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Shop infuses ice cream with unique flavor combinations

BRISTOL — On one morning last week in the bright white interior of LuLu, the new Bristol ice cream shop, Martha Mack and Linda Harmon listed the day’s flavors on a hanging spool of paper.
“Basil,” Mack told her mother, who wrote out each flavor in colorful marker. “Caramelized banana. Curried peanut. Toasted coconut. Strawberry and tarragon sorbet.”
Martha Mack dreams up many of the rotating flavors that go into the small-batch, custard-based ice cream, but the business is a family affair — her father, Doug Mack, invented the curried peanut flavor, and he also pitches in to make some of the standard flavors in the rotation. Harmon is the designated taste tester, and she manages the business side of the operation.
The family isn’t new to the restaurant business — Doug Mack and Harmon own Mary’s at Baldwin Creek, also in Bristol. Martha Mack grew up working in the restaurant and now bartends there several evenings each week. The scoop shop occupies the spot vacated by Mary’s Restaurant in 1998, when the family decided to move the whole operation out of downtown to the Inn at Baldwin Creek. In fact, said Harmon, the opening of LuLu over Memorial Day weekend marked 18 years to the day since Mary’s moved out.
When the previous renter left, the family looked at the empty spot and got to thinking.
“We had an open storefront, and we wanted to find something to do with it,” said Harmon. “It was the perfect size for an ice cream shop.”
But what to name it?
Harmon said naming the place was harder than getting it ready to serve up ice cream — she and Mack debated names for several months. Finally, Mack suggested the word “lulu,” defined as  “a wonderful, outstanding, remarkable object or thing.” While it’s not in common use anymore, Mack said there have been some older people who recognize the word. The definition will also be printed on T-shirts that the shop sells.
This summer, the store is open Wednesday through Sunday, until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends.
Harmon said evenings and weekends have tended to be busy, especially with the warm weather and schools letting out, and that they are still fine-tuning their ice cream quantities.
“Right now, there’s more demand than there is ice cream,” said Martha Mack.
That’s a tough balance, she said, since she can’t just whip up another batch when supplies are running low — from the custard base to the finished product, the ice cream-making process takes more than a day.
But the family is learning more about running the shop each day, and Mack said when the shop is closed each Monday and Tuesday, she takes the opportunity to get creative and experiment with new flavors and seasonal ingredients to add into the rotation: white chocolate lavender with lemon zest; orange cardamom; chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels; strawberry balsamic.
For the less adventurous and the ice cream purists, there are standard flavors each day — chocolate and vanilla, a sorbet and usually a coffee flavor. The coffee toffee, made with coffee from Vermont Coffee Co. in Middlebury and toffee from Red Kite Candy in Thetford, has proved to be a popular standard.
But sampling the more unusual flavors is highly encouraged, too. Harmon said she likes to have every customer sample at least two flavors that they might not otherwise try.
GOURMET ROOTS
Martha Mack said she never expected to end up running an ice cream shop. She planned to be a children’s librarian, but after earning her master’s degree and taking a job at a library in New Hampshire, she found herself interacting more with books than with children.
About a year ago, Mack returned home to work at Mary’s and think about her next step.
“I like being here, but I had to find something to do,” she said.
Working behind the bar at Mary’s, Mack discovered a passion for infusing alcohol and mixing creative cocktails. Her bacon-infused Whistlepig worked itself into drinks, as did rosemary-infused vodka.
From there, it was a short jump to infusing flavors in ice cream with her small ice cream maker. It was something she’d dabbled in for a long time, but soon enough creative cupcake and ice cream pairings started showing up on the Mary’s menu, as well as combinations like maple ice cream and maple bacon sundaes.
“I’ve read probably every book on ice cream,” she said with a laugh.
And while Mack doesn’t eat ice cream and doesn’t drink, the process of infusing flavors drew her to her work creating cocktails and sweet confections.
“It’s equally scientific and creative,” she said. “There’s a way to do it, but it allows you to play around with it as well.”
Many of the flavors Mack uses are sourced locally, from the herbs from the garden at Mary’s to the milk from Monument Farms and the eggs from Maple Meadow Farms. Maple syrup comes from Schoolhouse Maple 15 in Starksboro, and the cookies in the cookies and cream are homemade.
When she can’t find ingredients locally, Mack said she uses high-quality organic sugar and organic chocolate.
And the signs are local, too — the giant ice cream cone hanging outside of the shop is from David Durgin at Mainly Metals, as are the signs hanging on the walls inside.
Mack said the next steps for the shop are ice cream toppings — she hopes to begin offering sundaes and homemade sprinkles soon, and is working on perfecting her own chocolate sprinkle recipe right now.
“I’m totally psyched about that,” she said.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected] — On one morning last week in the bright white interior of LuLu, the new Bristol ice cream shop, Martha Mack and Linda Harmon listed the day’s flavors on a hanging spool of paper.
“Basil,” Mack told her mother, who wrote out each flavor in colorful marker. “Caramelized banana. Curried peanut. Toasted coconut. Strawberry and tarragon sorbet.”
Martha Mack dreams up many of the rotating flavors that go into the small-batch, custard-based ice cream, but the business is a family affair — her father, Doug Mack, invented the curried peanut flavor, and he also pitches in to make some of the standard flavors in the rotation. Harmon is the designated taste tester, and she manages the business side of the operation.
The family isn’t new to the restaurant business — Doug Mack and Harmon own Mary’s at Baldwin Creek, also in Bristol. Martha Mack grew up working in the restaurant and now bartends there several evenings each week. The scoop shop occupies the spot vacated by Mary’s Restaurant in 1998, when the family decided to move the whole operation out of downtown to the Inn at Baldwin Creek. In fact, said Harmon, the opening of LuLu over Memorial Day weekend marked 18 years to the day since Mary’s moved out.
When the previous renter left, the family looked at the empty spot and got to thinking.
“We had an open storefront, and we wanted to find something to do with it,” said Harmon. “It was the perfect size for an ice cream shop.”
But what to name it?
Harmon said naming the place was harder than getting it ready to serve up ice cream — she and Mack debated names for several months. Finally, Mack suggested the word “lulu,” defined as  “a wonderful, outstanding, remarkable object or thing.” While it’s not in common use anymore, Mack said there have been some older people who recognize the word. The definition will also be printed on T-shirts that the shop sells.
This summer, the store is open Wednesday through Sunday, until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends.
Harmon said evenings and weekends have tended to be busy, especially with the warm weather and schools letting out, and that they are still fine-tuning their ice cream quantities.
“Right now, there’s more demand than there is ice cream,” said Martha Mack.
That’s a tough balance, she said, since she can’t just whip up another batch when supplies are running low — from the custard base to the finished product, the ice cream-making process takes more than a day.
But the family is learning more about running the shop each day, and Mack said when the shop is closed each Monday and Tuesday, she takes the opportunity to get creative and experiment with new flavors and seasonal ingredients to add into the rotation: white chocolate lavender with lemon zest; orange cardamom; chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels; strawberry balsamic.
For the less adventurous and the ice cream purists, there are standard flavors each day — chocolate and vanilla, a sorbet and usually a coffee flavor. The coffee toffee, made with coffee from Vermont Coffee Co. in Middlebury and toffee from Red Kite Candy in Thetford, has proved to be a popular standard.
But sampling the more unusual flavors is highly encouraged, too. Harmon said she likes to have every customer sample at least two flavors that they might not otherwise try.
GOURMET ROOTS
Martha Mack said she never expected to end up running an ice cream shop. She planned to be a children’s librarian, but after earning her master’s degree and taking a job at a library in New Hampshire, she found herself interacting more with books than with children.
About a year ago, Mack returned home to work at Mary’s and think about her next step.
“I like being here, but I had to find something to do,” she said.
Working behind the bar at Mary’s, Mack discovered a passion for infusing alcohol and mixing creative cocktails. Her bacon-infused Whistlepig worked itself into drinks, as did rosemary-infused vodka.
From there, it was a short jump to infusing flavors in ice cream with her small ice cream maker. It was something she’d dabbled in for a long time, but soon enough creative cupcake and ice cream pairings started showing up on the Mary’s menu, as well as combinations like maple ice cream and maple bacon sundaes.
“I’ve read probably every book on ice cream,” she said with a laugh.
And while Mack doesn’t eat ice cream and doesn’t drink, the process of infusing flavors drew her to her work creating cocktails and sweet confections.
“It’s equally scientific and creative,” she said. “There’s a way to do it, but it allows you to play around with it as well.”
Many of the flavors Mack uses are sourced locally, from the herbs from the garden at Mary’s to the milk from Monument Farms and the eggs from Maple Meadow Farms. Maple syrup comes from Schoolhouse Maple 15 in Starksboro, and the cookies in the cookies and cream are homemade.
When she can’t find ingredients locally, Mack said she uses high-quality organic sugar and organic chocolate.
And the signs are local, too — the giant ice cream cone hanging outside of the shop is from David Durgin at Mainly Metals, as are the signs hanging on the walls inside.
Mack said the next steps for the shop are ice cream toppings — she hopes to begin offering sundaes and homemade sprinkles soon, and is working on perfecting her own chocolate sprinkle recipe right now.
“I’m totally psyched about that,” she said.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected].

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