by Neil Sowerby
THERE may be some who lament the demise of Pinkies diner in Afflecks Palace, but its replacement on the first floor corner site, the glamorous Gingers Comfort Emporium must make the heart gladder once youve pushed your way through the acne-driven hordes the legendary emporium attracts.
Im not sure these are quite the discerning customers required for Claire Kelsey and Dan Manicolos ice cream sandwiches on brioche and left field milkshakes such as margarita, with lime granita and chocolate dipped cherries.
And the kids might turn their pierced noses up at extra virgin olive oil and vanilla ice cream with Hawaiian black salt, strawberry sauce, and black olive chocolate flake (pictured).
But it scooped (sic) Best Dessert at the British Street Food Awards 2013, you protest... and, melding sweet and salt, it is a quite lovely creation. So too the hazelnut and white truffle (like a risotto without the need for rice) and the dense, malty Brewdog Abstract 14 ale ice cream (well, actually, for me theres still the need for a real pint out there).
Melt: the book
The Pure Origins Chocolate ice cream is a less challenging prospect, but it is all relative. Peruse Claires ice cream primer Melt for sale at £18.99 in the new parlour and a great Christmas present for the foodie in your life. The recipes are as culinarily innovative as anything else in Manchester, bar Simon Rogans brand of kitchen alchemy at the Midland.
Until now the prime way to sample was via Claires retro ice cream vans. The new home should open up a wider audience. If they can make the leap of faith up those crowded stairwells off Oldham Street. Theres good coffee and lots of other treats, too. Perfect after the seasonal shopping ordeal.
Gingers Comfort Emporium, 2nd floor, Afflecks Palace, Oldham Street, Mon-Sun, 10am-6pm, www.gingerscomfortemporium.com