January 9, 2019

We all scream: Boutique ice-cream parlor to open on Crown Street

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED
PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED
You'd be blue, too: Each Milkcraft scoop is made to order with liquid nitrogen freezing below 300 degrees.

A proudly theatrical "small-batch" creamery aims to set Elm City tastebuds a-flutter when it opens its third store in early spring in downtown New Haven.

Milkcraft will open a 1,500-square-foot ice cream parlor and "gathering place" at a to-be-announced date at 280 Crown Street. The store, the third for the three-year-old family-owned and -operated enterprise, boasts a "multi-sensory experience" featuring made-to-order ice cream billowing with liquid-nitrogen clouds scooped into waffle-like Bubblecones for patient patrons.

The first Milkcraft opened in Fairfield in the spring of 2016, and its success paved the way for a second store in West Hartford a year later. The New Haven location will be the company's largest store to date.

"Milkcraft is taking the ice cream business out of the dark ages by re-inventing and substantially improving every aspect of the business from farm to cone," said company principal David Mainiero. "We focus on the best ingredients possible, present them with a spattering of theatrics and genuine hospitality, and wrap them in a visually stunning setting."

According to Mainiero, what differentiates Milkcraft from the ice-cream parlor hoi polloi is a superior product. The ice cream base starts with New England farm milk that is free of antibiotics, hormones and steroids. All natural and organic (when possible, Mainiero said) ingredients are added. Milkcraft contains no eggs and is gluten free.

Milkcraft's flavors are chef composed (thankfully, not "curated") and each scoop is made to order with food-grade liquid nitrogen freezing below 300 degrees, which creates smaller ice crystals when freezing, resulting in the smoothest product possible.

Flavors change according to ingredient availability, seasonality, customer favorites, bright ideas and the chefs' whims. A sampling of current flavors in Fairfield and West Hartford include: Smores Campfire (deep cocoa chocolate, fire-roasted marshmallow and graham cracker crumbs); Vietnamese Coffee (cold brew Cafe Du Monde coffee, condensed milk, chicory and steeped coffee beans); and PB&J Roasted Banana (all-natural peanut butter, pure jam and caramelized banana).

Milkcraft's signature bohemian design elements are an attraction, too, including a mash-up of diverse lounge furnishings, a warming fireplace, bookshelf-lined walls, tech amenities, and an eclectic wall mural intended to convey the Milkcraft mission statement and "social culture."

Complementing the brick-and-mortar Milkcraft locations is the brand's signature Milktruck, a state-of-the-art freightliner truck housing a Milkcraft store on wheels — the only one of its kind in the world, the company said.

Contact Michael C. Bingham at mbingham@newhavenbiz.com

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