It may look like the popular flavor of ice cream, and the taste is perfect. It is sprinkled with black cookie chips. But what’s in the container of MoonScoops Ice Creamery has no cream or milk substitute.
“I feel like a bit of a mad scientist,” says Lisa Belle Marsh, owner of Marina’s new salon.
Indeed, its colorful range of fruity “moon ice creams” may not exist anywhere else. It’s a successful experiment, assembled from freshly squeezed orange juice, ripe raspberries, etc., and formed into a mix of sorbet and Italian gelato that she calls a hybrid.
“The sugar content is lower than sorbet, higher than ice cream,” says Marsh.
MoonScoops offers 20 different flavors of moon ice cream, all made in-house. A rainbow for the eyes, a carnival in the mouth, the sorbet-ice cream is rich but light, juicy and refreshing. The only time Marsh looks for an ingredient that isn’t natural is — appropriately — to create a flavor that tastes like frozen Kool-Aid.
“I was motivated by my children,” she explains. They happen to like Italian gelato. One day, as she started shopping for a store-bought brand, Marsh had a moment of inspiration. “I can do it with fresher ingredients, all from fresh fruit,” she remembers thinking.
Opening an ice cream parlor was no small feat. Marsh and her husband own the Teriyaki Madness franchise, a few doors down from The Dunes on Monterey Bay mall in Marina. The salon opened on Valentine’s Day and still greets customers with a wall of roses.
“I wanted to make it a welcoming and beautiful space,” she says. “We had an incredible response. I was so pleasantly surprised.
MoonScoops offers organic soft serve ice cream, as well as their oversized moon ice cream and cookies, also baked at home. Marsh is constantly tinkering with new flavors. But the “mad scientist” in her really shows when it comes to non-dairy offerings.
Cookies and cream is one of them. Peanut butter and jelly – which is quite an ice cold version of raspberry jelly and smooth peanut butter on bread – is another. She solved the dairy-free creamy equation by substituting the avocado.
In PB&J Guacamole, the presence of avocado is only detected in texture rather than flavor. It’s so misleading that the cookies and cream version is sold out.
“It’s fun for me,” Marsh says. “I love creating new flavors.”
MoonScoops Ice Creamery, 110 General Stilwell Drive #104, Marina. Open 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. 901-3384, moonscoops.com.