I’d heard about ice cream sandwiches before, but never really paid them much attention.
The picture I had in my mind was that ice lolly you buy when you can’t afford the big guns – Magnum and Mega and even Fruttare: a rectangular slab of vanilla ice cream encased in two crispy wafers. Relatively uninspiring, but icy and creamy enough to suffice as a substitute for deliciousness on really hot days.
So, when my cousin, Nikola called me up one afternoon to ask whether I wanted to go for an ice cream sandwich at Crumbs & Cream, this new place in Sea Point, I was slightly skeptical.
They probably just had freezers full of these bland bricks, which they would unceremoniously whip out, unwrap and serve up with some fancy sauce and a sprinkling of Smarties, charging a small fortune for the ‘delicacy’.
Nonetheless, I was in! It seemed like an adventure and one perfectly suited to the balmy afternoon with its 100% chance of procrastination.
Nikola picked me up on the corner across the road from my flat and a few hundred metres later Crumbs & Cream beckoned – a blue-and-pink candy-striped beacon, brightening up the otherwise insipid façade of Regent road.
The tiny space was filled with clusters of pre-teens in the throes of excitement over this unusual holiday treat. Frazzled-looking moms clucked about – the ratio standing at about 5 (kids):1 (moms).
Nikola and I took our place in line, soon realising that we would have to stand our ground firmly so as not to be swept aside entirely by the army of awkward limbs and ponytails.
The pink-apron-clad men behind the counter saw our determination and approved.
“What can I get you?”
A far cry from the underwhelming expectations I held, I suddenly realised that I had no idea how this worked.
Peering at the delectable display of freshly-baked cookies, I guessed that in order to make a sandwich, you would probably need two. Casting a glance to the queue up ahead, my suspicions were confirmed. A girl had just paid for hers: two choc-mint cookies, filled with choc-mint ice cream. An emerald avalanche tucked into a brown paper bag.
Echoing my thoughts, the man behind the counter said: “You obviously really like green.”
Turning back to me, he asked once again: “So, which cookies would you like?”
There were probably about 12 different types to choose from – choc chip, Oreo, peanut butter, red velvet, vegan cookies, health cookies… you name it.
“One choc chip and one with sprinkles,” I said, as though I’d been ordering ice cream sandwiches all my life.
He laid them out on a square of paper, adding the pair to a line of cookies en route to their next destination: another pink-apron-clad man who would scoop up the Italian-style gelato and assemble the sandwich.
There was Ferrero Rocher and Oreo, Strawberry and Mango, Sugar-free Chocolate and Rich Caramel. Yet, somehow, I decided on French Vanilla. While I could say that the choice was inspired by my penchant for simplicity, I suspect it had more to do with the picture I had been cultivating in my mind all afternoon. Suddenly, I had a craving for the bland rectangular lolly I had earlier scoffed at. Go figure.
Once the ice cream had been scooped, I rounded it all off with a topping of cookie crumbs. The total came to R40, a pleasant surprise.
We made our way down to the promenade and sank our teeth into the strange blend of icy, sweet and crunchy goodness, sitting at a picnic bench overlooking the swimming pools and the sea.
By the end of our make-shift picnic, I had crumbs (and cream) scattered all about, while Nikola left not a single mark. We giggled, thinking back to similar scenes on childhood afternoons and she said: “Some things just don’t change in 20 years, do they?”
Crumbs & Cream currently has two outlets – the one we visited in Regent Road, Sea Point and another in the Waterfront’s Watershed.
The one in Sea Point is open from 11am – 8pm and the one at the Waterfront from 10am – 7pm.