“Fait maison,” or homemade, isn’t just a buzzword in Martinique – especially when it comes to ice cream. Around populous beaches, in towns, and during festivals, you are bound to find someone selling ice cream (and often patisseries) they made in their homes and brought to the beach/roundabout/street in a van. It’s hard to go wrong when you mix cream, sugar, and tasty flavours into frozen spheres of deliciousness, so getting any glaces in Martinique is always fulfilling. However, like any dessert that is simple, with some creativity and passion that no-frills dessert can be made into something unique and sumptuous.
If you’re ever in Carbet, be sure to make a trip to Ziouka Glaces, hands down the best artisanal ice cream shop around. On a small side road at 15 place Jules Grévy across from the church, this gem would go almost unnoticed if it weren’t for the line-ups of people both local and from abroad waiting for Claude Ziouka to open his shop. He offers a wide array of delicious and unique flavours, using local fruits and even root and ground vegetables. A classic flavour is his Manioc (cassava) ice cream, made with the flour of the cassava plant, which you can choose to eat in a cup or a waffle cone. He carries staples such as Vanilla, Chocolate, and Cherry but throws a curveball with flavours such as Pumpkin, Piment Doux (mild chili pepper), and Corn ice creams.
On my most recent visit to Carbet for the Lézard Ti Show, a day filled with arts, local and sustainable development awareness, and circus entertainment, I knew Ziouka Glaces was in the cards for me. I tasted the Corn ice cream, but decided to go with two scoops of Rum Banana and Vanilla Cashew. My partner had Cerise Pays (Wild Cherry) and Corossol (Soursop). One thing you can be sure of with Mr. Ziouka’s ice creams and sorbets is that they are made with quality ingredients. You could see in my ice cream that real vanilla bean and real bananas were used, and you can absolutely tell the difference between natural and artificial fruit flavours.
250g manioc flour*
395g condensed milk (small can of Nestle or Carnation)
500mL whole milk
1 tsp almond essence
1 vanilla bean pod
- The night before, soak the manioc flour in the whole milk. The following day, using a muslin strain the milk into a bowl. Leaving too much flour in the milk will result in a grainy texture.
- Mix the manioc flavoured milk with the condensed milk and almond essence. Scrape the vanilla beans from the pod and combine them into the mixture.
- Place the mixture into your ice cream maker until it reaches the consistency you prefer. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place the mixture into the freezer. Every 20-30 minutes, remove the mixture and stir it. Repeat this at least 3 times, though the more it is done the creamier the consistency.
*I’ve never actually seen cassava flour in commercial supermarkets in Canada, but I’m sure you can find it at a West Indian or Asian food shop. On the other hand, replace the cassava and whole milk with 500mL of coconut milk, add zest of one lime, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg, and you have your very own Sorbet au Coco.