FOR ME, ICE CREAM has always been the definition of a store-bought indulgence — a glistening thrill that comes prepackaged, not a food you handcraft yourself. Like ketchup or red wine, I’ve never thought to make my own because I’ve never had to — what’s out there is already so good, whether spun from a big silver Mister Softee machine on a hot summer night or scooped from a pint that you pull from the back of your freezer. The pleasure is in picking your flavor, not in crafting your own.
And now that incredible small-batch shops like Fortunes in the Hudson Valley are making high-quality bespoke ice cream in odd flavors, like Labneh Apricot and Halva Honeycomb, and Ben & Jerry’s has umpteen options filled with everything but the kitchen sink, who needs to rethink this dessert? We’ve reached peak cream. That’s it.
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But what if it wasn’t? After decades of blindly enjoying prepackaged foods, many of us are waking up to the idea that we can do it better (and healthier) at home. I don’t buy sugary $9 smoothies anymore; I make my own with a Nutribullet. And while I still love ordering pizza (Scarr’s on Orchard Street in Manhattan) on a lazy Friday night, there’s no joy like rolling dough and pulling a fresh pie from my own oven. Could the same be said for ice cream? Would the labor outweigh the ease of strolling over to my closest bodega and picking up a pint of frozen perfection?
If you’re going to make your own ice cream, it better be good. The Musso Lussino ice cream maker creates desserts that are absolutely worth the work. First, let’s talk appearances: While a lot of ice cream makers are clunky, the Musso is in keeping with high-minded Italian design — gorgeous in sleek stainless steel, a Maserati for your marble countertops. Then, there’s function. Musso makes it easy and automated to craft everything from ice cream to frozen yogurt to sorbet. Some ice cream makers are a bit more involved, but here it’s a cinch: You put your ingredients into the bowl, set a timer, and about a half hour later, you’ve got a finished product with finesse.
Most importantly, the Italian-made Musso ice cream maker gives you the feeling that it’s taking you somewhere — namely, the metaphorical land of creamy Italian gelato — which is really what separates it from anything store-bought. The best frozen dessert I’ve ever had was a scoop of pistachio gelato eaten on the streets of Rome, procured on a late-night summer stroll through the Centro Storico. No one knows silkiness quite like the Italians, and what this machine allows you to make is a testament to that.
No, it can’t instantly transport me to the Via del Corso — nothing can but a plane ticket — but the joy of Musso is it can bring a hint of that Mediterranean lusciousness into my home. I’ve yet to find a pint in the freezer aisle or a Mister Softee truck that I could say the same for.
Alex Frank Writer
Alex Frank is a contributing editor at Departures. Based in Manhattan, Frank previously worked at Vogue.com as deputy culture editor. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Pitchfork, New York Magazine, Fantastic Man, and the Village Voice.
Ahonen & Lamberg Illustrator
Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.