“I’ve always been an ice cream fanatic. My mom used to say that I had two stomachs, one of which was solely reserved for ice cream, and I believed her!” Robyn Sue Fisher of Smitten Ice Cream told us. Her appreciation for the frozen treat started as a kid, but her understanding of the process and quality evolved when she was in business school at Stanford.
Realizing that most ice cream was created with the goal of having it survive the distribution chain, laden with unnecessary ingredients to help it maintain its texture, she set out to restore a quality over quantity philosophy.
“I was inspired to start making ice cream of my own using only fresh, pure ingredients,” she explained to us. This idea drove her to look into the scientific side of how ice cream is made, and led to a discovery that she’s based the business upon. “If done correctly, freezing ice cream at super low temperatures could create smaller ice crystals, which means a smoother, creamier scoop,” she told us to sum up her discovery.
Basically, using her patented Brrr machine, she works with liquid nitrogen to freeze small batches of ice cream very quickly. Not only does this allow for a super smooth serving of ice cream, but also one that is made with all fresh ingredients. A win-win situation!
Housed within a shipping container, Smitten’s location at Proxy SF was a natural fit. Since the business had originated with a red wagon on the streets of San Francisco to transport the Brrr machine, it seemed to keep with the grassroots feeling of Hayes Valley. “It allowed us to re-imagine what an ice cream shop can look and fee like, which makes a lot of sense as we are re-imagining the entire experience of ice cream,” Robyn told us.
At Smitten, they call themselves “new, old-fashioned ice cream.” It’s whipped up with the purest of ingredients using a brand new technology. To keep things interesting, they alternate their flavors seasonally—these flavors always seem to be Robyn’s top choices. For April, they’re serving up Rhubarb Crisp, which balances the slightly tart fruit with a sweet cookie. “And, I always have our ice cream in one of our homemade waffle cones!” Robyn told us of her ordering habits. In just a few short weeks, we’ve become powerless to resist them too.
Robyn is wearing the Zagg in Tennessee Whiskey
Photos by Nick Fay