt and ice.
We listened eagerly as the electric motor that turned the churning paddle groaned under the friction of the thickening contents until it stopped. My mom’s homemade ice cream was worth the wait.
Real is the simple goal that David Kumec has for his Mission Hill Creamery. Kumec acquired his culinary training in France and Sonoma’s wine country, working in kitchens as different as those at France’s EuroDisney Park and the Sonoma Mission Inn.
His organic ice cream is made from scratch on-site with cream from the Straus Family Creamery in Marin County, which was the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi and the first 100 percent certified organic creamery in the country. Kumec uses organic ingredients, such as local strawberries, in his repertoire of 200 seasonal recipes, 16 of which are available at the Creamery’s scoop shop in Downtown Santa Cruz.
I liked the fact that tasting spoons are reusable metal, as I nibbled on a bite of snow-white coconut ice cream with an abundance coconut bits.
Single ($3.50) and double scoop ($5.50) cones are served in
familiar sugar and cake styles, but my preferred option is Mission Hill’s hand-rolled waffle cone ($.50) which is thin, crisp and lightly sweetened.
A few special Sundaes ($6/$7.50) include the Black and Tan. Served in a coffee cup, the smoky cooked sugar flavor of salted caramel ice cream melted into the smooth, house-made hot fudge sauce. It was topped with whipped cream and a tart amarena cherry.
You can find hand-packed pints at the scoop shop, New Leaf, Staff of Life, the Food Bin, Aptos Natural Foods, and Whole Foods.
Mission Hill Creamery, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 216-6421. Open Sunday through Thursday from noon until 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon until 11 p.m.