Interesting ice cream in Hongdae: Fell + Cole and Molly’s Pops.
The range at Molly’s Pops.
It’s hot, blahblahblahblah, ice cream. You’ve all heard it before. Freezer cabinets in supermarkets and convenience stores across Korea are being filled and re-filled at a rate of knots, with flavours beyond imagining. There are ‘waffle’ wrapped red bean and tteok ice cream sandwiches, corn, chestnut, milk and coffee. Among the spread of fruit based confections you’ll find replica ice watermelon slices, and strawberry tornadoes. I’m a sucker for ice cream in most forms, I used to make it for a living and I especially miss the novel flavour combinations at Gelato Messina. Ice cream parlours in Korea are mostly of the Cold Stone or Baskin Robbins variety, but Hongdae is home to some small batch ice creameries serving up innovative flavours, worthy of a visit.
Blueberry cream cheese at Fell + Cole.
Fell + Cole Gastronomic Ice Creams, the first artisanal ice cream producer in Korea serves scoops, billed ‘dips’, of interesting flavour combinations. Red wine strawberry and sichuan pepper, honey lavender, apple pie or orange blossom cardamom could all be in the display. Korean flavours make an appearance with perilla, a herb more commonly seen in gamjatang or used to wrap samgyeopsal, and the traditional fermented rice alcohol makgeolli. The ice cream here is seasonal, holiday-themed, uses organic ingredients where possible and is free from preservatives and stabilisers. Though perhaps stabilisers might help provide a consistent creamy texture that is often lacking. Sometimes the flavours and texture are both close to the mark, as with eggnog, a sweet and boozy christmas time special. Burnt caramel with smoked sea salt tastes just as it should, balanced and edgy. Or blueberry cream cheese, cheesecake-like and lightened with lemon zest.
Unfortunately, this joint is not without controversy. An homage or a rip off? Who knows. All I’m certain of is that Fell + Cole, with its occasional flops balanced by endless experimentation and improvement, is a breath of fresh air among the endless Baskin Robbins.
Red wine, strawberry and szechuan pepper, and Mexican ‘hot’ chocolate at Fell + Cole.
Fell + Cole is the definitely the darling of the indie ice cream scene, but for a cheaper, and more straightforward alternative, head for Molly’s Pops (몰리스팝스). These popsicles are less complex than the ice cream at Fell + Cole, but no less delicious. The range here changes regularly, with standout favourites being citron (made with yuja), wine and strawberry, and beer. Wasabi is reported to be spicy without a hint of sweetness, while beer is hoppy, sweet and bubbly. The popsicles are mostly one taste, like lemon, grapefruit, espresso or blueberry, fittingly simplistic in form and flavour. Every one I’ve tried has been consistently creamy, soft and luscious.
Blueberry and wine and strawberry popsicles form Molly’s Pops.
Innovative handmade ice cream is a trend I’d like to see grow in Seoul. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the lemonade stand trend of this summer is replaced by artisanal popsicles in 2013.
Popsicles 2,800won each.
Fell + Cole
408-1 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea
1 dip 4,200won.