Gaelic ice cream – blas an fhìdhle?

by May 1, 2013

At a time when spring is only teasing us with a few warm days in Halifax, Farmer’s Dairy has released some new ice cream flavours for summer 2013. The names of the flavours are inspired by distinctive cultural, culinary, and natural features of Atlantic Canada.

Gu nàdurra, the first one that grabbed my attention was “Fiddler’s Reel Brownie” – a “blend of ooey-gooey fudge brownies and thick marshmallow swirl, wrapped in a rich chocolate ice cream. A reel treat for taste buds” according to the Farmer’s website (groan). We taste-tested it yesterday and it’s blasda gu dearbh – tasty indeed.


Fiddler's Reel Brownie Ice Cream

Fiddler’s Reel Brownie Ice Cream


The name of the flavour reminded me not only of the fiddle tune, but also of the short Gaelic film “The Fiddler’s Reel/Ruidhl’ an Fhìdhleir” filmed in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (2011). It was written and directed by Marc Almon (whose website presents a short clip), and it features an all Gaelic-speaking Canadian cast.  One of the actors, Angus MacLeod, has written a blog post about the film. There’s also an interview with the writer-director Marc Almon here.

Have you seen it yet? Check out their Facebook page for information on screenings!

Thinking about the film “Fiddler’s Reel”, and our Gaelic culture in Nova Scotia, I got to wondering what it would be like if this ice cream had a trilingual label in English, French, and Gaelic?


Fiddler's Reel Brownie ice cream with a Gaelic label

Fiddler’s Reel Brownie ice cream with a Photoshopped trilingual English-French-Gaelic label


It’s a dream of mine – an aisling of sorts – to see something like that. So I made a fantasy label showing what it might look like. The package might need to be bigger to fit all the words — but then again, who ever complained about having more ice cream?

The fiddler is saying “Cho blasda ri port!”, in other words proclaiming that this particular flavour is “As tasty as a tune!” Anyone who’s ever enjoyed some tasty tunes from Cape Breton will understand this metaphor, which came originally from the Gaelic language.

If you want to learn more about it, researcher Tiber Falzett explores the special relationship in Gaelic culture between music and taste-related metaphors in his work.

For more on Gaelic in Nova Scotia and Scotland, subscribe to my blog through the link below or the pop-up window! Tapadh leibh!

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