As summer comes to a close, we can't get enough ice cream. Meet the makers behind one of our favorite creameries in Austin, TX.
Photo: Annie Ray, Lick Honest Ice Cream
With summer temps stuck in the 100s in Texas, refreshing ice cream is a saving grace. Lucky for us, our hometown of Austin provides endless options in the delicious ice cream department.
One of our favorite spots is locally owned and locally made, Lick Honest Ice Cream. Lick sources seasonal ingredients from local farms and changes their menu regularly to incorporate what's fresh.
Co-founders Chad Palmatier (left) and Anthony Sobotik (right) pride themselves on this approach and Austinites eat it up. Since Lick Honest Ice Creams opened in the fall of 2011, the company has grown to include four locations and the ability to ship their pints nationally.
Photo: Annie Ray, Lick Honest Ice Cream.
We spoke with co-owner and chef Anthony Sobotik to learn more about this Austin hot-spot and his passion for ice cream (and food)!
What is Lick Honest Ice Creams?
Lick Honest Ice Creams celebrates the flavors and culture of Texas by making ice cream with grass-fed milk and cream from a small Texas dairy and ingredients from small local farms. We churn every batch ourselves and make every component that goes into each flavor from scratch in our own production kitchen in Northwest Austin.
How did it come into existence?
I was really missing the flavors that I grew up with in Texas while Chad and I were living in the Northeast and Midwest. I've also always loved both making and eating ice cream. So while we were living up North, we would visit all of these amazing Mom-and-Pop ice cream shops in the area that worked with local dairies, specifically, on trips to Chad's hometown in Lancaster, PA. At the same time, we were taking trips to Texas to visit my family. It was on one of those trips that I asked the question "Why isn't anyone in Austin making ice cream with local dairy?" That was in 2007. Three years later we decided to take the plunge so we sold our house, moved back to Austin, and put all of our savings into opening Lick. That's the very condensed version!
How does food fit into your life and/or what prompted the commitment to local ingredients?
My grandparents owned and operated a farm just a few miles from my house so I saw first hand how much work goes into growing food. The surrounding community was also very agricultural l so I grew up eating a lot of fresh, local produce and it really stuck with me. Chad and I made a commitment from the start that we would only open Lick if we could make the ice creams with local milk and cream and with primarily local ingredients. To date, I'm happy to say that we have purchased roughly 75% of our ingredients from small, independent farmers! We have to support our small, independent farms because they deserve it and because if we don't, we'll lose them!
What are your 3 most popular flavors?
In terms of sales, our three most popular flavors in the shops are Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil and Sea Salt, Caramel Salt Lick and Hill Country Honey and Vanilla Bean. Right now, our most popular seasonal flavor is Milk & Cookies. In terms of fan favorites, I would say that Sweet Cream and Strawberry and Lemon Lavender are perhaps our most popular. We get emails and asked in the shop all year for those two!
What’s your favorite type of ice cream to make and why?
Such a hard question! I really enjoy making flavors that contain herbs and spices. I'm still fascinated by the subtleties in a flavor profile that can be created using these naturally occurring ingredients.
You're stuck on an island and get a magically temperature controlled freezer stocked with enough ice cream to last forever...but it's only one flavor. What is it?
I would have to go with Cilantro Lime Ice Cream. It was the first flavor that I created for Lick so the emotional connection with the flavor would, I feel, also help sustain me on the island!
What’s your favorite restaurant experience/ culinary vacation? What do you remember about it/why did it make an impression on you?
What meal/food that brings you back to childhood?
Venison! My Dad hunted, still does, so we always had venison steaks, dried venison, and sausage. Anytime I have it I'm instantly transported back to my parents' kitchen table!
What was your first kitchen tool splurge?
My first kitchen tool splurge was my first Kitchen Aid Mixer. I used that thing when I was catering on my own, a baker and even to make all the waffle cones for Lick when we first opened. Sadly, it fizzled out a few years back but I'll never forget it.
What’s your best piece of advice for a novice chef, baker, or ice cream makers?
Just go for it! Don't overthink it or be afraid. You're going to fail but that's just part of the learning process. Cooking and baking should be fun, so start by making dishes that you're genuinely interested in or enjoy eating.
What are 3 things every home chef needs in their arsenal?
In my opinion, you need the following: a great all-purpose knife, a large stainless steel bowl, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
Why do you like feeding people/having dinner parties?
I love the sense of community that cooking for and with people fosters. You can learn so much about a person by sharing and listening to memories and stories about the food they grew up eating or just foods that they love in general. Food really has the power to break down barriers because our need for it connects all of us.
What’s your favorite piece of Made In’s cookware line and how do you use it in your day to day life?
I absolutely love the 2-quart sauce pan! Its shape is really perfect for so many uses when I'm making meals for just me and Chad. Most recently, I've been using it to boil small amounts of pasta and all the summer peas I've been buying. It's also a perfect size for making a small batch of ice cream base. ;-)