Charleston Farmers Market returns with more bread, new ice cream

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When the words “ice cream” are tucked between “artisan” and “sandwich,” eaters can almost always count on a cookie. At Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, the best-known chain of frozen treat shops stressing quality ingredients, the sandwiches are made with oatmeal cookies and macarons.

“It dawned on me that no one was doing the traditional sandwich,” says Brandon Belk, owner of Wich Cream, a new company bookending its ice cream with brownie wafers that measure three-inches square. “I wanted to evoke nostalgia.”

Wich Cream last season got too late of a start to make the cut for the Charleston Farmers Market, but this year joins the roster as the market’s only brand new vendor. Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery, which last appeared at the market in 2009, is returning to the lineup; the bakery plans to alternate Saturdays with EVO Craft Bakery, ensuring a supply of fresh bread for shoppers.

Although Belk studied pastry in culinary school, he planned to stick to the savory side of the kitchen: He’s currently working at The Grocery. But he liked the idea of turning local products, such as beer and strawberries, into ice cream. His four-year-old son was equally enthusiastic.

“He gets excited when I turn on the ice cream machine,” Belk says.

The current flavor lineup includes banana, mint chocolate chip, peanut butter, mocha and vanilla, possibly the best-selling menu item. Sandwiches are priced at $4.

To ensure the right consistency for the all-important brownie, Belk came up with a lower-gluten pastry flour.

“It’s soft, but without leaving cake on your fingers or losing its integrity,” he says.

The Charleston Farmers Market opens tomorrow for the 2015 season (although Wich Cream doesn’t arrive until next week.)Located in Marion Square, the market is held Saturdays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., with extra Sunday dates during Piccolo Spoleto and December. To learn more, visit charlestonfarmersmarket.org.