February 19 – Chocolate Mint Day
The fun thing about February 19 is that it can mean one of two–or both–food items: mint chocolate is chocolate with a mint flavoring added to the mix–either natural or artificial–and can be found in many commercial chocolates and chocolate-related products. Even last week had Peppermint Pattie Day, which creates a delicious combination of mint and chocolate flavors. But it can also be Chocolate Mint Day, a variety of the mint plant that has slightly brown-tinged leaves and smells like someone’s already made the mint and chocolate combination right in the plant.
Since the middle of February is no time to be enjoying fresh chocolate mint plant, I decided to focus on the former: mint flavored chocolate. But unlike the patties of York fame or the bright green creme inside the yummy Andes mints, the highlighted dish of the day uses real mint leaves in its creation, making it more of a hybrid of both of these foods than anything else, truly representing Chocolate Mint Day. The General Greene–aptly located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn–houses typical American cafe fare and a wide range of dessert confections and creams, which are best celebrated in the summer, when the store opens up an ice cream cart (and also distributes its flavors to other restaurants in the area). One of its most celebrated flavors is bitter chocolate mint, made in the “Philly” eggless style, with semisweet baker’s chocolate pieces and real mint leaves folded right into the cream. It’s refreshing to get a mint chocolate ice cream using real ingredients instead of the flavorings and dyes you find in the grocery aisle. The ice cream has gotten such an outstanding reputation here that it’s even been recognized by the Gray Lady, the New York Times.
If you’re a fan of the popular mint chocolate flavor of ice cream you definitely want to check this place out. Some patrons complain that the ice cream isn’t as creamy as they’re used to (because the ice cream is milk-based and not custard-based) or doesn’t taste as sweet, but the slight bitterness of the chocolate and the crisp taste of the fresh mint tell you that the ingredients were picked and blended together in their natural states, which is always a good way to enjoy a food holiday 🙂
The General Greene
229 Dekalb Ave (between Adelphi St & Clermont Ave), Brooklyn
“The holy grail of ice cream turned out to be the salted caramel pretzel and bitter chocolate mint at Greene Ice Cream at the General Greene, 229 DeKalb Avenue (Clermont Avenue), Fort Greene, Brooklyn, (718) 222-1510. It’s a dream team that achieves the mystic balance of salt, sweet and crunch. Nicholas Morgenstern, the cart’s owner and the restaurant’s co-owner and pastry chef, makes Philadelphia style ice cream, without eggs, which yields a satiny texture and more concentrated flavor.”–The New York Times
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“And lastly, we tried the salted caramel sundae, the vanilla bourbon and chocolate mint ice creams. the mint flavor was of fresh mint leaf – very tasty. a great dining experience with friends and family.”–Emily Ahn I.
“I am a big fan of dark chocolate. A BIG fan. Now, I am a fan of Greene Bitter Chocolate Mint ice cream. I tried this at a tasting, served up by a smiling scooper. A very smooth texture with rich chocolate flavor throughout. I was expecting the standard chocolate mint chunks. I got something far better. Every slurp was as rich as the chunks in typical ice cream. The mint flavor was far more accent than overpowering like the mint in a typical store-bought box. The next time I want to treat myself to ice cream, I am skipping the local Baskin Robbins and making the journey to relive that first scoop!”–Michelle A.