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Mozart, Mint, and Vanilla: Ice Cream Connecting the Generations

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I’m going to break the fourth wall here for a moment.

I was thinking of this blog and I wanted to write about ice cream. It’s National Ice Cream month, you know? And though I enjoy ice cream, especially living in Europe, there’s not much I normally have to say about it. Believe me, I thought about it a lot the past few days:

  • Ice cream’s great in Europe because… they serve small scoops at small prices. €0.70 if you’re in my town, up to €0.90 if you’re somewhere fancy. (BORING!)
  • People eat it all the time in the summer here. (OBVIOUS!)
  • A pint of Ben and Jerry’s at my local grocery store is almost €6.00 and I indulge in it more than I should because, even though European ice cream is good, it’s hit or miss at ice cream shops and mostly miss at grocery stores. (PATHETIC!)

So, when we passed an ice cream/gelato shop right next to Cologne’s big cathedral, I was excited. We can sit outside, enjoy our ice cream while enjoying our views and I would have a slight ice cream story that was probably going to be more about the cathedral. Except then my husband said it’s way too expensive to sit down and have ice cream, we should just get a scoop of ice cream to go. And so we did.

ice cream

I went in to order (no line, yay!); he stayed outside with the kids.

He wanted pistachio, but they were out of it. I stepped outside, “they don’t have pistachio, is mint ok?”

“Yes”

And then, in typical my-luck-would-have it fashion, a line had formed. Two older couples were checking out the options, but of them, only one woman was really interested in the ice cream. She wore a black hat and kept pointing to the different options while chatting to the server. I wondered if she was ever going to order and wanted to just skip in front of her so I could.

While I waited for her, I looked for something for myself. I found it quickly. Off to the corner, hardly touched. The Mozart. I knew right away that this scoop of ice cream was going to make it on the blog. See, as soon as I saw it, this is the monologue I had in my head:

“Oh, Mozart, what’s that… oh, I bet it’s that Mozart Kugel from Salzburg… oh, I can talk about Mozart Kugels and Salzburg how it was our first real trip with our son and how cool it is to see something called “Mozart” and know almost immediately that it’s chocolate, pistachio, and marzipan and it’s ice cream and it’s perfect… the circle of life via travel food…”

And I was excited about this little twist to my story, but still… it’s not TOO exciting. (For those that are paying close attention, the Mozart ice cream option wouldn’t have been a good one for my pistachio-loving husband because he hates chocolate ice cream.)

With all this internalizing, I looked up to see that the two couples in front of me had left already. Except for the lady with the black hat. She continued to point and comment and smile and I couldn’t hear her, but I don’t think she was saying anything of substance. She left without getting anything and then it was my turn.

After placing my order for a cup of vanilla for my son, a cup of Mozart for myself, and a cone of mint for my husband, I paid my whooping €3.30 for all 3 (that’s €1.10 for one scoop of ice cream for those not mathematically gifted.) I walked out to my family to see my husband pointing in my direction and then the two older couples that were in front of me in line, black hat lady included, turning and waving. Then they looked at my son and said, “Mama’s here with your ice cream!”

Then things got a little weird.

I handed the mint cone to my husband and somehow, I’ve replayed this in my head and really don’t know how this is possible since my son was in the stroller and my husband was standing, my son grabbed the mint cone. In the midst of grabbing and claiming ownership of it by taking a huge bite out of it, some spilled on to his shirt. The two couples went into grandparent mode. The men were saying things to my husband, that I didn’t catch. The black hat lady looked at me and said she’ll run inside to get some napkins. I told her it was ok, I already have napkins and then our worlds stopped for a moment.

She smiled back at me in acknowledgement. It’s that look that only moms know. That recognition that I’m in the part of my life with my children where I carry everything they need at all times, and that she once did the same. When I looked over to smile at her again, I noticed that her friend, the other female in the group had grabbed a bunch of napkins from the ice cream shop. As she waved them towards us, life sped up again and chaos ensued.

Helping my son get cleaned.

Helping my son get cleaned.

Black hat lady grabbed the napkins and starts cleaning up my son. One napkin blew away in the wind. I ran to catch it. The women were making sure their temporary grandchild was cleaned up from the ice cream, with a makeshift bib on his shirt in the process. The men were all continuing their conversation. When I got back, with everything as it should be, they wished us good luck and said their good-byes.

Where are we now.

After saying good-bye to the, we lost track of the two couples. Their kindness will always be on our minds.

We went across the street and sat on the steps next to Cologne’s Cathedral. My husband had to settle for vanilla ice cream in a cup. I decided that the Mozart was better in theory than in taste.

My son jumped out of the stroller to enjoy his cone. As we walked back to the car, passing in front of the cathedral, he noticed it for the first time. Awestruck at this HUGE building, he wanted to follow everyone else going inside. Since no food was allowed, my husband offered to hold the cone. While my son and I enjoyed the interior of the structure that has been mentioned as early as the 4th century, my husband got to finish his mint ice cream cone.

Enjoying his stolen cone, then later, walking and noticing this big cathedral for the first time.

Enjoying his stolen cone, then later, walking and noticing this big cathedral for the first time.

 

This post is part of the Blog Carnival hosted by The Mother of All Trips, Walking On Travels, and WanderMom. Click on the link for more ice cream stories, then go out and get a scoop for yourself!

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I'm Ann, an American expat living in Germany with my husband and two kids. I worked in the travel industry for years and refuse to let the fact that I have two kids under three stop our family from traveling. But, most of all, I want to encourage other families to get out and explore the world - whether a ten minute walk from your home or a ten hour drive.

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Comments

  1. Great post! I have to say that I need to get pistachio flavor more. I usually don’t get any here. And to tell you the truth, I’ve been thinking about ice cream lately (wonder why) and in all honesty- I don’t like it here. And I don’t get why people eat it so much?

  2. I’ve also been thinking about it. When it’s good here – it’s AMAZING. But, that’s hard to come by, I think. I think people like it because it’s really cheap (especially compared to, like, Marble Slab in the US). Mostly, though, it’s because there’s no air conditioning and not too much ice, so it’s the only option people have to cool down on a hot day.

    Not that we were there on a hot day or anything.

  3. What a sweet story. I think older people love kids, even when they aren’t related to them, well for the most part :) And I loved mozart kugel when I was younger and spent some time in Austria but now think they are kind of gross so the ice cream does not appeal to me, at all. And my husband doesn’t eat chocolate ice cream at all but loves chocolate. What the heck?
    Andrea, Passports And Pushchairs recently posted…Seattle: An Ideal Family DestinationMy Profile

    • I was happy they were giving our son so much attention. These days the baby gets most of it and even though W does well, it was nice for him to get some love, too. Not that he noticed because he had ice cream.

  4. I have to say that I love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but ice cream/gelato is actually something I miss about Germany (and there are not many things, I love living in Canada). My favourite flavours were always Straciatella and Tiramisu (and about 10 others). Damn, now I want ice cream…
    Kerstin @ Auer Life recently posted…Alert the media – I was spontaneous!My Profile

    • I prefer ice cream shops here – spaghetti ice! And prepackaged ice cream in the us. Except for pistachio. There is a pistachio ice cream here that is unbelievably delicious. My bet is the brand has other good flavors, but we always get the pistachio. And all this said, I know I’ll miss the ice cream culture when we move back some day.

  5. €0It’s always nice to meet kind strangers. . . but really, you had my attention with the €0.70 ice cream. I think if I lived somewhere where I could get a scoop of ice cream for pocket change, I would never eat anything else.
    Jess recently posted…Little Things I Love About: ChicagoMy Profile

    • I think it’s why so many people order more than one scoop of ice cream. But, one scoop is good when you just need a little pick me up.

  6. What a great story – and a beautiful place to stop for a cone of ice cream! My mouth has been watering for lime-flavoured ice cream since the first photo in your post though! ;)
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted…Around the World in TorontoMy Profile

  7. That’s funny, Lisa. I’m always on the lookout for certain flavors, that I rarely notice flavors that aren’t on my radar… and I would’ve loved trying the lime!

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