San Francisco is not lacking in creative ice cream flavors, or ice cream in general, for that matter. For a city with average temperatures hovering in the low 60s, there’s an awful lot of frozen treats around. It takes something particularly inventive (or just astoundingly simple and well-done) to stand out these days. Salt & Straw, the newest addition to the ice cream scene, has released its “late harvest” menu, with an eye-catching option: roasted bone marrow ice cream with smoked cherries.
Co-founder Tyler Malek says that he’s always been fascinated by bone marrow for its intense flavor. “It adds this completely different texture to ice cream,” said Malek. “It has a meatiness to it.” Malek spent over a year perfecting the flavor, looking at different fat profiles and how they freeze.
To create this elixir, Malek lightly smokes Oregon Bing cherries over cherry wood, then cures them in a brine of bourbon, cherry heering, and spices like star anise, and black pepper. He then renders the marrow and strains out any solids to create a clarified liquid, kind of like a bone marrow ghee.
Next, it’s all about finding the right temperature: The cream and marrow homogenize perfectly at around 110-115 degrees F. It’s emulsified with a stick blender, then more sugar, a little starch, and cherry brine are added before churning. Chopped smoked cherries are folded in to complete the process.
Meaty flavors aren’t completely unheard of in San Francisco — Humphrey Slocombe’s prosciutto ice cream comes to mind — but they still stand out. An additional four flavors will roll out alongside bone marrow on September 1:
California Honey Rocky Road
Candied almonds with a ribbon of honey marshmallow fluff folded into chocolate cream cheese ice cream
Coconut Jam and Chocolate Crispy Rice
Coconut jam from Oakland’s Hey Boo is swirled into salt and vanilla ice cream, with chocolate-covered candied rice clusters
Peach Crumble Bars (vegan)
Peach crumble bars stirred into spiced coconut ice cream, with caramel ribbons
- Roasted Strawberry and Coconut (vegan)
Salt & Straw is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily at its 2201 Fillmore Street; a second location in Hayes Valley is slated to open in September.