Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: L'Artisan des Glaces Ice Cream Shop

   We are so happy to welcome back our favorite roving reporter, Mark Diba! (aka the Dibster... or @dibadisney on twitter!)  Mark had the pleasure of visiting the latest edition to Epcot's France pavilion! 

   Do you remember the disgusting bakery that used to be in the France Pavilion at World Showcase? It was always crowded for no good reason, and I never really understood why. When it closed earlier this year, I was not optimistic about their plans to turn this space into an ice cream shop. I just assumed they would do the bare minimum and sell poor-quality ice cream at jacked-up prices, since guests would buy it no matter what. After visiting the ice cream shop this weekend, I am delighted to report that I was wrong!

The sign for L'Artisan des Glaces reflects the design of 
the ice cream shop's interior: simple but cute.

   One of my issues with the old bakery was that it felt incredibly claustrophobic inside. Guests were crammed into a central aisle, while display cases lined both sides of the bakery. Thankfully, L'Artisan des Glaces does away with this terrible design. Now only one side of the shop is dedicated to ice cream, so guests aren't packed together. A large window lets in lots of light. The pastel color scheme inside is greatly enhanced with all that wonderful light.  

The old French bakery had this same window, except they had decided to line
 the interior with fake baguettes, which blocked out most of the light.

   Like I said before, the interior of the shop is quite simple. The underlying theme is… milk. (There's even a chandelier made of empty milk bottles!) Don't worry, it's really not as tacky as it sounds. The Imagineers who designed the space made it incredibly charming. Its simplicity makes it feel much more rustic and authentic than its neighbor, Les Halles Bakery. 

Delightful milk bottles in the display cases that line the entryway

   Because it has such a refreshing theming, I would not have been mad if the shop only sold standard-quality ice cream. But their ice cream selection actually looks fantastic, and contains unique flavors that you can't get elsewhere on property. I am also impressed that they have great variety of sorbets. I can't wait to try all of them!

These are the flavors as of this month. Some ice cream and 
sorbet flavors will change seasonally.

   I really like how the shop handles customers. First, you pay for however many scoops you want. Then, you move to either of two counters where you can choose which flavors you want. In the old French bakery, since you chose your food before paying for it, there was often a holdup because indecisive guests would stop right in the middle of the line. Here, even if they get busy, it seems like they would be able to keep guests flowing through.

One of the two ice cream counters

   Finally, you can your ice cream in a cup or cone, or if you're an adult of legal drinking age, you can get it in a cocktail glass with some alcohol poured on top! You can choose between the orangey Grand Marnier brandy liqueur, the Martiniquais Rhum Clément, or the French Epic whipped cream vodka. (Note that if you want the booze, you need to get two scoops!) For my first time here, I picked the chocolate and cherry ice cream. The cast member gave me a generous pour of Grand Marnier over it. The ice cream was delectable, even on its own! The Grand Marnier paired very well with both flavors. If you're not sure what flavors to get with your alcohol, ask the cast members working there. I am sure they can recommend a pairing to you.

There is no seating in the shop itself, and it was way too hot to sit outside, so I took my 
ice cream cocktail to the bakery seating next door.

   Overall, I would say that L'Artisan des Glaces is a wonderful addition to the France Pavilion. It is certainly better than the bakery it replaced, and I think it's also better than the recently-opened Les Halles Bakery. I'm actually excited to try all of the flavors here, and I look forward to tasting any new flavors (or liqueurs!) they offer.

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