And now to cool off …

Sweet corn ice cream
Palapa Azul brand Mexican-style sweet-corn ice cream is very strange … and strangely addictive. Photo by Robin Garr.

Aficionados of the primal fire know there’s no better antidote for that chile-pepper burn than a cooling dairy treat. Milk and cream will neutralize the capsaicins (chile oils), while beer, tea or water merely wash them around your mouth, delivering the heat to all the nooks and crannies that it hadn’t previously reached.

Once I’m on a chile high, there’s no better way to ratchet it down gently than a bowl of ice cream. And if you’re looking for a new and unusual ice cream experience, you won’t find anything much more unusual, yet seductively delicious, than the Palapa Azul brand of ice creams available at Whole Foods. Made in Los Angeles in the style of Mexican ice cream, Palapa Azul is available in four flavors: Mexican chocolate, Mexican caramel, flan and … sweet corn.

Sweet corn ice cream? What a concept! I love corn in all its forms, so, ignoring my mate’s anguished moans about unnatural food abominations, I forked over $3.89 and took home a pint.

I don’t really have that much of a sweet tooth, but this stuff is so good, I think I’m addicted. It’s creamy but shows a slightly rough texture, almost like fine stone-ground corn meal or smooth polenta. It’s not cloying sweet, but boasts the natural sweetness of corn in a wondrously subtle flavor. The first bite seems reminiscent of chilled polenta, but then, as you taste it, it evolves into something with a remarkable resemblance to fresh tiny raw nibblets of corn just sliced from the cob. And then, as you swallow the last bite, it shifts again, segueing into something reminiscent of fresh corn tortillas.

The caramel is scarily bad for you – 270 calories for a half-cup serving. The sweet corn is nuthin’ in comparison, 180 calories, only half of them from fat. I can work that off easily: Just gimme another bowl of Gào xào ca ry cay.