Free samples of the new Empire Collection of Connoisseur’s ice cream was available from Thursday September 17- Sunday September 21, 2014 at Blank Space Gallery, Surry Hills.
“We create CONNOISSEUR for the curious and adventureous. The new Empire Collection showcases four unique flavour combinations, inspired by four historical characters who each had a connection to the very origins of ice cream. With flavours inspired by the personalities of some of the world’s most charismatic leaders combined with stunning packaging designed by Steve Cross, the story of ice cream comes to life.”
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!! When this first appeared, I was no doubt going straight to Blank Space Gallery. The fact that the name is Blank Space Gallery really tells you a lot about the space- right?
Heading up on Albion Street from Central station, I knew that this hill we were climbing up would be the calories I would put back on when I get to Connoisseur’s exhibition. I don’t think I’ve heard of the gallery before but it doesn’t hurt checking new places out because who knows- maybe it’ll come in useful later on!
Going on a Friday night, I expected it to be packed with people but surprisingly, there was a security guard and two girls serving ice cream when I arrived. No other customers? Well, it worked in my favour because I got to try a little scoop of each flavour- twice! #winning FYI the prelim AFL finals were on so maybe that was why..
It was pretty neat when I arrived. The fridge was filled to the brim with Connoisseur ice cream tubs. I LOVE the new design. It’s sharp, slick and arty. Melbourne artist Steve Cross is the person behind these designs and also the four unique installations at the gallery. Watching his video here, I learnt that he started off painting murals, then graffiti, street art.. he is definitely #cuttingedge
What I found interesting is that percentages of the packaging needed to be 80% of one colour and 20% of the other colour. The composition of the characters and compositions of the placement of colours is very specific. Imagine your artwork in every shopping mall! I loved how he mentioned that he sometimes goes to the fridge and wipes the frost off the ice cream tubs so that you can see the design #commitment
Looking around the gallery, it is actually a pretty small space. The general vibe of the room was.. quite exotic, particularly the emperors. Let’s go through the emperors and kings and their flavours:
1. Emperor Nero (wickedly robust coffee flavoured ice cream scattered with chocolate coated hazelnuts and lashings of hazelnut liqueur sauce)
“As an ‘ice cream’ originator, Nero ordered snow to be brought back from the highest mountains which he would mix with exotic fruit and sweet syrups.” This was devilishly chocolately and for those who are needing that coffee/sugar fix.
2. Emperor Jing Zong ( red bean flavoured ice cream, mouth watering coconut pieces and a swirl of sweet, red bean syrup)
“The energetic leader would host extravagant parties at the Imperial Palace, which was dripping in jewels and bursting with the scent of fresh peonies. On hot nights, dessert was a unique creation of ice, buffalo milk and ‘dragons brains’.” I’m not too sure if there was a strong flavour of red bean but the coconut pieces are the secret ingredient to this delightful ice cream!
3. King Louis XIV (French Vanilla flavoured ice cream, laced with choc flakes and a splash of Armagnac liqueur)
“During his reign, he drastically changed France from its savage mediaeval ways to more refined, exquisite and opulent living – evident from the Palace of Versailles and the extensions he made to the Louvre.” What a classy man and a classy dessert! I’m not a fan of vanilla usually but the chocolate flakes did it this time round!
4. King Cyrus of Persia (pistachio flavoured ice cream, pistachio nuts and swirls of syrup made from cinnamon, honey and dates)
“Pioneers of ‘ice cream’ within the Persian Empire created a desert made of rosewater and vermicelli that was a cross between sorbet and rice pudding called a faludeh. It helped them cool off and relax after a hard day in the punishing Iranian heat.” With this, I really loved the nuttyness of the pistachio flavour and I have a feeling this could’ve been my favourite!
The designs around the room were gorgeous and I would’ve come here again if I had the chance! There was no line and sampling this in an art gallery helps the art community!
Rating Review: (1-5, with 5 being exceptional)
Event (Connoisseur free ice cream): 4/5
Would I recommend going to Connoissuer’s free ice cream giveaway at Blank Space Gallery? Is that even a question? Even for those who don’t normally like ice cream (such as myself), I would definitely come back again. You won’t be walking a couple of blocks to Gelato Messina after this!
Highlight: I really liked how Connoisseur has combined this new Empire Collection with history and art – both things I’m highly interested in. Its actually quite funny because Connoisseur isn’t the cheapest ice cream brand out there and the fact that they’ve created unique flavours and aligning them with emperors and kings is quite interesting. I liked the decorations and paintings around the area – was there a chance of buying it? It was also very apparent that there was an official hashtag (and so many places don’t do this!!) and competition.
Suggestion of improvement: The artwork was really nice, but I would’ve liked it more if there was more explanation behind the emperors/kings with their respective flavours. Maybe if you had to go answer a question about the emperor/king whose ice cream flavour you wanted.., something more interactive maybe. Anyways, I’m glad I got to try them all!
Ends: Sunday September 21, 2014
Official hashtags: #Connoisseur #EmpireCollection