By Haleigh Whisted
Staff writer

“Milk and Honey” is a new kosher ice cream flavor that will soon be served at Maryland Dairy, thanks to the head chef and a rabbi from Hillel.

This ice cream was announced to the public on Israel Independence Day, April 19. Israel is often referred to as “the land of milk and honey” The flavor was not intended to have any relation to the holiday, and Veronica Leifer, a freshman biology and psychology major, believes the timing of the two events to be an ironic coincidence.

The “Milk and Honey” flavor has a milk base with honey swirls and chopped almonds.  It is “wonderful, sweet, and slightly salty all at the same time,” said Maryland Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Ari Israel, who helps checking that the kosher ice cream flavors are up to standards.

Chef Jeffrey Russo, the creator of the flavor, was the brain behind the idea. He pulled from past experiences to create the flavor’s unique combination.

“I remembered from my childhood an advertisement to travel to Israel that called it ‘the land of milk and honey’, and another candy from the 70s called ‘Bit-O-Honey’ that always had a good taste,” said Russo.

Most students and staff were led to believe that Leifer helped create the flavor, because of a Facebook post that did not specify what her role was in the making of “Milk and Honey.” This, as Leifer put it, was “such fake news.” Rabbi Israel is the mashgiach for the ice cream flavor, which means that he oversees the production process to make sure that it meets kosher standards. While Leifer did not actually create the flavor, she accompanied Israel.  

“I keep kosher in my own house and I thought it would be interesting to see how a kitchen keeps kosher,” said Leifer.  

From left: Rabbi Ari Israel, Chef Jeffrey Russo, and Veronica Leifer pose over a fresh batch of “Milk and Honey” ice cream. Photo courtesy of Rabbi Ari Israel.

While many of the flavors at Maryland Dairy are already kosher, “Milk and Honey” needed to be specifically checked and approved because it is new.  Russo “was very understanding and very on top of the kosher process,” said Leifer, after witnessing its creation at the campus store.

Russo said there are three steps to creating a flavor. First, the chef is inspired and comes up with an idea. He then completes a “flavor profile workup,” in which formulas and percentages of new ingredients are balanced to ensure that the ice cream will freeze correctly. Russo finally decides which proportions work best from several attempts at trial and error.

Maryland Dairy creates its ice cream by putting ice cream mix through a machine. Once the ice cream comes out, other ingredients are added. For the “Milk and Honey” flavor, honey and almonds were added after the ice cream had been processed by the machine.

There are currently no other kosher flavors in the creation process. Russo said the Dairy has recently created many kosher flavors, starting with only 6 and now offering 24 at Maryland Dairy. Because there are already so many kosher options, the chef is currently working on non-kosher custom flavors.

“Milk and Honey” was recently shipped out and the release date has not yet been announced.


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