I scream. You scream. We all scream for icecream. But last week, some of these screams were shrieks of horror.
Matt O'Connor, founder of The Icecreamists on Maiden Lane in London has never shied away from the unusual and unique. This is the man who brought you the Sunday Lunch trio: a fresh pea sorbet with a hint of mint, followed by a main of beef bouillon and horseradish sorbet topped with a Yorkshire Pudding wafer and a final course of apple and blackberry crumble ice-cream (£16.99, FYI). But the mad scientist of gelato really outdid himself with the latest Icreamists invention: a new flavour containing vanilla, lemon zest and er... breast milk.
The response to the launch was phenomenal: the experimental new recipe, called 'Baby Gaga' sold out on its first day, despite the ample pricetag - £14 for three small scoops. Reactions were split, some folk were curious and intrigued, others revolted. "There is a yuck factor," admits O'Connor. "But if you think about it, cow's milk is far more unnatural."
Despite assurance from O'Connor that the breast milk used in the confection has been subject to the same stringest tests as blood or donor breast milk, it seems the ice-cream entrepreneur has made a boob: the health and safety brigade has pulled the new flavour, claiming it could be dangerous.
"Following two complaints from members of the public and concerns from the Health Protection Agency and Food Standards Agency, Westminster Council officers visited the premises on Friday and removed all ice cream being sold as containing breast milk," says Westminster Councillor Brian Connell.
"The business owner has agreed to stop producing and selling the ice cream while it is tested. Selling foodstuffs made from another person's bodily fluids can lead to viruses being passed on and in this case, potentially hepatitis. As the local authority we will support small businesses and applaud innovative ideas wherever possible, but we must protect the health of consumers."
The Smarta team were crying likes babies at this news.
Nevertheless, the ban can only increase the mileage on this story. And there's little doubt that Baby Gaga was created (in the main) to milk the PR machine as the British public, gluttonous for novelty, suckles at the teat of the avante-garde.
Too many puns? Oh well. We'll keep you abreast of the story as it unfolds.