The photograph evokes the decadent pleasure of biting into an icy confection on a dusty summer afternoon; and, also, the simple joy the ice cream man can bring, as a peddler of indulgences.
La Cocina de Luz owner Lucas Price, the passionate, creative force behind one of Telluride’s most popular eating establishments, now has a new title to add to his resume: Ice cream man.
Price recently added hand-made, all-natural ice cream and gelato to the La Cocina menu, bringing the same inspired flourish to these new confections as he’s become renowned for in the rest of his menu. And like the rest of his menu, which blends traditional Mexican food themes with his own inventive details, Lucas’ new selection of ice cream blends the time-honored with the novel. There’s the conventional chocolate, vanilla, and cookies and cream; but it’s Dagoba Dark Chocolate, Vegan Vanilla Coconut, and Cookies and Cream with organic Newman O’s. Then there are the downright originals, like his gelato flavored with passion fruit, blood orange, and guava; or his specialty goat milk ice cream, embellished with a swirl of gajeta (goat milk caramel) and toasted piñon nuts.
“It has re-inspired me, really. I’ve found a lot more enthusiasm in general,” Lucas said this week of his new adventure in ice cream, which represents a completion of the dining experience at this Telluride institution.
Lucas attended the touted Ice Cream University in Florida, where he learned the art of ice cream making from ice cream guru Malcolm Stogo, owner of the New York ice cream dynasty Ice Cream Extravaganza and inventor of the chocolate dipped waffle cone.
Following the path he’s set for himself as a purveyor of “food with a conscience” (nearly everything on La Cocina’s menu is sustainably sourced, organic, or from a local farm), Lucas has created his ice cream recipes in the same vein.
“All along my goal here has been to serve food that is sustainable, affordable, good for the human body, and that tastes good. This is a continuation of that path of providing minimally processed foods that aren’t so bad for you,” Lucas says of his new ice cream, which features all-natural ingredients like organic milk, cream, and evaporated cane juice; free-range eggs; and fruit from nearby farms.
Lucas has also made an effort to cater to the lactose-intolerant and vegan crowd with ice-cream creations made of non-dairy alternatives like coconut milk, and easier-to-digest options like goat milk. He’s also experimenting with alternative sweeteners, like agave and stevia, as well as flavorings made from essential oils.
“I’m hoping to round out the culinary landscape of Telluride,” Lucas says of his new venture, which he says has been inspired by the textures and flavors of ice cream the way it used to be made – by his great grandmother, at family get-togethers in the summer where he and his cousins would take turns cranking the churn.
“Ice cream can be so good when it’s done right,” he says. And La Cocina’s ice cream is done right.
Pending Town Council approval, Lucas plans to station an ice cream cart in the courtyard adjacent to the restaurant (in the space previously occupied by the Coffee Cowboy). “I think it would create a really lovely courtyard scene in the summer, with ice cream in one corner and coffee in the other,” he says.