Stop whatever you’re doing right now and take a look at these delicious ice-cream floats. These sweet, luscious ice cream–filled hot chocolate floats will make you drool and imagine how they actually taste like.
The float on the left is a dark chocolate and sea salt (hot chocolate with salted caramel ice cream), and the one on the right is a white chocolate and cardamom hot chocolate with dark chocolate ice cream. Just the sound of its name makes you really want to taste it. Yummy!
Did the description of the two ice creams seem a bit long and confusing? It really is because there are thirty different hot chocolate float flavor combinations that they offer at Mary’s Milk Bar on the Grassmarket in Edinburgh. There is a wide variety of ingredients to mix with the ice cream, including orange, cinnamon, dark chocolate, spiced cherry, and many more. It’s entirely up to you on how you combine the ingredients.
Mary Hillard is a 29-year-old trained chocolatier who graduated from Edinburgh College and the one responsible for the creation of these surprisingly delicious floats. She is also an ex-student of Gelato University in Anzola dell’Emilia, near Bologna, Italy.
The university trains students to make a delicious Italian style gelato ice cream with fresh fruit and nut purées. The institution is known to be the best in training students from all over the world how to make the Italian style gelato ice cream.
The Harbour Bar in Scarborough is one of the few cafes in the UK that offer these traditional 1940s milk bars. The bar has a 60-year-old milkshake machine that’s still working. You can also find some vintage furniture in the place and get a chance to enjoy music from the 1940s.
The Harbour Bar also has the perfect location, placing right beside the Edinburgh Castle. It adds a bit of extra Scottish charm and what’s best is you enjoy your ice cream while looking up at a 900-year-old fortress.
It seems that Mary found the perfect location for the shop in July 2013 when she went to Gelato University in February 2013. “I just had blind faith it was going to work—I’m not sure why!” Mary said.
What’s amazing about these ice creams is that they are all hand-made in the café, and the menu depends on what ingredients are available.
Mary added some flavors of the ice cream, including whisky and ginger, earl gray and citrus, peanut butter, pineapple ripple, Thai iced tea, and orange and bay leaf. The only flavor that didn’t work was the ice cream made during the Halloween. “It just tasted too much like food; it was quite savory. But everything else has worked perfectly,” Mary shared.
Mary explains, “The most popular flavor is salted caramel. We also do lots of tea flavors too rather than coffee. I want to bring back tea in a major way as I’m from Yorkshire! Nut flavors like hazelnut and pistachio do well too.
“Our sorbets are popular as they’re all vegan. The blackcurrants in today’s sorbet were picked at Craigies Farm nearby, so it’s all local and the seasons give you inspiration too. If you can’t get strawberries in December, you’ll have to do something else. In autumn, I make spiced apple sorbet; in spring, I do a hot cross bun ice cream.”
She further notes, “In terms of flavors, it’s really just whatever comes into my head. I do have some staff, but they’re all ex-customers and like to experiment too. One girl is half Arabic, so she makes baklava, and I make that into an ice cream with rose and pistachio.”
The chocolates are cut into chunks after they’re made by hand and melted with a whole milk to make hot chocolate and served on its own scoop of ice cream. There is also an extra ingredient added to the ice cream in the winter, which makes a frankincense and myrrh hot chocolate flavor.
Besides the awesome floats, the bar also offers a massive £10 Challenge Cup with eight separate scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate shards. They also sell banana split ice cream bombs in a chocolate shell.
This mouth-savoring doughnut filled with ice cream is the latest addition to the milk bar menu and is known as the doughnut oyster.
Thank you so much, Mary, for showing us these delicious ice creams. To you our readers, you must taste it to feel what heaven looks like.
Mary’s Milk Bar at 19 Grassmarket is open until 8:00 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday and until 7:00 p.m. on Sunday and Mondays during the Edinburgh Festival (1–30 August 2015).
Check out some more epic doughnut creations here