The latest chapter in the San Francisco Ice Cream Wars (a war we all have a stake in) comes to us from the Northern provinces via the French Canadian clowns, acrobats and performance artists of Cirque du Soleil. Starting November 13th, Humphry Slocombe (all hail the creators of "Secret Breakfast" and their boozy, bourbon soaked corn flakes) will be carrying their latest creation "Tempest:" a crème fraîche based ice cream with blueberry compote swirls inspired by the new Cirque extravaganza Amaluna based on Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Amaluna, opening Friday, November 15th and running at AT&T Park through January 12, is a female-driven take on the Bard's classic shipwreck story set on a mysterious island governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Amaluna, a fusion of the words ama (which refers to “mother” in many languages) and luna, which means “moon," an ancient symbol of femininity that evokes both the mother-daughter relationship of the story and the idea of goddess and protector of the planet. Amaluna is also the name of the mysterious island where the story unfolds. This is the second high profile, matriarchal take on The Tempest after Julie Taymor's 2010 film version of the play starring Helen Mirren as "Prospera," the female version of Shakespeare's island sorcerer Prospero.
For Humphry Slocombe's Jake Godby, the avant-garde ice cream parlor was a perfect fit with the always surprising Cirque du Soleil.
"Usually, we try not to make our ice creams so cerebral," Godby laughed, "but it was cool to be asked to contribute something to the show. If you're going to reference The Tempest, a swirl is natural and the crème fraîche was sort of an homage to the company's roots. The images of the performers' graceful athleticism in addition to the show's blue color palate led me to something that was strong and smooth and sweet and tart."
To KQED Pop's knowledge, this is the first ice cream flavor inspired by a circus and now we're going to be disappointed by all live performances that do not include a signature ice cream flavor. Can you imagine a red hot cayenne pepper sorbet for a night at the opera seeing Faust or a haunted tulle topping at the ballet for Giselle? What about a delicious "Kindness of Strangers" sundae (with a wedge of lemon and plenty of crushed ice, honey) for a matinee of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire or a heroin-sprinkled waffle cone available at touring companies of Rent? Thank you, Cirque du Soleil and Humphry Slocombe for opening this world of possibilities!