I stopped by Nieves Cinco de Mayo today -- it looks like he got another freezer case, as there are more ice cream flavors in the menu than I remember. The most exotic flavor was rose petal and I thought it was a good version but not something I would want a whole dish of. I ended up with pumpkin and pecan. The pumpkin was unspiced and tasted delightfully squash-y. The pecan wasn't as successful -- I don't think the ground nuts infused as well with the ice cream base, and I don't think he uses any "flavorings" in addition to the main ingredients that would have pulled it together. I also had a taste of my friend's jamaica sorbet, which was a lovely example of sweet-tangy-floral flavors.
Unlike many ice creams, these flavors don't hit you up-front, but really build on the finish as the ice cream melts away and just leaves its essence on your tongue. I think this is because his ice cream isn't made with cream or eggs, so there's no creamy buildup to mute the flavors. And because he uses whole ingredients, not artificial flavors or extracts, the flavors are pure, without any harsh or chemically overtones.
Nieves Cinco de Mayo
3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601
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