London is a city known for many things: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, The Tower, St Pauls and Buckingham Palace, and without a doubt, first and foremost, the awful weather. Although the infamous London fog (actually a sooty smog produced by industrialisation) is no longer a feature of urban life in England’s seat of government, most of the time the city is grey and overcast, the skyline draped in a dense layer of cloud.
It’s alright though, because one London ice-cream shop has decided to capitalise on the town’s reputation for cloudy weather by creating a confectionery fusion that will make your mouth water at a mere glance.
The Milk Train ice-cream parlour, situated on the Strand and a convenient distance from Charing Cross station, was renowned for its homemade natural dairy ice-cream, featuring such exotic flavours as matcha and hojicha (green teas).
But the artisan creamery has decided to improve the quality of their cones with a little special something: gorgeously spun clouds of candy floss that make it look like you’re carrying around a portable smoke machine! What could be better than that?
A traditional cone costs between £3.50 and £3.95, depending on the flavour, which is pricey, but well worth it. For a smidgen extra you can be even more wacky and pimp out that bog-standard cone with some bizarre extra toppings, including rice puffs, cookies and strawberries. The parlour’s tagline is “ice-cream makes you happy.” I literally can not argue with that – these people make Willy Wonka look positively amateur.
The history of cotton-candy is a fascinating one. In the 15th-19th century, spinning sugar was an arduous process, affordable only to the very wealthy. Cotton candy as we understand it today was invented in 1897 by the dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton, and first introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World’s Fair as “Fairy Floss.” This sugar was spun by a machine, wherein a spinning electric whisk fluffs hot sugar granules into what eventually resembled fibreglass.
The machine was a profound success, and cotton-candy has been a staple of markets and county-fairs ever since. So next time you’re visiting England, do yourself a favour and stop by this little boutique. You’ll be on cloud nine in no time!