This is actually not the first time I’ve written about Midori Handmade Ice Cream – I reviewed their Yuanshan shop about a year ago. But I figured Taipei could use a little reminder of this lovely little business, which was founded on a mission to promote local, organic farming. Midori’s Xinyi shop also has the special distinction of being located inside of a local historical monument: 44 South Village.
First, a little history lesson. China’s nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) party was the reigning government in China when the Communist Party emerged in the 1920s. Civil war erupted as the two parties fought for control, interrupted only briefly when the two parties fought the Japanese together. Finally, in 1949, KMT leader Chiang Kai-Shek evacuated about 2 million people (mostly government and military) to Taiwan, where they settled in military villages. Forty-four South Village is one of these – the first one, in fact, established in 1948.
The military villages were originally intended as temporary housing while the KMT prepared to return to China and resume the fight against the Communists. This return never happened, however, and temporary housing became a permanent settlement. Conditions were crowded and resources were inadequate, and most of these villages were eventually demolished. However, some have been preserved as important cultural resources. Forty-Four South Village now enjoys a new life as a miniature culture park where you can browse a museum and learn about the unique culture of the military villages, take selfies with the quaint tile-roofed bungalows and their charming flower baskets, shop for local handmade souvenirs and specialty foods at a small market, and…eat local handmade ice cream!
Still with me? Good. Let’s eat some ice cream.
天然 在地 友善
Natural. Local. Friendly.
Ice cream that defends the environment.
Using local fruits and teas, we create flavourful ice cream that can express our passion without the need for words. We apply biocontrol farming methods to increase the yield of small farms and support local small farms through the development of our ice cream. We create ice cream that reflects changes in season and climate, letting you taste local produce and seasonal fruit.
This is their mission statement as stated on their Facebook page. I think it’s right in line with this blog!
Midori has some standard flavours that are always available, like matcha and blueberry yogurt. Others, particularly local fruit flavours like lychee and mulberry, will change depending on the season. They also rotate through different types of Taiwanese tea. Today they had a Sun Moon Lake black tea (front, centre).
They also had pineapple milk, chocolate kumquat, strawberry milk, local mulberry, fresh milk and mango. According to the staff, all of these are ice creams, not sorbets – they all contain dairy.
When I came here in January, the staff were very obliging with the free samples – I think I actually tried every flavour before I finally settled on my chocolate kumquat ice cream. But when I went back again last week, they had changed their tune – no samples allowed. It may have been because the tiny shop was packed with people and they wanted everyone to choose quickly and move on, but maybe it’s a permanent policy change – I didn’t think to ask.
Chocolate kumquat ice cream, NT$80. This ice cream was almost great…almost. Kumquats are an often-overlooked local treasure – exquisite little flavour bombs that condense the sunshine-y flavour of an entire orange orchard into a cute bite-sized morsel. I was thrilled to see someone finally apply them to ice cream, and I thought their intense zestiness would complement the chocolate wonderfully. But after the first few bites, I started to suspect that the chocolate was the cheap bulk kind. It had an artificial aftertaste that put me off. It was also a little too sweet. Pity.
The matcha ice cream (NT$90) was much better – earthy and bitter, just enough sugar to balance the flavours, with a slightly grainy texture that seems to be a bit of a signature style. I think they grind their own tea leaves rather than buying factory-ground commercial matcha, so it’s a little on the coarse side.
Last week I came back for the oolong tea ice cream (NT$90). This is one of their bestsellers. Like the matcha, the oolong tea ice cream has a slightly grainy texture from the finely ground tea leaves they use. It’s not a texture everyone would love, but it’s got a kind of rustic charm, and I appreciate its distinctiveness – you won’t forget this ice cream. The flavour is strong and satisfying – it tastes just like a classic Taiwanese oolong milk tea.
Here’s one of the coolest things about 44 South Village: it’s literally right at the foot of Taipei 101. It’s a little surreal sitting in the midst of these crumbling old bungalows, representing Taiwan’s military history, with the most famous symbol of modern Taiwan towering over its traditional tile rooftops. If you want to eat uniquely Taiwanese ice cream in a uniquely Taiwanese setting, Midori Xinyi is definitely the place to come! Is it the best handmade ice cream in Taipei? Well, no. But it’s not bad, and it’s definitely the best location in town. This is one of the places I like to bring friends when they come to visit from abroad.
蜜朵麗專業冰淇淋(信義店)｜Midori Professional Ice Cream (Xinyi Location)
時間: 週二~週五11:00~17:00; 週六、日11:00~18:00; 週一公休
Address: No. 54-C, Songqin Street, Xinyi District, Taipei City (44 South Village)
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11:00~17:00; Saturday & Sunday 11:00~18:00; Closed Monday
MRT: Taipei 101/World Trade Center Station