Thursday, August 04, 2011

Kiddie Sized Perfection

Kiddie sized chocolate snowball with marshmallow.

I guess this is one of those signs that an era has truly passed.

We closed down main operations of Jays Shave Ice at the end of 2006. For the next four years, Jays Shave Ice operated during the Artscape festival in downtown Baltimore. 2011 was the first Artscape that we missed in eleven seasons. I was just tired.

The company is still technically called "Jays Shave Ice" but the shave ice component is no longer our focus. And while we've been focused on coffee for nearly five years, I knew that a turning point had been reached when I stopped by a friends snowball stand for a yearly taste of the flavors I had known for so long.

The perfect way to enjoy vanilla soft serve.

Quite simply, after you've operated a well-regarded shave ice company, most of the stuff that passes as snowballs and syrup just isn't up to scratch. Everywhere I turn this summer it seems that I'm surrounded by people serving a lower quality product that isn't fit for consumption. I know that's a bit of an arrogant thing to say but it just tastes terrible.

Hence my stop at Kavern's Tastee Zone in Catonsville during my market tour this week. Here the ice is shaved and fluffy. Not as fluffy as our old product but as close as I'm going to get without hauling out the gear and doing myself. I sat there and made a little glutton of myself.

A kiddie sized canteloupe snowball. Lovely.

A kiddie sized chocolate with marshmallow - originally a combination I thought was disgusting, it wasn't until about 2002 that I really got into it after trying it one cold winter. For me, everything is a kiddie size. I never ate the medium or large shave ices we made, it was just too much. A kiddie size was perfect, just a little bit to when the palate and satiate the desire. Today, much of the same.

Between courses was a cake cone just barely filled with vanilla soft serve ice cream. That was truly my secret delight. Just enough ice cream to fill the cone. A balance between crispy cake cone and icy vanilla dairy. Perfection.

Lastly, a kiddie sized canteloupe snowball. I don't know why, but canteloupe become one of my personal favorites. I had to have it.

And that was it. Just a few bites and I was on my way once again. Until next year...