A look at Ballard’s own mobile sweet spot

Parfait Organic Ice Cream hit the street scene a year ago as Seattle’s only mobile organic ice cream shop, but the story begins long before then.

The Parfait Organic Ice Cream truck at the Sunset Hill Caffè Fiorè in 2009.

“Parfait was my brainchild for years before I started it,” owner Adria Shimada tells us. As a trained pastry chef she had a vision of opening an ice cream shop. “I wanted to open an ice cream shop that had the same integrity that you would find in a beautiful French patisserie,” she says. When the economy went south and opening a brick and mortar shop seemed too daunting, she had an epiphany. “I thought, everybody loves the ice cream truck!” She exclaims, “So why not make an upscale ice cream truck?” And that’s exactly what she’s done. “My cost of ingredients are high, my labor methods are costly, so it just sort of dawned on me one day that in order to stay true to the product, that if i had a mobile venue that would make more sense for an artisan product.”

Shimada in her commercial kitchen slicing vanilla beans for vanilla ice cream.

Shimada, who lives in Ballard with her husband and 7-month old son, makes all her ice cream from scratch, something you don’t find with all ice creams. The base of her custard has four basic ingredients – milk, cream, sugar and eggs, all of which are organic. The milk, cream & eggs are from local farms and she uses fair trade, organic sugar. “My profit margins are a little lower because my ingredients are so expensive. But I feel really good about the way I make my ice cream and I feel really good about what people are eating.”

The vanilla beans will be strained out after being steeped.

The customers seem to enjoy Parfait, too. After being closed over the winter, Shimada hit the streets again in May. “People were really excited that we were back!” she says with a smile. “I’ve met my neighbors and I’ve met amazing families. It’s just so gratifying to see people’s expressions when they actually eat the food that I’ve spent so many hours making.”

A behind-the-scenes look at Shimada making vanilla bean ice cream:

The Parfait Organic Ice Cream truck has a set schedule of locations so you can always find the mobile sweet spot. “I really want it to be a neighborhood truck,” Shimada says, “I don’t have a brick & mortar shop but I really want it to have strong ties with the neighborhoods I serve.” Right now Shimada parks at the Queen Anne Farmers Market from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Friday she’s in downtown Ballard in front of Venue (5408 22nd Ave. NW) from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturdays she hits the Pioneer Square Market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays she’s back in Ballard at the Sunset Hill Caffè Fiorè (3125 NW 85th St) from 1 to 5 p.m. By the end of the summer Shimada is hoping to be open seven days a week. Of course sometimes the schedule does change for a special occasion, so check Parfait’s schedule, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

12 comments on “A look at Ballard’s own mobile sweet spot”

  1. Sounds yummy.

    I just hope she doesn’t play a cheesy electronic version of “The Entertainer” or “A Bicycle Built For Two” as she’s driving around.

    The first couple of times I hear the ice cream truck driving around playing those, it brings a smile to my face – it’s a sound of summer, as sure as Dave Neihaus on the radio or the sound of lawn sprinklers (the ones that throw the long streams of water and go “fffttttttttttt, fffttttttttttt, fffttttttttttt…). But after the tenth time “Joe” drives by with his electronic jingle I’m ready to shoot someone.

    Organic, made-from-scratch ice cream sounds great. I’ll have to give this a try.

  2. There is nothing better then Parfait Ice Cream, especially the Mint flavor! (And no, she doesn’t play any dumb music.) Adria’s love for what she does show in her customer service (she always remembers my husband, son and I whenever we see her) and in her product. I can honestly say that I have little interest in store brand ice cream anymore. She is a master! Thanks, Adria! I just wish you were around when I was pregnant…

  3. If it’s available, Parfait’s Meyer lemon is superlative, and will make you forget about Molly Moon’s in a heartbeat. ;-)

  4. i wish it was a little creamier. the two times I’ve tried it there were ice crystals in mine.

  5. I’m going to have to agree with Stussy. Her flavors are amazing, but the creaminess is a little uneven.

    Seattle’s current champion in “iced creaminess” is, ironically, the non-dairy selection at Full Tilt, which are coconut-based, creamier, and tastier than the regular flavors just about anywhere.

  6. She’s using high-quality and expensive product. I should try her ice cream! Any suggestions on choosing a flavor? I see votes for mint and lemon… any others?

  7. I went to the Pioneer Sq event today just to try the Ice Cream and relax over a game of outdoor chess. Got the Meyer Lemon, it was tasty!

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