San Francisco (and the entire surrounding Bay Area) has some great places for ice cream. In fact, the good folks at Gourmet.com just ran a piece on the 8 best places for ice cream in the Bay Area. 8 places! Most cities are lucky to have one.
(I don't want to even talk about the terrible decision to cease publication of Gourmet magazine. I'll cry into the keyboard. But just know that the piece I linked to above may not be up for long, because of this asinine choice. Read it while you can.)
However, we didn't have much of a decision as to which place to visit when we heard about Humphry Slocombe. Among their many unusual flavor combinations? Prosciutto.
Humphry Slocombe makes prosciutto ice cream.
The only question we had? Which stop on the BART do we take to get there?
Humphry Slocombe is definitely not Baskin Robbins. When you walk in, the only colors that greet you are over-sized photographs of the dirty spoons customers have used when trying flavors, giant fingers ripping up nuts, a smooth surface of ice cream disturbed by a scoop now gone, and the outside of the store. The rest of the place is bare. There's no attempt to make you linger. They'd love it if you ordered a bunch of scoops, then settled next to the stoop outside on spindly chairs. These folks make ice cream they want you to eat, and then they'd like you to leave, really. It's all about the ice cream.
As owner Jake Godby said, in a piece about Humphry Slocombe in Gourmet, “There’s a whole world beyond chocolate, strawberry, vanilla. Why can’t you make peanut butter–curry ice cream?”
You can. And he did. And let me tell you, it was splendid. Sound strange? Think Thai curries. Now imagine that in an ice cream cone.
We also loved the balsamic caramel, the salted licorice, and the Jesus juice (red wine and coke). But those were all just warm-ups for the real taste sensation.
Prosciutto ice cream.
Yes, it's real.
The folks at Humphry Slocombe teamed up with the ones at Boccalone to make this only-one-of-its-kind ice cream flavor. They roast Boccalone prosciutto parts, then steep them in milk with fennel seeds and black pepper. And then, they make ice cream.
What does it taste like, you might be wondering?
You know that thin strip of creamy white fat along a piece of truly great prosciutto? How it tastes porcine, but with the mellowness of fat, not quite so aggressive as the meat? Well, imagine that, with heavy cream, and sugar, then frozen icy cold and put into your hands. That's what it tasted like.
We definitely recommend it, especially with the melon ice cream alongside.
Humphry Slocombe ice creams are icy, rather than super-rich creamy, as some of the other places in San Francisco can be. I think they keep the texture a little less than unctuous so you can taste the flavors more than the cream. I didn't mind. We'd happily have more.
If, after you have eaten two scoops of ice cream — and shared with your spouse and wonderful friend visiting with you — you find that you still want more sweetness? By the cash register sit little bags of bacon peanut brittle.
I'm telling you. Humphry Slocombe.
Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
2790A Harrison St.