Bangkok Food Maker: Ampersand Gelato
Candied bacon, the Japanese yuzu citrus fruit and parmesan are just some of the adventurous flavours that capture the eye in the Ampersand Boutique display. Even the name of this gelato and sorbet brand inspires curiousity among all who enter their flagship store on Sukhumvit Soi 39, opposite Fuji Supermarket.
The founder Sasivimol Phetnamsin (Yim) chose the ampersand (&) logogram to compliment her ‘internationally-inspired’ concept. It’s a broad theme that implies there’ll always be more – perfect for a gelato brand. The concept presents her with a myriad of creative possibilities. Earl Grey is her current UK flavor while butterfly pea adds a local Thai touch. Yim’s artisanal flair can be found in her selection and pairing of ingredients as much as the actual crafting of the product.
Ice cream may be a simple pleasure but there is a science behind it. Yim took several courses in Singapore learning about “ice cream composition and properties” as she explains. Ultimately she was drawn to gelato. “It has less fat content, less air and is therefore denser and served at a higher temperature. I love its mouthfeel (the physical sensation in the mouth).”
Ampersand opened in mid-2014 and quickly became a favourite stall at the Spring Epicurean Market. Another branch recently opened in Central World.
The Churning Room in the Sukhumvit shop is where the mastery begins. Small batches ensure freshness and also encourage experimentation. “We want to focus on handcrafting our gelato and sorbets to continuously develop them”, says Yim.
“The flavors are mostly inspired by food I’ve experienced. Normally I start with tasting new ingredients,” says Yim of her process. “I mix them with milk [organic Dairy Home] and see how that works. Then I combine all the ingredients, heat them up, cool them down and slowly churn them to incorporate less air in the mix before freezing.”
Along with their regular roster of crowd favourites like dark chocolate and yuzu, Ampersand offers seasonal flavors like mango, scented coconut, lychee and chestnut.
The Ampersand shop is located in an international neighbourhood and counts over 10 nationalities amongst its clientele. From time to time customers offer their own suggestions. “Sometimes they bring in new ingredients for us and we create limited edition batches like sweet potato and pecan,” says Yim. Through this kind of interaction with her customer base Ampersand has attracted a loyal following and we hope the brand is a delicious fixture for a longtime to come.
Internationally Inspired Gelato
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(Image credits: Ampersand and Hans Mueller)