Helen Yung and Jan Wichayanuparp are not ones to rest on their laurels. Despite seeing their Sichuan pepper orange chocolate ice cream spotlighted in TIME magazine last summer, the Sweet Republic owners bravely decided to fine-tune the seasonal flavor this year with a modified recipe.
“I thought the orange competed too much with the other flavors,” Yung says of the decision to let the potent pepper-chocolate combo stand on its own. The Hong Kong native and Le Cordon Bleu graduate has dabbled with Asian flavors before in her ice creams, including a jasmine and pear flavor. She says her Chinese roots were inspiration for this combination. “I love Sichuan food, especially Sichuan pepper. We’re always bringing restaurant culinary applications into the ice cream shop.”
The pricey Sichuan pepper, known as hua jiao, isn’t pepper at all, but rather the dried husk and seed of a prickly ash tree. It’s a key ingredient in the spicy cuisine of China’s Sichuan province, and it’s famous for its floral flavor and the tingling, almost numbing sensation it creates on the tongue and lips. You’ll start to feel it after the first scoop. After two scoops, the residual effect is more noticeable – and pleasantly addictive. ($2.95/scoop; $7.95/pint)
9160 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale
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