With newly minted ice-cream operations popping up all over town, it seems as though Philadelphia is in the midst of a second ice-cream renaissance.
Wait, a second one? Back in the early 19th century (we’re talking pre-Bassetts, here), Philadelphia was churning out more ice cream than any other place in the country. This led to some serious ice-cream innovation, including Augustus Jackson pioneering a salt-based method of mass ice-cream making and Nancy M. Johnson’s invention of the first ice-cream freezer.
Ice-cream tastemaking is on an upswing once again with the award-winning gelatos of Capogiro, the oddball-awesome scoops at Little Baby’s and a new venture called Weckerly’s from West Philly husband-and-wife team Andy and Jennifer Satinsky. Operating out of Green Line Café at 43rd and Baltimore, where Jennifer is the kitchen manager, Weckerly’s is the seven-years-in-the-making realization of a concept that began during her time as a pastry chef at White Dog Café. Now within the next month, Green Line will be selling individual cups of the Satinskys’ super-premium, French-style ice cream made with dairy from nearby Green Meadow Farms in Gap, Pa.
The plan is to offer up to six flavors at a time, including standbys like chocolate and whole-bean vanilla along with some wilder combos like “Blue Berry” the Pirate (a blend of blueberries, rum, brown sugar and lime zest) and cajeta caramel swirl, a zingy, ever-so-funky dulce de leche made with local goats’ milk.
When it comes to flavor brainstorming, the Satinskys rely on Jen’s pastry know-how as well as ingredients available from local farms. Mint chocolate truffle is made with a base of spearmint and peppermint from Green Meadow and dotted with dark chocolate truffles. As for the pumpkin bourbon, an inspired take on a fall classic, Andy has this to say: “A lot of pumpkin ice creams out there are essentially vanilla ice cream with pumpkin pie spice. We’re getting these great pumpkins and squashes from Green Meadow, and we roast them until they’re dark and golden. It’s about finding the right ratio for the ice cream.”
When asked about other flavors down the line, Jen is excited for the rosemary chocolate chip: “I knew it was going to be good, but it’s just awesome.”
Why Weckerly’s? Weckerle (slightly modified to make the pronunciation more obvious) is Jen’s maiden name. “When I planned an ice-cream shop in my mind, I wanted to call it Weckerly’s. It’s a fun, German-sounding, old-fashioned name.”
The Satinskys are pulling all sorts of late nights and early mornings at Green Line getting ready for their ice-cream debut. “This is the long way to make ice cream,” says Andy; but with inspired flavors, smartly sourced ingredients and a lush, custardy base, Weckerly’s is destined for a place in Philadelphia ice-cream lore.