Forsyth CC’s recently purchased a commercial ice cream machine and Pastry Chef Cody Middleton is now able to create artisan ice cream and sorbets for plated desserts, intermezzos and more.
Ice cream is a treat enjoyed by people of all ages. It elicits a nostalgic, emotional response and it can create so much happiness for members and guests. Here at Forsyth Country Club, we saw that there might be an opportunity to capitalize on this sweet treat by offering our members house-made ice cream, gelato and sorbets.
We did a test run in the late summer and early fall last year to see if our members would be interested in artisanal frozen desserts. After receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from our members, we decided to purchase a commercial ice cream machine for the club. We now serve house-made frozen desserts for special events and in our a la carte restaurant.
Having a commercial ice cream machine has also allowed us to produce ice cream and sorbets efficiently enough to introduce intermezzos and ice creams as components to plated desserts. We strive to evolve and grow as a club and believe that this will prove to be advantageous in setting ourselves apart from other clubs and restaurants. We have been able to create and customize flavors to harmonize each specific menu instead of having to settle for the basic vanilla or chocolate.
Recently, we hosted a “Wild Game Dinner.” A couple of the components we served were a spicy bacon doughnut with a salted pecan bourbon brown sugar ice cream. Not only was the host pleased with the dinner, but the president of the club was in attendance and expressed his gratification as well. Receiving such positive feedback from our members reconfirmed our decision to purchase our ice cream machine.
Although some purest may not favor stabilizers, I do not mind using them. Unless I will be using the ice cream within a day or two, I prefer to add a stabilizer. They provide an increase in volume, improve mouthfeel, and prevent ice crystal formation during the free-thaw process. The latter is especially important in our a la carte kitchen where the freezer is opened more frequently. Since this is one of the biggest challenges with ice cream—apart from melting, of course—we take steps to preserve the quality of our products by utilizing stabilizers. While stabilizers may be a relatively high initial cost, we find it much more beneficial than to have an increase in wasted product later on.
One thing that we have noticed about our members’ frozen dessert preferences is that they lean towards traditional flavoring options. Before we bought our ice cream machine, we bought a strawberry ice cream with a sweet balsamic swirl to see if the members would like savory flavors like this. It turned out to be a complete dud. Our top selling frozen dessert was a slight twist on the classic ice cream sandwich. The members raved about our crѐme de methe chocolate chip ice cream sandwich. With this said, we have also found that any ice cream or sorbet that has alcohol in it seems to sell a little better. At Forsyth Country Club, it really is the classics that keep our members coming back for another scoop.
Down the road, we would like to further our new ice cream program and capitalize on our investment. We understand that many members at our club try to avoid excess sugar due to dietary or medical restrictions. That is why we are currently in the R&D stage to include sugar-free ice creams in order to capture this demographic. We are also looking to offer some of our ice cream at our pool pavilion kitchen when it reopens for the summer. We are excited that our members have appreciated and supported what we are doing with our program and we plan to use their feedback to heighten their overall experience.