Salt & Straw isn’t your average ice creamery. From their commitment to collaboration and exploration of unique flavors to their mission of using ice cream as a platform to inspire and connect others, Salt & Straw takes their ice cream seriously. Through working with local makers, farmers and chefs, they create incredible, unique one-of-a-kind flavors for their constantly-changing menu. On average they scoop least 36 flavors across their neighborhood shops.
For the first time in 10 years, they’ve changed up their Thanksgiving ice cream menu. This decadent menu showcases everything we love about Thanksgiving: new and old traditions; piles of comfort foods all mixed up on one plate of deliciousness; spices and sweet desserts… only in ice cream form.
The new menu includes: Parker House Rolls w/ Salted Buttercream; Candied Walnut Cheesecake; Sweet Potato Pie w/ Double Baked Almond Streusel Filling; Caramelized Turkey & Cranberry Sauce; and Pumpkin & Gingersnap Pie. Check out the complete details of these flavors here.
We chatted with Head Ice Cream Maker and Cofounder Tyler Malek about his creative process; the Thanksgiving menu inspiration; what’s next for Salt & Straw and more. Here’s what he had to say.
What’s the creative process behind coming up with these flavors?
We’ll start thinking about ideas at least a year in advance in our R&D kitchen. Long before we ever create the recipes, we think about the story of the flavor and how it’ll tie into the greater theme of the menu.
I think if you can create a compelling narrative about the ingredients, why the flavors go so well together, and the tasting experience you hope to create, then the actual creation of the recipe is simple.
What’s the inspiration for this new thanksgiving menu?
This menu celebrates bringing people together. It’s such a great series to enjoy with your friends and loved ones, digging into the ice cream and sharing your favorite holiday memories.
You’ll taste familiar Thanksgiving flavors, done just a bit differently. We find this menu spurs some lively conversation amongst friends. We’re really grateful to be here and to get to share the joy of the holidays with you all.
Have there ever been flavors that are so crazy that you have had to change the flavor combination completely?
Oh, there have definitely been flavors that never made it out of our R&D kitchen, but I think that’s part of the fun of making ice cream. You don’t always know if a flavor is going to turn out or not, but that’s also part of the magic. Whatever flavor we can dream up, or ingredient we want to use, we get to work bringing it to life.
What’s in the works after thanksgiving?
We love getting into the holiday spirit and this year, we’re partnering with a very special friend for some extra holiday cheer. I’m also so excited for 2022 because we’re finally relaunching our monthly menus.
We’ve been working on some really awesome projects too and I can’t wait to share them all with you. We’re bringing new flavors and new partners every single month. It’s going to be epic.
What got you first interested in ice cream making? When did that passion turn into a career for you?
When you look at ice cream from a culinary perspective, it offers so much creative freedom. It’s approachable and nostalgic for the guests who visit our shops, which means we can play with flavors and ingredients they’ve never tried before while still being rooted in something “safe.”
Ice cream shops are unique in that guests can try all of the flavors before they order. As a chef, it’s freeing and empowering to be able to offer that to guests, and it allows me to experiment with flavors that might be a bit more adventurous with the intent of creating a multidimensional experience within our shops.
When we first launched Salt & Straw, I had no idea what to expect as a chef, but I was hooked by the idea of using ice cream to tell stories about our community and the artisans, makers, and chefs that inspire us.
As we’ve grown our business, we’ve realized that we can create far more change than we ever imagined. Since starting in 2011, we have had a significant impact on our local communities, including hiring thousands of team members, working with hundreds of small artisanal purveyors, and donating hundreds of thousands to non-profits.