Published in Northern Virginia Magazine.
Pool parties and “Dexter” marathons aren’t the only ways to catch a chill this summer. Go beyond popsicles and take a global tour of summer treats.
Che Thai @ Song Que
Che Thai is an edible, slurpable treat that bears resemblance to a parfait, a McFlurry and bubble tea all at once. This Vietnamese take on a Thai dessert is a fun creation, put together from an array of ingredients including green pandan jelly, like Jello-O but firmer with a delightful snap; ebony-colored grass jelly, which is soft and lightly lavender-flavored; sweet corn pudding; red pomegranate seeds and more. Topped with crushed ice, half-and-half and a choice of fresh fruits—soft jackfruit, sweet longans, crunchy water chestnuts or juicy lychees—che Thai makes a hot afternoon bearable. Eat it with a spoon or extra-wide straw, both provided. / 6769 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church
Lucuma Ice Cream @ TropQ Creamery
TropQ makes over 50 flavors of ice cream with base ingredients sourced locally. With a focus on exotic Latin and Asian fruits, one of TropQ’s most interesting flavors comes from Peru. Look for the bright Creamsicle-like color and ask for lucuma, pronounced “LOO-koo-mah.” The fruit, a papaya look-alike, is green on the outside, but reveals a golden flesh on the inside that’s bursting with thick caramel flavors. Its rich color is due to an abundance of beta carotene, iron and other superfood powers, so naturally, you should have an extra scoop. / 721 E. Main St., Purcellville
New Zealand Classic Pavlova @ Cassatt’s Kiwi Café
It is said that when Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s, a teacake was created in her honor, resembling the gossamer petticoats the prima ballerina wore in “Swan Lake.” The Pavlova cake, with whispery layers of fresh fruit, meringue and cream, is just as light. No one knows definitively which country it originates from, and much like Russell Crowe, both countries have laid claim to it, each declaring it their national dish. / 4536 Lee Highway, Arlington
Ube @ Bistro 7107
Ube is a purple yam indigenous to Asia and popular in the Philippines. Like Prince, it sports a bold violet color that is hard to miss, and just like the provocative singer, ube isn’t afraid to bare its flesh. Similar to a sweet potato, ube’s sugar content is ideal for making desserts. At Bistro 7107, the root vegetable is blended with coconut milk, chilled and formed into ube jalaya, a vibrant, rich cake with a texture not unlike flourless chocolate cake. / 513 23rd St. S, Arlington
Firnee @ Mazadar
A traditional Persian dish usually prepared for religious and special occasions, firnee is simple custard—alabaster-white yet colorfully fragrant—made fresh with milk, cornstarch and sugar, then chilled. With spicy, citrus notes of cardamom, it’s silky and lighter than creme brulee, with the delicate crunch of crushed pistachios. / 11725 Lee Highway, Fairfax
Photo by Jonathan Timmes