Hurry, hurry, step right up to an ice cream truck for all ages.
Pastry chef Natasha Goellner is best-known for Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott, a bakery specializing in elegant cakes, classic pastries and French macarons. But closing her retail location on the Country Club Plaza a year ago has allowed her to break out of the day-to-day production grind and create two new companies.
Splits & Scoops features gourmet ice cream treats and classic banana splits. Bokkie Sjokolade is a chocolate company named for a South African term of endearment for children.
And now Goellner has decided the time is right to bring all her treats under “one tent” with a new food truck she calls Cirque du Sucre — French for “Circus of Sugar.”
The 20-foot, pastel-striped truck that features an orange giraffe logo is popping up around town for various events, including The Star’s Food Truck Friday this week.
“Cirque du Sucre is a store on wheels and carries things from all three companies,” says Goellner, who co-owns the company with her mother, Vicki Goellner. “I can also use it like a delivery vehicle, or a CSA. I can do ice cream sundaes in the summer and fall, and then for Thanksgiving I could switch to pie and ice cream.”
Goellner uses a waffle iron and a plastic cone mold to make three waffle cones: blue corn for the Rancho Gordo brown sugar-popcorn ice cream; vanilla for the orange blossom with chunks of plum and strawberry ice cream; and a buckwheat cone with brown butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger for the sweet potato ice cream.
“I used to have to make a lot of little desserts that took a lot of time with the bakery. I don’t want to have to do things in 20 different stages anymore,” she says. “Plus, people are in a better mood when they are eating ice cream.”
Splits & Scoops got its start when the Goellners failed to find a classic banana split while on a date a few years ago — an experience she refers to as “the banana split ordeal.” For her, there is no clowning around with soft-serve ice cream or fancier flavors, such as the ubiquitous salted caramel. Her split requires a scoop each of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate and a sprinkling of peanuts.
“I believe certain things should not be messed with,” she says. “The whole idea was to have a banana split the way it was supposed to be.”
Goellner puts her own spin on ice cream sandwiches using her colorful French macarons to sandwich the various flavors. She also carries cookies, marshmallows and other packaged sweets from Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott on the truck.
Meanwhile, Bokkie Sjokolade, named in honor of her South African husband and their toddler daughter, is a chance to use chocolate to fill in the months when the weather turns cold and ice cream sales wane.
In addition to being the ringmaster of her own three-ring dessert circus, Goellner created the dessert menu for the Antler Room, owned by her brother Nick Goellner and sister-in-law Leslie Newsom Goellner. The restaurant opened a few weeks ago at 2506 Holmes. Chef Nick Goellner previously worked at Noma in Copenhagen, considered the world’s best restaurant.
Natasha Goellner was given free rein to create the Antler Room’s desserts, and perhaps because she was working with her brother, “My plate of desserts somehow just works with his food. It all seems to be from one person.”
Jill Silva is The Star’s James Beard award-winning food editor. She is also lead restaurant critic, Chow Town blog curator and Food Truck Friday host. Reach her on Facebook and at @kcstarfood or @chowtownkc on Twitter and @chowtownkc on Instagram.
2016’s food truck finale
Join us from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday for the last Food Truck Friday of 2016. The fun happens inside The Star’s parking lot at 17th and McGee streets. Invited trucks include Cirque du Sucre, the Waffler, Art’s BBQ, the Moose Truck, Wilma’s Real Good Food, Pip’s Burgers, Bochi, KC Pinoy, CoffeecakeKC, Fungal Fusion, El Tenedor, Ollie’s and Harvesters.