Jet van Eeghen
Published — Wednesday 7 November 2012
Last update 7 November 2012 6:13 am
Ice cream parlors are smoking HOT, disregarding their predisposition to coolness. Marble Slab Creamery stands out among the many for two main reasons. One is, they make their own ice cream fresh on-site each day anew. A second reason: Their ice cream scoopers know how to spectacularly juggle your order. Really – just pick your favorite combination of ice cream flavors and toppings and watch the employees mix and flip those on a frozen marble countertop (hence the name of the chain). Before you know it, the scoopers throw their balled-up creations high into the air, across the counter even, to have a colleague catch them in an ice cream tub. That’s a tasty dessert and entertainment all wrapped up in one.
Marble Slab can make a variety of up to 77 different flavors. Of course you’ll find old faithfuls like vanilla, strawberry and chocolate… But why not opt for peppermint, cheesecake, honey, butter-pecan or their well-liked birthday cake flavor? If you prefer sorbet, they can do watermelon, raspberry, lemon, green apple and more. Looking for a low-fat variety or one without added sugar? There are over half a dozen to choose from, including frozen yoghurts. People who are lactose intolerant should wait until December, when Marble Slab expects to serve dairy-free ice cream to suit these needs.
All ice creams are made fresh on-site, using in part imported Marble Slab products to ensure a consistent taste. Where possible, they use local produce, like fruits. Unfortunately, up till now, none of the ingredients are organic.
The next step is to choose a size. As Marble Slab is an American franchise chain, their portions are based on American expectations. So a Value size for SR14 already makes for a baseball size serving. The Big Dipper, their largest at SR20, will leave most people gasping for breath. Their Kids sized ice cream for SR 12 is a chubby Benjamin.
Over the last few years, Marble Slab Creamery has rapidly grown to match its oversized ice cream portions. The company was founded in Houston, United States, by two chefs in 1983. They were the first to use a frozen marble countertop, on which the flavors and additional toppings were twisted and folded to create a tasty ensemble.
The toppings and “mixins”, as Marble Slab calls them, consist of a wide choice. There is a variety of fresh fruits to choose from, ranging from blueberry, pineapple, banana to strawberry and raspberry. These are frozen, to keep your creation at the best temperature when you are ready to eat.
Alternatively, you could opt for gummy bears, chocolate chips, marshmallows, granola, cookies or pieces of different chocolate bars. You get one mixin free of charge; for additional ones you pay SR 3 per choice.
Finally, you pick your cone. Marble Slab hand-rolls and bakes their waffle cones and bowls in the store. It is that warm, inviting aroma that immediately greets you as you walk up to the counter. The cones and bowls can be plain, or have a rim hand-dipped in chocolate, cookies, nuts, fudge or sprinkles.
Arab News went to Marble Slab’s flagship store in Jeddah, at Hamad Center in Prince Sultan Street. This branch offers up to 35 seats between the singles’ and family sections. Here, they make the ice cream and bake cookies for all four Jeddah branches, which are at Mall of Arabia, Haifa Mall and Andalus Mall.
In Alkhobar, you will find Marble Slab at Amwaj Mall.
Next month, Marble Slab will start catering in Jeddah. They can bring a portable frozen marble countertop and a choice of ice creams and mixins to cater at parties and large gatherings. In two months’ time, a flagship store will open in Riyadh. The month after that, visitors at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport will get to enjoy ice cream at a new store there.
We chose a value-sized serving of peppermint and Swiss chocolate mixed together in a chocolate and butterfingers-rimmed waffle cone. The scooper mixed in frozen raspberries and chocolate chips, and the result was delicious.
To go, we took an ice cream pizza, their latest best-selling product. Rest assured, it only looks like a pizza, but it is made up entirely of ice cream and toppings on a chocolate sponge base, and it tastes nothing like a real pizza.
We also brought home a few Great American Cookies, the brand Marble Slab sells. These included a few very sweet brownies and cookies in various flavors, including chocolate chip, double fudge, snickerdoodle and peanut butter supreme. Next time we’re looking for a sweet fix – no doubt soon — we’ll know where to go!
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