Ever since a 1993 visit to a frou-frou chocolate shop in Houston, i have had a place in my heart for confections flavored with flower essences. It was a springtime sampler of jasmine, rose, and honeysuckle truffles that did it, and i have long lamented the lack of such sublime treats in our local culinary landscape, the Ramos gin fizz notwithstanding. About the closest i've come has been the rosewater cookie at Jamila's or the orangeflower-laced Lebanese tea at various middle-eastern outposts throughout the city.
The quest to discover a proper substitute has lead to some epic (and sadly, mostly fruitless) marketing excursions to find just the right sweet. There have been homemade debacles, too. I remember one christmas when i convinced my grandmother to make a batch of divinity using rosewater in place of vanilla, which resulted in an oozey, soaplike mess that had to be scrapped. Also, there was the attempt at jasmine tea icecream that caused my milk to curdle. And don't get me started on the topic of kewda (screwpine extract), as i know that malevolent 8 ounce bottle is just biding its time in my cabinet. Yes, it's best to let some sleeping dogs lie...
Well, fellow hounds, my quest has ended, and ended well. The freeze-maestros over at Angelo Brocato's have confected a lovely Jasmine gelato, which has a light floral nose that mellows into a blunted banana fullness on the tongue. Its only drawback is a slight tendency towards oversweetness (a minor failing of several of their offerings), but it is an issue that is easily remedied by the addition of a half-scoop of strawberry ice to the cup. Tonight, i shall return and try the jasmine, foiled this time by the pear, or perhaps the peach, ice.
Now, if only they'd make a similar rose ice, with or without cream. . .