This year we thought it would be fun to shake things up a little at our stores. My favorite way to eat ice creams is in a sundae. So, I thought “what would my perfect sundae be?” and I decided that it would be three things:

  1. It would be lots of flavors, textures and temperatures in one bowl.
  2. I would have the option to make a big sundae (call it a “somedae:) or a small one.
  3. It would have emotion and personality that reflected my own tastes at that moment.

In our kitchen we’ve been making various streusels for ice creams over the years. These streusel-like crumbles hold up great in ice cream—better than a true cake (which often gets crushed). So we mimic flavors in a brownie or cake, but do it in a smaller crumble form. Then chuck it into the ice creams. For our Loveless Biscuits + Peach Jam Ice Cream we made a biscuit “crumble” to swirl into the ice cream with our homemade peach jam. That way the biscuits don’t get too soft and fall apart in the ice cream. How can you not love a crumble that has the flavor and personality of a baked good? If you’ve seen Christina Tosi’s excellent book, Momofuku Milk Bar, then you know what I’m talking about. Crumbs are fun. Inspiration abounds. Possibilities are endless.

While filling out my sushi-style ice cream dessert menu at Zero Zero in San Francisco it dawned on me… for summer, we’ll make several beautiful single-note ice creams, a few thrilling sauces, but, instead of having cakes and pastries to go on ice cream, we’d make our crumbs or streusels in pastry flavors—like we do when we put them IN ice creams—for toppings! And we’ll call them Gravel. We’ll also let you put sauces, Gravel and accoutrements on any size scoop of ice cream. These components would satisfy the first two requirements for my “perfect sundae,” but how could we give each sundae personality?

The answer is: WE don’t, YOU do.

For summer, you can build the sundae of your dreams with these components: our single-note ice creams, our sauces, and our Gravels—all available in any combination. The possibilities are literally in the millions. The most exciting part of the whole project—besides the shear deliciousness of it all—is that you get to choose what goes into your sundae, you get to name it, and add your creation to our fan-made menu by tagging a photo of it #jenisgravel.

For suggestions or to see what other people are doing, check out the photo menu at gravel.jenis.com—you can order from it, or add to it.

It’s not about the individual components, but the sum of its parts—the “flavor” you give it by naming and tagging it #jenisgravel.

For a few lucky winners this summer, we are going to pick our favorites and make art-quality prints of their unique creation like these!

Happy graveling.