Monday, September 1, 2014

Mora Iced Creamery: We head to Bainbridge Island for an afternoon

To mark the "official" last day of summer, we decided to take a day trip out to Bainbridge Island. It's a short and beautiful 20 minute or so ferry ride from Pier 52 in Seattle out to the Bainbridge ferry terminal. (Bonus fact: you only have to pay the fare from Seattle to Bainbridge) It was a glorious sunny day, and so after stopping at the free (!) art museum and walking through downtown a bit, we (obviously) wanted ice cream. We had read from the great interwebs that Mora ice cream was amazing (which was secretly one of our major motivations for going to Bainbridge Island in the first place).

Mora Ice Creamery was started in 2002 by Ana Orselli and Jerry Perez. Originally from Argentina, Orselli and Perez sought to combine elements of both Argentinian and Pacific Northwest culture in their shop. They wanted a comfortable gathering place for friends and family, but above all to make delicious ice cream using fresh, local ingredients. These ideas are reflected in the name "mora," which means blackberry in Spanish and Italian.

On the sunny afternoon when we arrived, there was a big crowd at Mora (when the ferry comes and disgorges its passengers, it's clear that many of them head rapidly towards ice cream- so if you can work out your timing in between ferries, you'll have a shorter wait!). However, service was speedy, partly because of a slightly unorthodox line organization, in which you pay first for your desired size, and then move onto tasting and ordering your ice cream flavors (additional tip: one can have two flavors in a "single scoop"). We were also impressed by the knowledge of the staff; none of the ice creams are labeled, but everyone seems to just know by some kind of muscle memory where each flavor is. While the flavors in general skew towards traditional (no black pepper ice cream here), there is a wide variety, including many, many chocolate variations, as well as a generous array of fruit-flavored ice creams and sorbets. Everything we had was delicious. The ice cream is technically perfect, with no detectable crystals and a rich, smooth texture. Mora's dedication to fresh flavors is obvious as well; I had lemon sorbet and blackberry (mora) ice cream, both of which were amazing. Fruity, bright and refreshing- the perfect combination for a warm afternoon. Forrest got raspberry cheesecake, which was smooth and rich, but lightened by the bright raspberry accent, and peanut butter chocolate moreo, which had generous chunks of peanut butter and an Oreo-like cookie. The cone was delicous and nicely accented both ice creams; importantly, it also had a wide mouth, facilitating the overall structural integrity of the cone (no one likes when you have a narrow mouth cone with the ice cream sitting on top- that's when you give your cone a lick, and end up feeding the sidewalk, which is an ice cream tragedy).

Mora was hands down the best ice cream we've had since we moved here, and I expect it to remain a seriously tough competitor in our ice cream-off. The smooth, rich ice cream accented by the fresh
ingredients and wide flavor selection were a delectable treat. Here's how our final scores came out:

Texture - 9
Flavors - 8
Cone - 9
Execution - 9
Taste - 9
Ambiance/service/etc - 9


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