Eat, drink and be merry - one scoop at a time!
James Bond’s barside catchphrase, “Shaken, not stirred” used to describe pretty much everything one could do with distilled spirits (other than drink ’em, of course). But, like the Bonds over the years, everything must change, and the once pristine martini and foamy pint can now be distilled, brewed or infused with a virtually endless variety of ingredients and flavors including figs, oysters, mushrooms, ginger, cherries, peppercorns, blood orange, cucumber, molasses, habaneros, cinnamon and who knows what else. You can even buy a loaf of bread flavored with a local craft beer and enjoy it with cheese redolent of one of Georgetown’s favorite brews.
As you might expect, it took a transplanted New Yorker to kick things up to the next level. In her secret laboratory high in the belfry (well, OK - her kitchen) she perfected a secret method for adding a special kick to ice cream, up to now the most unassuming of confections. And she’s calling it Blotto Gelato.
Kathleen Belfont worked in marketing before she and her husband Ron decided to move to central Sussex. Like so many of us, she had visited the beach many times as a child, and the happy memories meshed perfectly with the birth of their first child. The difference in the cost of living between here and The Big Apple gave her the freedom to be a stay-at-home mom. One night, in her words, “The kids were in bed, my husband had his wine, and there I was with my ice cream.” In the interest of trying to make dessert more interesting, she created a sorbet from strawberries and sweetly floral moscato wine, quickly graduating to her own tipsy recipe for chocolate ice cream (chocolate liquor and vodka). Irish Fog Nog wasn’t far behind.
Those of you with even a basic interest in chemistry might be wondering how she got alcohol to freeze - in direct violation of the laws of physics. Kathleen has a few secrets that actually make the alcohol more amenable to the process while giving her creations a smooth, gelato-like texture.
Shortly after their move, Kathleen became fast friends with Melissa Clampitt. At the time, Melissa’s husband Mike was the chef at Baywood Greens Country Club near Millsboro. Mike had always dreamed of his own eatery where he could whip up great meals and kibitz with his guests all at the same time. And then, suddenly, the perfect storm: The former owners of Po’ Boys Creole & Fresh Catch decided to sell their popular Milton restaurant. Mike was ripe for a change. And Kathleen Belfont was on the verge of a chemical breakthrough involving vanilla, booze, cream, booze, eggs and … well, you get the idea.
Mike’s grand opening earlier this month was a delicious success. Po’ Boys’ dark, silky and 100 percent authentic chicken and andouille gumbo is already the stuff of legend, along with New Orleans favorites like étouffée, jambalaya, cornbread, blackened catfish, red beans and rice, and a blackboard full of nightly specials.
And those favorites include Blotto Gelato, specifically the bourbon variety. Take your choice of three: Shimmy Shakin' Maple Bacon made with brown sugar, bacon and maple-flavored whisky; Bourbon Milk, a 10X sugar mix with nutmeg and bourbon, inspired by the Big Easy’s own Bourbon Milk Punch - and supposedly a favorite of Ben Franklin's (now we know why he wandered into the middle of an electrical storm with a kite). On The Couch is a white sugar-base ice cream infused with cherries and cherry bourbon. Kathleen came up with the name after observing what happened to a friend who consumed a large amount as part of a carefully monitored scientific test.
Even though the alcohol content is only 2 percent, neither Mike nor Kathleen will sell it to anyone without an over-21 ID. She is working closely with Delaware Sen. Ernie Lopez to help bring Delaware laws more in line with federal laws pertaining to foods with very low concentrations of alcohol. But that’s not going to change the facts that (1) you will always get carded at Po’ Boys Creole & Fresh Catch if you order Blotto Gelato, and (2) the only places Kathleen plans to sell her creations in bulk are licensed liquor and specialty stores. You can see all her Sussex-sourced flavors at www.BlottoGelato.com.
Try out Mike’s great N’awlins-flavored spot in Milton (on the right, about four minutes west of Route 1 on Route 16), and top off your Cajun/Creole feast with some Shimmy Shakin’ Maple Bacon. If you wind up On The Couch, all the better. (Po’ Boys Creole & Fresh Catch and Blotto Gelato urge you to lick responsibly and in moderation.)