Happy St. Patrick's Day...

As I mentioned this weekend, there is nary a food item that isn't available in seasonal green for St. Patrick's Day around here. I, however, tried to think outside the box in bringing you a festive holiday treat. I wanted to achieve something green without adding food coloring, and celebrate the rising temperatures outside with a premature return to my hobby of tinkering with my not-so-new anymore-favorite-toy. In the frozen dessert world, that really only left me one option -- green tea ice cream. I suppose I could have made a kiwi sorbet or some such, but I don't really like kiwi, and I've loved green tea ice cream ever since I started eating Japanese food as a wee lass. In the beginning, my fondness for it was more of an attraction to the unusual color, and although I still can't quite put my finger on what it tastes like, its unique flavor has grown on me over time.

However, it seemed that fate was not smiling upon my gastronomical decision. Perhaps St. Patrick himself was offended by my Japanese-Irish fusion, but I ended up checking four different stores for the matcha powder necessary to make green tea ice cream. Matcha is a powdered form of green tea produced only from shade-grown tea leaves, which achieve a darker shade of green, and therefore a higher concentration of anti-oxidants and nutrients. It is a coveted product, utilized in the formal Japanese tea ceremony, which is considered by some to be the highest expression of Japanese culture. I don't actually like to drink matcha -- I find its consistency to be somewhat off-putting -- but when it it is dissolved into ice cream, I am able to appreciate its earthy, buttery, pungency more fully.

So, after checking the regular grocery store, Whole Foods (where I purchased a container that purportedly held matcha, but when I got home and opened it, contained a combination of green tea leaves and a dusting of matcha powder), and Teavana (where the matcha powder was out of stock), I finally struck gold, or green as it were, at the Tee Geschwender, a Chicago outpost of the German chain. Ironically, it was the Germans who came to my rescue in my effort to make a Japanese dessert for an Irish holiday, but that's really neither here nor there. The canister was a pricey $20 for a few scant ounces, but after chasing the ingredient all over the South Loop and Gold Coast, I was determined to have it.

In the end, the product more than justified the effort and expense in tracking down the ingredients. My green tea ice cream, concocted from a recipe from my beloved The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz, was by far the best I've ever had. The green tea flavor was more pronounced than any store-bought or restaurant-produced version I've sampled, although the color wasn't quite as vivid as I was hoping. I'll chalk that up to the lack of food coloring. Even so, despite the drama that surrounded it's creation, I'm going to pronounce my green tea ice cream experiment to be a resounding success.


  1. " was the Germans who came to my rescue in my effort to make a Japanese dessert for an Irish holiday."

    Haley - I can't wait for your Cinco de Mayo story. 'Cept I hope it doesn't involve Taco Bell... sort of. *hee hee hee*

  2. I know you don't drink the stuff, but should you want more matcha (at probably more reasonable prices), I can get you the good stuff straight from Uji, the green tea capital of Japan.
    PS The comment system on your blog really seems to hate me, so I'm posting anonymously. I know you know who I am.

  3. Thanks for the offer, Scott, I <3 you! But, I think once we factor in the cost of international shipping, it'd still be pretty pricey...

  4. Lemme know if you change your mind...