Why we should all scream for St Albans’ new ice cream parlour

Laura in Darlish

Laura in Darlish - Credit: Archant

Herts Ad food columnist Becky Alexander explores St Albans’ new ice cream parlour...

Laura in Darlish

Laura in Darlish - Credit: Archant

I’m writing this on the hottest day of the year so far, so it seems entirely fitting to tell you that we have a new ice cream shop in St Albans. Grown-ups, do keep reading, as this one will appeal to you too.

Darlish opened a couple of weeks ago on French Row just next to the Clock Tower in the old sweet shop [Under the Herts Ad offices! - Ed]. I went to meet owner Laura just as she was finishing work on the lovely shop (she did much of it herself with partner Jan).

You might have tried Darlish ice cream at one of the local food festivals; the distinctive cart had long queues for its Persian-inspired ice creams.

Selfridges also used to sell Darlish ice cream cakes before Laura decided to focus on us here in St Albans (lucky us!).

Darlish ice cream selection.

Darlish ice cream selection. - Credit: Archant

The shop is a long-held dream for Laura, who has lived in the city since childhood. I love the sophisticated styling of the shop, with olive green walls, smart tiles and silver domes on the counter that house the ice creams.

There is seating along the wall at the back where you can eat your ice cream or just get a coffee or tea. The name Darlish, as well as sounding like ‘delish’, is the nickname of Laura’s cousin – it just seemed really fitting to her.

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Ice cream is a big thing in Persian countries, and flavoured rose water was probably the very first ice cream, with history dating it back to 400BC.

This really isn’t like any other ice cream – it is made by Laura and Jan in small batches by hand and contains fantastic quality ingredients including fresh milk and cream. It tastes lighter than many dairy ice creams, and is more like a gelato.

I tried the orange blossom and pistachio, which was divine, with pieces of pistachio and apricot studded through.

You could buy a tub of this when you have friends over – a perfect summer pud.

My youngest tried the milk chocolate (I had to try a bit for research) which was fab too and I am sure cones of this will fly out this summer.

Flavours will be seasonal and at the moment include rhubarb and pomegranate, sweet cream (the most like vanilla) and coconut and raspberry.

You can add chocolate chips, halva, chunks of brownie and sesame brittle and also sit in to eat a sundae.

Flavours often include the ‘sweet and sour’ balance that Persian food is so known for – sour cherry will feature in ices and also in shabat juices.

There will always be a vegan option and a dairy-free option, for example, using coconut milk or sorbets and as they make the ices themselves do ask if you are worried about allergies.

When I popped in there was a delicious-looking Persian Love Cake covered in pistachios and rose petals, so cake is available too.

Persian tea and Turkish coffee is available, as well as good Americanos, so you can just pop in for a drink. I love that Laura has chosen eco-products for straws and cups.

Think of this ice cream shop in the same way as The Pudding Stop – worth the money and calories and perfect for adults and children alike. There are plans to open in the evening which would be fab.

In the meantime, join the queue, choose something you haven’t tried before and enjoy your ice cream in the sunshine near the Clock Tower or Vintry Garden, or take a tub home. What a lovely addition to our city.