• Three Twins, Oxbow Public Market, 610 First Street, Napa, www.threetwinsicecream.com

“We have to stop!” She darts me a look: “You’re crazy. We just ate lunch… Twice!” “I don’t care, I want my ice cream!” I grab her hand and drag her across Oxbow Market to Three Twins, a little shop with selected flavors.

Their mission statement hangs on the wall: “We’ve been making inconceivably delicious ice cream since 2005.” I’m intrigued. Ambra’s concerned.

A small chain in Northern California, Three Twins (named after the relationship of the owners) is an entrepreneurial success. Neal Gottlieb, the founder, says his goal is “to produce… organic ice cream that avoids artificial colorings and flavors, in order to create “a best-in-class treat that is inconceivably delicious”. We have to put it to test.

We sample the Banana Berry made with rice milk. Only one bite silences doubts. “Two scoops of that please.”

“Wait!” Ambra insists. “What about the Mocha Difference?” I don’t put up a fight. “Make that one of each.” She hands us a small up.

We devour the mocha to get to the fruit. I feel like a squirrel trying to reach the center of a nut. To be fair, the mocha deserves mention. It’s potent and pure, a rich burst of coffee, chocolate and vanilla.

I reach the berry. Tantalizing, sweet and refreshing. I slow down, savoring each bite. Ambra looks on eagerly. “I thought you didn’t want any,” I tease. She makes a face. I’m reluctant but I share. I should have known better.

We return the following day. “We still need to try the Burnt Carmel,” I insist. “Alec, we have a nine hour drive and it’s already noon.” “But Ambra, what about the Venetian Coffee?” She ponders a moment. “Fine, but no lunch this time.”

This time we don’t bother with samples. “Coffee and Carmel please.” Ambra has no reservations. “How is it!?” she exclaims. I’m rendered speechless. The carmel is thick and creamy and tastes like the top of a Creme Brulee. Not too sweet, just enough sugar and an entire scoop of pleasure. The coffee is like an espresso: powerful, intense; a great way to finish the dessert.
“Oh my God!,” Ambra says, “this is the best ice cream we’ve had in America.”
I wholeheartedly agree.

It would have been better if… I hadn’t had to share.

Still hungry? Read here:
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