Could there be a better way to start the day than with ice cream and cheese? A sunny Tuesday morning is a pretty great time to visit Purple Door Ice Cream and Clock Shadow Creamery. But if you are the kind of Milwaukeean who has love of dairy in your blood, I can’t think of a bad time to visit.
Lauren Schultz, who owns and runs Purple Door with her husband Steve, is just the sort of person you want to see first thing in the morning, friendly and the right amount of cheerful, like a scoop of chocolate ice cream, which she quickly offers. Unbeknownst to Lauren, I’ve been on a search for a really good chocolate ice cream, and there it was, right in our own backyard. In addition to really, really good chocolate flavor, what makes it so good, and all of Purple Door ice cream for that matter, is that it is not just ice cream, or premium ice cream, but super premium ice cream, a distinction which means it is 14% or higher butterfat. Oh, yeah. Even the lemon sorbet is creamy, and yes, delicious, like I-want-to-drive-back-there-right-now delicious.
So, there’s all that butterfat and almost all natural and/or local ingredients (chocolate don’t grow ‘round these parts and it’s hard to get a caramel that doesn’t freeze hard), but I’m inclined to believe part of the reason it tastes so good is that Lauren first conceived of the Purple Door in middle school. When she and her friends talked about what they wanted to do when they grew up, Lauren said she wanted to run an ice cream shop and call it the Purple Door. “Twenty years later, here I am,” she said.
Purple Door Ice Cream shares the space on the first floor of the Clock Shadow Building (which has its own fascinating story) with Clock Shadow Creamery. Clock Shadow Creamery is an offshoot of Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, WI, but it has its own focus. “We really wanted to make cheese locally, right in the community” said Sarah Marcks, storefront, sales and outreach manager, “and to tread softly on the environment,” making them a perfect fit for the environmentally friendly, socially conscious, Clock Shadow Building.
With little room for storage, Clock Shadow Creamery focuses on making fresh cheese, an operation you can watch from the storefront.They currently offer juusto, cheddar cheese curds and quark (“like the sub-atomic particle,” Sarah said). Wheels of cheddar aging in the case still have some time before their ready. The creamery will be offering the Wisconsin favorite, curds, and a European favorite, quark, at the Food Slam.
Good morning! Would you like a cheese curd?
I don’t mind if I do. And while I can’t muster the restraint to wait long enough for it to warm up to the point of squeak, it is, indeed all that a curd should be and has real cheddar flavor, not like those curd-in-name-only kind of things you may have had about the state. Sarah said she recently took some home and ate the whole bag in bed. Her smile at revealing this betrays her bliss. They post their fresh curd days on Facebook and have folks who follow them just to jump on that info.
Quark is as fun as the curd. (Say that a few times to prove it!) Sarah describes it as a cross between ricotta and cream cheese, very popular in Europe. The fun is in its versatility, it can be used in sweet or savory dishes and the creamery offers garlic and dill, and maple syrup varieties. Indeed, it is a taste shifter, giving different, but equally pleasing enjoyment when Sarah suggests drizzling honey on my second sample.
I left that little dairy heaven on 2nd and Bruce ready to face the day and so excited to see them again at the Food Slam. With a belly full of ice cream and cheese, I half expected a choir to greet me on the street to tell me it was going to be a good day. So, my musical pairing for Purple Door Ice Cream and Clock Shadow Creamery is “Light and Day” by Polyphonic Spree. This song is like rainbows and sparkles and the opening scene from Sound of Music (otherwise known as “the feeling of eating dairy products”) mixed with the collage of life and architecture in the 5th ward.
Presale for Food Slam tickets ends Friday, Sept 28 at 5 pm. If you want to ensure your feeling of spinning around on a mountain top with your arms stretched wide you better get on it!
Yours in dairy state pride,
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