I was at the Barbican recently, watching some high-end jazz piano, which was so-so if truth be told, and in the interval I was looking for a livener
and you know, because you are in a major arts venue, they have one of those glass-fronted freezer cabinets full of little pots of ice-cream, with flavours which dress the thing up, such as Madagascan Vanilla and Dulce de Leche, giving you the feeling that if you weren’t out of your depth with the extended jazz improv shit going on in the hall, you certainly would be with the ice cream, retailing at a modest £3.45.
After a moment of reflection, I concluded: fuck all of that. When there’s only a 95p difference between your miniature pot of ice cream and a bottle of overpriced bevy, the ice cream is not getting my vote.
This preamble is by way of outlining how absurd the ice cream market has become. With its relentlessly rising prices, turning something so simple as a raspberry ripple into a high-end product affordable only to the super-rich, this seaside summer staple is a becoming a depressingly accurate metaphor for the English capital’s housing market.
With this in mind I turn, contrastingly, joyously, impecuniously, to Feast. Costing one pound from my local corner shop, Feast represents remarkable value.
Let me break that down for you:
For that pound you get a coating of chocolate, not good chocolate, chocolate which is wholly average. Specked within the chocolate layer there lies what you could call nuts, but perhaps that is too bold a claim, so let’s call it crunch.
Under there is the main body, the chocolate ice cream. That chocolate has the taste that can be arrived at only with a cocoa count so low it is astonishing the EU has not yet legislated against it. This chocolate ice cream is not going to be sending crazy triggers to your brain, as if some new paradise is being created, like one of those desserts Michel Roux Jnr knocks up on telly. It’s not going to do that, and at that price, nor should it. It’s simply a passable bit of ice cream, and it doesn’t really matter how average the ice cream is, because
lastly, there is the block of chocolate around the stick. This chocolate is akin to the chocolate you find in advent calendars, the stuff you only eat because it’s the morning and you’ve run out of Lindt. It’s not good chocolate, but, follow me now, I’m about to drop some philosophy, it’s not good, but it is good, because all chocolate is good – and coming after two layers of chocolate, the mere fact that it is there is thrilling, in a modest way. It is there, it is good enough.
Feast is an ice cream that costs a quid, and tastes like it. This isn’t an ice cream which is going to alter mind, body and soul, give you a better complexion and make you more spiritually balanced (have the landed gentry at Innocent moved into ice cream yet?). Feast is that friend who you feel superior to, but who is a pleasure to be with two or three times a year.
Feast is an ice cream which is precisely the sum of its parts.
For that, I give it 7/10.