Carolin Messier, owner of Basque-inspired The Harvest Vine and the dearly departed Txori, is venturing outside of Spain for her latest project. She and Harvest Vine baker Amelia Cullinan are launching a locally minded ice cream company called the Spoon Project.
The Spoon Project took root maybe two months ago. The duo already makes ice cream for the restaurant; with Cullinan's flair for the dessert—"she just rocks at coming up with new flavors," enthuses her counterpart—taking things bigger seemed a no-brainer.
One day Cullinan came in and Messier, always eager to collaborate and embark on something new, "had this gleam in her eye," the baker recalls. Ideas were floated, core values were discussed (local, quality ingredients; putting fun before the bottom line—"If it's not fun, we're not doing it"), and so began the Spoon Project.
Indeed, the flavors are quite special. When the duo debuted this past weekend at the Seattle Underground Market, scoops included black fig with balsamic, fig-amontillado sherry, vegan Belgian chocolate sorbet, and VanDuck, a French vanilla custard made with duck eggs. Current recipes undergoing testing are mulled wine sorbet and a red wine and poached pear.
The reception at the market was positive, to say the least, and convinced them to ramp up operations. Originally the plan was to launch in the spring, now Cullinan and Messier hope to have a dedicated shop within a year, if not before.
Till then, they are building the business from the ground up. "We want to do it totally grassroots," says Messier. In the coming weeks they will pop up at events and eventually will host their own pop-ups. One idea is to crowdsource an ice cream social. Messier is also chatting with a couple of places about retailing their products.
Per the name, the owners aspire to turn the Spoon Project into a collaborative effort—rather than just highlight ingredients from local farmers and purveyors, they want to get them involved. That may mean culling apples from City Fruit then developing a flavor the local nonprofit can sell. Or using pumpkins from Fall City Farms and doing something similar.
Keep an eye on the Spoon Project Facebook page to learn of upcoming sampling opportunities.