The Ice Cream Files: Stikki Nikki

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So, it’s been almost a year since I’ve done one of these posts.  I’m pretty ashamed of that fact.  Don’t worry, though; it’s not because I haven’t been eating ice cream all year.  On the contrary, I’ve eaten quite a bit of ice cream this year…it’s just that I haven’t stumbled upon many ice cream shops that were truly special enough to be worth writing about.  There  isn’t much of a craft ice cream culture in Turkey, which was not what I had expected before moving here.  The ice cream is all good (I mean, how could it be bad?  I’ts ice cream…), but pretty much every ice cream shop is exactly the same and has exactly the same flavors and same textures (at least from what I’ve seen so far), so my ice cream blogging has been on quite a long hiatus.

And then came Stockholm.  On our way to Drop Coffee, we found this little gem of a shop that was boasting all organic homemade ice cream, so there was no way I was just going to walk by without getting some.  It turned out to be some of the best ice cream I’ve had in a long time!  Here’s the breakdown of my experience:

Taste/Quality:  5/5

You can tell that this ice cream is made with a lot of love.  The organic flavors really, really came through.  It was so fresh and so perfect.  I’m still dreaming about the Lemon Basil…

Variety:  4/5

I’m really hesitant to rate this one because I was only there for one day and I’m pretty sure they rotate flavors.  There weren’t a ton of choices compared to other ice cream shops, but I am generally in favor of quality over quantity, which was definitely the case here.  They only had a few flavors available, but they were all interesting (like Lemon Basil and Coffee Cardamom) and delicious and they always seem to include vegan options, which is a huge plus.

Atmosphere: 3/5

It was a cute shop, but it was really tiny and much more of a to-go place than a sit-down area.

Price: 5/5

5 Euros for 2 enormous scoops of delicious ice cream?  Yes, please!

Wow Factor: 5/5

The vegan Peanut Butter and Lemon Basil ice cream blew my mind!  I never imagined that lemon and basil could go together well as an ice cream flavor, but I thought it was pretty incredible.

Overall Score:  4.4

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Look how happy I am!

Make sure to stop by if you ever visit Stockholm!  And definitely don’t skip the coffee afterward either…I’m pretty sure ice cream and coffee are my favorite combo ever.

A City Break in Stockholm

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After making the mistake of trying to work myself to death the first semester I was here, I have been a lot more diligent about seeking out travel opportunities as often as possible.  At first, I thought trying to go outside the country for just a weekend would be too overwhelming, but after a few successful weekend trips in Turkey, I thought it was time to give it a try somewhere.  I decided to let Skyscanner make the decision for me and, lo and behold, round trip tickets to Stockholm were less than $100 each.  It was time to make some plans.

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If I had to summarize Stockholm in a few words, I would describe it as lively, happy, and…expensive (which is why a weekend was the perfect amount of time to be there).  But still…there was something about that city that just could not get me down.  It didn’t matter that we had had the worst flight ever (screaming/kicking/hair-pulling toddler on a red-eye flight that was delayed two hours), or that the weather was crazy unpredictable (sun, rain, snow, and wind all on the same day) –everything about the city was just so charming and vibrant and everyone we met was super friendly.  There was even an enormous rainbow over the city for half the day.  I’m just sayin’.

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We didn’t make any specific plans-partly due to the fact that we had read that the weather was supposed to be awful while we were there-but we were pleasantly surprised when we woke up to a sunny day that wasn’t too terribly cold.  We started off by having breakfast at a nearby cafe.  I didn’t realize how much I had missed cafes.  They have them in Turkey, but they don’t have the same vibe as my idea of a cafe.  After breakfast, we wandered through the streets of the old part of the city, taking in the beautiful architecture and views of the water.

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MY DREAM HOUSE.

One of the highlights of the day for me was running into a Sci-Fi bookstore.  This place was nerd paradise.  They had every Sci-Fi title one could possibly dream of; tons of manga, comics, and anime; video games; obscure nerdy board games…basically all of the things on my ultimate Christmas wishlist.  I’ve been a little out of touch with  my inner nerd lately since I’ve been either working or traveling for most of the year, but it got me excited for summer when I may actually be able to invest some time into such things.

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Another highlight was the food and coffee scene.  Anymore, we’re pretty much excited to run into anything that isn’t Turkish food…not that I don’t love Turkish food, but it’s hard to find anything that isn’t Turkish food in Turkey and it gets a little old after awhile.  We stopped by lots of little candy and pastry shops to sample little goodies here and there.  We also went to Drop Coffee, one of the few things we had actually planned prior to the trip and it did not disappoint.  It was a tiny shop, but they were very dedicated to the quality of the coffee they made and it was incredible.  We decided on Kenya and El Salvador roasts.

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Our last agenda item of the day was catching a concert, something we both love to do, but haven’t done since we left the States.  We watched Sunset Sons, an indie band from the UK/Australia.  It was a ton of fun and the perfect way to end our day!  When we were walking back to our boatel (yes, we stayed on a boat again...), there was a thin layer of snow on the ground.  Talk about crazy weather.

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We got up Sunday morning ready to head back to the airport.  It was a very short visit, but it was a good one and walked away feeling refreshed and ready for another crazy work week.  Even the plane ride home was pleasant.  We met a woman from Stockholm who happened to have a house in Turkey and was flying in to do some work on it.  We exchanged emails and will hopefully connect in either Sweden or Turkey again someday! Making friends on the road is the best.

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I’m thinking these whirlwind weekends are going to have to happen a little more often. Also, this is definitely not the last of Sweden for me – it’s such a beautiful, friendly place with such a thriving art and music scene! I can’t wait to explore it again sometime.