Iconic ice cream purveyor Salt & Straw opened in Little Italy this winter at 1670 India St., and true to its ethos of sourcing ingredients from local artisans and seasonal produce from local farmers, its monthly-rotating San Diego-specific flavors taste like the city—in a cone!
We sat down with co-founder and head ice cream maker Tyler Malek to find out what’s in the ice cream pipeline for the new location.
It seems like you use ice cream to convey a sense of the city.
When we started six years ago, it was from a pushcart in Portland. When it came time to create flavors, I got to work with the best chocolatiers and breweries…and I started creating my voice through partners. For me, there’s something in ice cream that no one has in this world, and we can create a relationship with our customer that’s a little more like a wine tasting.
What local businesses have resonated for you—in ice cream form?
I got to meet the people at Belching Beaver Brewery, and we asked ourselves, ‘What carries the flag here?’ We started with Belching Beaver because their peanut butter stout is iconic to me. We ended up with Peanut Butter Stout with Chcolate Chicharron: We start by pouring their Peanut Butter Milt Stout into cream steeped with the same malts the beer is brewed with to make a rich, stout ice cream, then we stir in pieces of dark chocolate-coated caramelized pork chicharron.
One of our favorites in the Modern Luxury offices was James Coffee and Compartes Love Nuts (Salt & Straw makes it by using cold brew from James Coffee roasted beans, and mixes in handfuls of Compartes chocolate-dipped caramel covered pecans.)
James Coffee is close to our store, so I was already going there. I love their philosophy of sourcing: They’ve been working with a farm in Honduras, and the owner has grown with this farm. The relationship has allowed this Honduran farmer to purchase five more plots of land around the area and it has put his kids through school. Both businesses are small enough to have an individualized impact on each other. Maybe that speaks to our ice cream in particular. My dream is that our ice cream isn’t the focal point for the stories we tell.
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