The Charmery launches chef collaboration series with new ice cream flavors

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The Charmery will begin selling pints of this strawberry hibiscus lime mezcal ice cream, created by Chef Carlos Raba of Clavel, starting on Friday as part of their series of flavor collaborations with local chefs. Photo courtesy of The Charmery.

The Charmery is teaming up with local chefs to develop some new limited-edition ice cream flavors, including a strawberry hibiscus lime mezcal ice cream from Chef Carlos Raba of Clavel.

The Charmery will only be making 200 pints of that flavor, which will be available for pre-order online starting Friday.

After placing their order, customers will be able to pick it up at The Charmery’s locations in Towson and Hampden.

David Alima, who owns The Charmery with his wife, Laura, told Baltimore Fishbowl the ice cream shop has had to adapt to the pandemic like most businesses.

Earlier this month, the Alimas began delivering ice cream pints and pies to customers’ homes. David also has been creating a new “shift drink” milkshake every day at 5 p.m. on Facebook Live. (Today’s concoction was a tribute to David’s father, Shlomo, including vanilla ice cream, tahini, sesame seeds, lemon juice and milk.)

But David said he wanted to come up with a way to help other restaurants.

In the past, The Charmery has worked with local chefs to create a sundae together, with a portion of sales from every sundae going to support the nonprofit of that chef’s choice. So, Laura suggested working with local chefs to create their signature ice cream flavors.

Each pint in the series will cost $11, with $1 going to The Charmery’s “scooper fund” to support its out-of-work staff members and $1 going to support staff at the local chef’s restaurant.

David said he was excited to work with Raba, whom he not only considers a good friend and talented chef but also a local humanitarian. Just before the coronavirus crisis spread to Maryland, Raba founded a nonprofit jiu-jitsu and yoga studio in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood to provide free classes for children.

“He’s just somebody who’s constantly concerned with our city and wanting to give back,” David said.

In developing the strawberry hibiscus lime mezcal ice cream, David said he and Raba tried to think of flavors that sparked joy for them, particularly flavors that reminded them of their childhoods.

After all, David said he hopes ice cream can help people get through some of the challenges that the coronavirus poses.

“Our entire philosophy is happiness through ice cream,” he said. “We truly believe in the happy, healing powers of ice cream and have been really humbled by the support the community is giving us.”

In addition to Raba, The Charmery will also be collaborating with Chef Opie Crooks of A Rake’s Progress in Washington D.C.

David said both Raba and Crooks serve up some of his favorite food. And although he and Crooks have not finalized the flavor they are working on together, David said they have bounced around the idea of using benne seeds.

Crooks’ flavor will become available after the 200 pints of Raba’s ice cream have sold out.

David said the pandemic has been “crippling” for ice cream shops, especially as they head into their busy season this summer.

But he said collaborating with local chefs has been “a bright spot” during the pandemic and this particular series could be here to stay even after the crisis has ended.

“In the hospitality industry, it is our duty to take from this time and figure out, moving forward, something new, something exciting, something different,” he said. “Thinking about ‘How can we make our business better?'”

Marcus Dieterle


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