‘Cassata’, Uplands: Serious Fun.

Can I invoke the same tone of mock indignation that Grayson Perry comically used in his acceptance speech of 2003?

   It’s about time a transvestite potter won the Turner Prize!  

Well, let me tell you that it is about time this neighbourhood had a revolving ice cream display case!

My low-quality mobile phone video was destined for the Instagram feed but that, plus the addition of a music track, seems beyond me.   So if you do play this little video, can I suggest appropriate tunes to hum to yourself?  The Blue Danube will invoke the elegance of the unhurriedly revolving space stations in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.  But this machine is pure fun – in fact ‘all of the fun of the fair’ – so the big tune from Carousel hits the spot for me.

Cassata cafe’s machine appeals to both sides of my brain.  I wonder at the concept of a tilting, spinning freezer and how it is realised technically (we’ll pass for now the kWatt per hour consumed by it).  And I am intrigued and beguiled that, by just rotating ice cream, you can add so much to its glamour.  Yes, I think it’s love.   It is a veritable fairground attraction; pure theatre.

I had guessed this combination of technical prowess bent towards pure gratification was probably Italian – think a bit about elaborate espresso machines.  The Italian company rightly claims that the machine ‘perfectly preserves the gelato and displays it like an emotion’.  (To emphasis this, here is their imaginative animation.)

The effect is fully enhanced by the fact that the on-board ice cream is light, fresh and very good.  I can vouch for the shop-made vanilla, coffee, fig and honey and pistachio flavours.  My middle name being moderation, all these were sampled on single-scoop visits.  I am a newcomer to pistachio flavour, won over by the natural flavour and colour at Cassata’s long-running sister branch Ripples whose theatricality lies in its attractive hidden location on the bay-side prom that is accessible only by foot or bike.  Cassata has its own in-house cabaret; find a seat in the modern, cool interior where you can watch the entering customers as they are drawn into the orbit of rotating gelati.  I have seen people doubled up in the agony of indecision, or stand dumb as if they were witnessing a glowing celestial orrery.

Georgina’s recent brave post where she confessed to her lack of enthusiasm for ice-cream reminds us how subjective food experiences can be.  I too have sat in stunned silence around a dinner party table as a good friend admitted to, not just disliking ice cream but having an aversion to it.  Learning that might be physiological cause for this is of the same order as the discovery in the modern age that being left-handed is not ‘sinister’.   If the dislike is, in fact, caused by the amount of a certain enzyme in a person’s saliva – my friend described ice cream as frozen lard – there is hope.   It may be that in the future us ice cream lovers will be averted from our indulgence; helping our waistlines, and the increasing burden on the National Health Service of obesity in the general population…

The Cassata carousel is just a part of the recent resurgence of Uplands (see the Instagram feed below) that has augmented the many existing cafes there.  The relaxed ‘meat-free’ Crumbs Kitchen is where I have learnt what authentic hash browns can be (definitely not the tasteless brown block at MacWronglds).  Not least among the welcome new comers is the Uplands Market which festively stops the traffic once a month.   Importantly these, and the others, help to increase liveliness and attraction of this old-established shopping centre.  Businesses will inevitable come and go and there will always be gripers and nay-sayers, but it is a success that no one should take away from.   Personally I hope from the bottom of my heart that that ice cream keeps on spinning well in to the future.

Cassata 33 Uplands Crescent, SA2 0NP Swansea

Crumbs Kitchen, 2 Gwydr Square, Uplands, SA2 0HD Swansea


11 thoughts on “‘Cassata’, Uplands: Serious Fun.

  1. It’s probably not surprising that I really enjoyed this post! I love the description of your reaction to your friend’s revelation that they don’t like ice cream – I can picture both your stunned silence, and the comparison to frozen lard (perfect description). And yet, next time I’m in Uplands I will definitely go in search of this revolving dessert. At least to look at the machinery.

    (By the way, I’m also left-handed…)

    • So glad you ‘liked’ the post! Your post reminded me of the ‘frozen lard’ occasion and you described the situation so well. Interesting to hear of the amylase idea for the first time. I should’ve mentioned the display has an extra trick, it rotates on a tilt, what the Italian blurb describes as an ‘excellent inclination’, something I aspire to. 🙂

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