How Shaved Ice Took Over the Dessert Menu

Cold Comfort Food

From left: coconut shaved ice with candied basmati puffs at Copra in San Francisco; a parfait made with orange granita, ice cream and crème fraîche whipped cream at Vern’s in Charleston, S.C.Credit…From left: Patricia Chang; Andrew Cebulka

Whether you know it as Japanese kakigori, Korean patbingsu, Hawaiian shave ice, Italian granita, Indian ice gola or the American snow cone, a mound of shaved ice drenched in syrup and served on a hot day is a near-universal delight. “It’s like the dumpling of the dessert world,” says Maya Erickson, 32, the pastry chef at the Thai restaurant Phuket Cafe in Portland, Ore.

Now, though, the once-casual treat has made its way to restaurants, even fine dining. Erickson serves kiwi-flavored shaved ice atop a creamy jasmine tea custard. At Bar Maze, which offers a cocktail-paired tasting menu in Honolulu, the head chef Ki Chung, 32, combines sweet corn pudding and sesame streusel with ice shaved from the same clear blocks used for drinks — the dessert is finished tableside with a pour of black sesame orgeat. While Chung’s ice is rendered as light and ethereal as snowflakes, at Vern’s in Charleston, S.C., the chef and co-owner Dano Heinze, 40, favors a crunchy texture. In a shallow sundae glass, he creates a parfait of vanilla ice cream spiked with orange zest, a layer of orange jam, tangy crème fraîche whipped cream and a pile of orange granita — frozen orange juice sharpened with citrus vinegar and scraped with a fork — for a take on an orange Creamsicle. For Srijith Gopinathan, 46, the chef and owner of Copra in San Francisco, shaved ice is infused with nostalgia. Recalling the crushed ice of his childhood, molded into ice pops and sold by bicycle vendors in Kerala, India, his coconut crystals — coconut water, coconut milk and a touch of cardamom, all blended with liquid nitrogen — are embedded with mango gelée and candied basmati rice puffs. And at Yess in Los Angeles, the sous-chef Giles Clark, 36, creates what he calls “slightly naughty, adult interpretations” of kakigori, including a sangria version with a fruit salad that might include passion fruit and pluots, heaped with ice shaved by a hand-cranked machine and doused in red wine syrup sweetened by the ferment of fruit trimmings. Part of the fun is the dramatic dimensions of the dessert, about the size of a volleyball. “It’s quite playful,” Clark says, adding, “People finish with a smile.” — Martha Cheng

A Jeweler’s Homage to the Owl

Credit…Photograph by Alyona Kuzmina. Set design by Jocelyn Cabral

The owl, a strange, distinctive predator, is one of the few birds that hunts in the dark. Over the centuries and across cultures, it’s symbolized everything from sagacity to black magic. The armed Greek goddess Athena was frequently depicted with a so-called little owl — Athene noctua — by her side, and the 19th-century German thinker Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel cast the bird as a metaphor for philosophy itself: Its emergence each night meant that reality, he wrote, had “completed its formative process” so that thought could take flight. Recently, a private client asked the New York-based jeweler Monica Rich Kosann to capture the owl’s enduring allure in a ring. The result: this giant black Australian opal set high in 18-karat gold, surrounded by marquise-cut diamonds, a totem at once wicked and wise. Monica Rich Kosann Owl ring, price on request, — Nancy Hass

Photo assistant: Adrian Ababović

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