A Taste of Spring in Every Honest Scoop
Q&A with Lick Honest Ice Cream Co-Founder Anthony Sobotik
To celebrate this beautiful weather, we’ve been enjoying scoops of Lick Honest Ice Cream – their locally-sourced, seasonal flavors taste like a spoonful of spring. In each bite of Lick, you can taste the creaminess of local-favorite Mill-King milk and the freshness of produce grown by Austin urban farmers. To learn more about what goes into each pint of Lick, we interviewed Lick Honest Ice Creams co-founder Anthony Sobotik on the inspiration behind Lick’s mission and seasonal flavors.
in: What is your definition of an “honest” ice cream?
Anthony Sobotik: My definition of an honest ice cream is pretty simple. It’s just ice cream made with whole ingredients and, because of that, is free of anything artificial – and that trickles down into everything. We make every component ourselves in our production kitchen – every cake, cookie, jam, jelly sauce and marshmallow is made by us so we can ensure it’s made with ingredients we are comfortable with. I was a baker before, so we have a full bakery. We develop every flavor around that. It’s a pretty simple way of thinking, but it works for us.
in: What is the inspiration behind your seasonal flavors?
AS: I wanted to take that concept of using super local, fresh, whole ingredients to create flavors that I was sort of missing, that I thought other people would like. I grew up in Texas. I was born here and then moved away after college and lived in New York and the Midwest. I missed the flavors I grew up with. I met Chad; he grew up in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. There are so many mom-and-pop ice cream shops there that use local ingredients and had seasonal flavors. I kept thinking, I would really love to do this in Texas. It took us six years to get back here. I wanted to create flavors that celebrated the flavors and seasons of Texas. Cilantro lime was the first flavor I made with the intention of having it in our scoop shop.
in: How do you pick new flavors?
AS: The process has kind of evolved as time has gone by; we have this ongoing list of flavors. When we’re coming up to a new season, we’ll look and pick two to three flavors that we want to introduce for a season. It’s grown into a collaborative effort. We take input from everywhere – we love getting flavor ideas from everybody. It takes us a few months from when we start talking about it to where we get it to where we like it. A lot of times they evolve; one flavor will turn into two different flavors. We’ll take another component of flavor and develop it into something different.
in: What are some of the most unexpected flavors that you make?
AS: When we opened, people thought the beet and mint flavor was so out there. People either love or hate our sweet pea and sorrel flavor, but it’s one of my favorites. It’s a great flavor to make this time of year. It’s very spring-like, and you can get peas and sorrel right now.
in: What are the benefits you have seen for Lick since you began selling pints?
AS: We’ve been able to grow relationships with the farmers we work directly with, especially since we can now purchase more products. We keep our kitchen busy even during the months when the shops aren’t busy. The pints have allowed us to explore other markets. We’ve made amazing relationships from having our pints and our shops. It gives us a broader reach to our customers, who can buy our products around town at stores like in.gredients. We’ve been really happy with it.
in: Why is it important to Lick to support the local food system? In what way can consumers participate?
AS: My grandparents had a farm. Growing up I saw how honorable and challenging and important the process farming can be, especially for people doing it the right way. On a personal level, I think when given the chance to support a local artisan or farmer or forager, you should. The dollars that go to them help them improve and be a more sustainable business, help them increase their quality of life and help them do what they’re doing. One thing we think and our customers have pointed out, every time you buy a scoop or a pint you are supporting local farmers. There are always opportunities to support a local business or a local farm through volunteering or purchasing ingredients from them. Hopefully we’re making it easy for people to learn about the farms around them and see where everything is sourced from, so they can seek out those ingredients.
in: Do you think your ice cream helps reconnect people with eating seasonally?
AS: We get that feedback from people. Especially from people who have kids; it’s a good way to demonstrate to their kids what’s in season. If they’re at the market, and they see peas or beets, they can say, “that’s like the ice cream we were eating.” Also I think for adults too, it brings to light the seasonality of where we live. There are some things you can’t get year round, and it calls to people’s attention where these foods are coming from and the true cost of their food. It reminds me of the way my grandparents cooked which was very seasonal; we ate what was on their farm.
in: What is it about your salted caramel ice cream that makes it so heavenly?
AS: Thank you for saying that. I think it comes down to the way we make the caramel. We use imperial, GMO-free brown sugar and butter. We don’t let the caramel develop an alkaline flavor, like some caramel ice creams have. We don’t have the aftertaste; it makes for a really lovely caramel saltlick flavor. We focus on the ingredients and keep it simple.
In addition to their two scoop-shop locations in Austin, including their new shop at Lamar Union opening Tuesday, April 5, you can purchase Lick Honest Ice Cream pints – including pints of their salted caramel ice cream – at in.gredients, and for the rest of March all pints of Lick are on sale in store.