by Brandon Fox
It’s strange to be thinking about ice cream in November. But then it’s even stranger to have had an autumn day that hit 80 degrees this late in the year.
At Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, Hannah Pollack is busy coming up with flavor combos to ease us out of summer. Sure, pumpkin spice is rampant these days. But perhaps a little pumpkin ice cream laced with Hardywood Farmhouse Pumpkin ale syrup, stuffed between gingersnap cookies, will make you revise your opinion. No? What if the sandwich was dipped in white chocolate?
I thought so.
Still, if pumpkin isn’t your style, Pollack, a former Marine and graduate of J. Sargeant Reynolds’ culinary program, can offer you chocolate-covered-espresso-bean-flecked chocolate ice cream, sandwiched between two brownie cookies. Or perhaps you’d prefer one with cream cheese ice cream and red velvet cake cookies dipped in white chocolate.
Those are only a few of the seasonal offerings.
Pollack, chef at Greenleaf’s Pool Room, started making her treats in its tiny kitchen when the pool parlor opened in 2014. As her business expanded, she realized she needed bigger equipment and a bigger kitchen. She now churns ice cream and bakes cookies in the back of a commercial kitchen in the Westbury Pharmacy, which she shares with Billy Fallen of Billy Bread fame.
“[Nightingale] just kind of exploded this summer,” she says. “It really took off.”
While her new commercial ice-cream maker churns, she makes purees and syrups that she adds as flavoring and bakes the cookies in molds to create perfect squares. After assembling, freezing and packaging, Pollack loads them into two portable freezers that run off cigarette adapters, and with the help of her husband, Xavier Meers, starts her deliveries.
Chiocca’s Deli was Nightingale’s first customer, and now you can find its ice cream sandwiches in Shield’s Market, Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, Libbie Market, J.M. Stock Provisions, Union Market, Stella’s Grocery and Tom Leonard’s Farmers Market.
The plan is to ramp up production and expand into the Charlottesville area next year.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” she says, “and it was really hard to get it going this summer, but oh! — I think it was worth it.” nightingaleicecreamsandwiches.com.