One of Finn & Quinn’s most popular flavors, Roasted Banana.
One of Finn & Quinn’s most popular flavors, Roasted Banana.

Cool treats for summer

Finn & Quinn brings artisan ice cream to Savannah

Last week brought the first day of spring and a stereotypical Savannah summer heat wave with it. As all good Savannahians know, cool treats in the summer months are the key to beating the heat in the southeast’s outdoor sauna — the Low Country. From homemade thrill pops on your bicycle to braving long lines downtown for some creamy relief, locals know every trick in the book when it comes to swatting the steamy weather while tickling our sweet tooth.

However, in the last few years, Savannah has become much more focused on locally-owned and operated eateries, and the market for “the place where the locals go” for delicious dog-day delights has been kind of bleak. Fortunately for us, the trials and tribulations that went along with COVID-19 and the citywide shutdown — and the boredom that ensued for many — had a drastic impact on the ways that some of our crafty and talented neighbors have spent their time.

Like so many others over the last year, Monique Silen was searching for a way to cope with the changing world. Her search resulted in the discovery of a new passion; for Silen, the passion she discovered was her love for frozen cream. She told me, “The end of last year, I bought an ice cream machine and I just got really curious and interested in ice cream. I thought it would be really fun to make homemade ice cream.”

Silen said it all really started with her thinking it would be great if Savannah had a small batch ice cream place; a place people can get a good quality ice cream, “ ... local, of course.”

click to enlarge Cool treats for summer
Photo by Lindy Moody
Shop the small batch specialty ice cream at 5002 Paulsen St.
The result of her work during the last year was her new artisan ice cream brand: Finn & Quinn. Silen rolled out the red carpet to her new business about a month ago almost as if an omen to the upcoming sweltering and sticky six-month Savannah summer.

Silen’s very first cream experimentation was classic vanilla bean. After getting comfortable with her craft, and receiving approval from her friend taste testers, she branched out into one of her most popular flavors: Roasted Banana. The flavor pays homage to her roots, “I am originally from Panama, Central America. I would say that growing up there, there are I don’t know how many ice cream shops and flavors that you can get. That always was in the back of my mind.”

“The end of last year, I bought an ice cream machine and I just got really curious and interested in ice cream. I thought it would be really fun to make homemade ice cream.” — Monique Silen, owner

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By roasting the bananas, which caramelizes the fruit’s natural sugars, Silen is able to intensify the flavor of the fruit. The second thing adding such a buttery fruit to ice cream does is make it even creamier than it would be with just milk. The result is a densely flavored and velvet smooth ripe banana ice cream. “With the roasted banana, I wanted to make sure it was not extremely overpoweringly sweet. I wanted you to taste the banana but still have the background notes of cream and fresh milk,” Silen says.

At any given time, Finn & Quinn carries four to five variations of ice cream. The brand is a small batch, which means smaller quantities with higher quality. Two house standards, a vegan option, and unique or new flavor always grace the rotating ice cream menu.

Every single pint is made simply and with straightforward ingredients. There are no preservative or unnecessary additives. You will taste only what you are supposed to with ice cream: milk, sugar, and some natural flavorings. Egg yolks are what lend the extra creamy texture to Finn & Qinn’s cream. According to Silen, “I want you to taste the freshness of the cream. The whole idea was to taste the ice cream and say, ‘Oh! I can tell this is homemade.’ I do not add any additives or any sort of emulsifiers to make it last.”

The Chocolate Brownie is another signature and steady flavor of Finn & Quinn. What is better than a homemade brownie? A homemade brownie paired with refreshing cold ice cream. That is the concept behind Silen’s creation, she explained.

“For the brownie I wanted to use a really good quality chocolate. That was my whole thing. Who doesn’t love chocolate? As far as brownies, I already had a recipe for a good brownie that we make. Just like all of my recipes, I wanted to make sure you taste the flavor and it is not an extreme sweetness.”

It was no small feat to come up with a vegan option, Silen says, “I did so many tests. Vegan ice cream is hard. I remember I just kept playing with it, tweaking stuff, and changing things here and there. I was making very classic ones, chocolate, and I made a strawberry one. From that I would take what people liked the most.” The base of her vegan ice cream is created with a handmade cashew milk and coconut milk. Currently her go to available vegan flavor is Perc Coffee. The past has included vegan options like Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Flakes.

The rotating ice cream flavor is where Silen gets creative. Just this past week she introduced a brand new limited flavor—Cookie Dough. Previous limited and/or one-time pint options have included Hale Tea Matcha and Salted Caramel.

A small ice cream freezer and attendance at pop-up events around Savannah is only the start for Finn & Quinn. As Silen continues to develop her ice cream repertoire, she also is working towards her ultimate dream of a brick-and-mortar, small-batch local ice cream destination. Until then, stop by Kayak Kafe to grab a pint to go, or scoop after a meal. Each scoop gets Finn & Quinn that much closer to becoming Savannah’s newest top ice cream parlor.

Currently, you can shop the small batch specialty ice cream at 5002 Paulsen St.

For the most up-to-date flavors and where to find Finn & Quinn, visit instagram at @finnquinnicecream.

Lindy Moody

A true Southerner through and through, Lindy Moody was born in the Atlanta area and grew up in a Southern family where she learned to cook - and more importantly how to eat. Her love for all things cuisine began with her mother teaching her to bake red velvet cake every Christmas. As every Southerner knows, holiday...
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