Creme and Cocoa: Caribbean Flavors from Childhood Memories

Creme and Cocoa: Caribbean Flavors from Childhood Memories
Creme and Cocoa is an ice cream shop and a family affair (Paul Stremple/BKLYNER)

PROSPECT LEFFERTS GARDENS – Duck into Creme and Cocoa from a trip down Nostrand Ave and you’re in an oasis—a well lit, simple shop, with friendly people and delicious treats.

Owners Omar and Astrid ran a coffeeshop out of the space at 1067 Nostrand Ave for a few years, offering ice cream along with their cappuccinos, when they decided to start making their ice cream and sorbet from scratch.

They took some time to learn the process of homemade ice cream and relaunched the space as a creamery this summer. It was time well spent: the ice cream is terrific.

Creme and Cocoa’s flavors range from the classic—cookies and cream, dark chocolate, vanilla—to the tropical: soursop, papaya, sorrel, mango. There’s a mix of ice cream, sorbet, with vegan offerings, too, but suffice to say, it’s all good.

Omar scoops up papaya ice cream

Two generous scoops—sorrel sorbet over soursop ice cream—totaled a totally reasonable $6. The sorbet was a beautiful, deep red with the tangy bite of sorrel, sweet without being overbearing. The soursop ice cream was a perfect companion, creamy and rich.

The flavors are distinctly Caribbean, said Omar, scooping papaya ice cream (which, upon tasting, was also delicious). He ate the fruit every morning at breakfast growing up.

“People come in and it reminds them of their childhood,” Astrid added. To illustrate her point, a mother and daughter duo came in and made straight for the sorrel, a flavor the girl’s grandmother had introduced her to.

All the ice cream is made from fresh fruit, as local as possible, and purchased from Caribbean vendors in the neighborhood. The milk comes from dairy farms upstate.

The relaxed vibe and conversational flow in the creamery belied its origin as a coffee shop, and coffee is still served. As the seasons change, Creme and Cocoa will be switching up a bit as well: offering delivery of hand-packed pints and starting to sell pastries.

The addition of baked goods will mean some made in house, some sourced from local bakery Balthazar. Just like the ice cream, baked goods will be a mix of Caribbean favorites from their past, and more continental classics. Judging from the ice cream, a follow-up trip is well advised.

You can visit Creme and Cocoa at 1067 Nostrand Ave, just down from the Sterling Street 2 and 5, in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. They’re open 1-9 pm Tuesday to Saturday, 2-6pm Sundays.


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