Soft-serve Seoul: Con Dorothy
Among the titans fighting for dominance in Seoul, one brand holds the reins to what might be the most impeccable spot to build its presence. If locations were a game of poker, Con Dorothy holds the royal flush. Its fantastic location at Sinnonhyeon Station is near one of the four major exits to Gangnam’s bustling main street, not far from the nation’s biggest bookstore. That means a lot of hungry eyes devouring the inviting Con Dorothy menu — including mine.
When I visited, I went straight for the Tim Tam flavor. It may have been my past life as an Australian kicking in, but if we’re being honest, it was more likely because Tim Tam was boldly highlighted with the word “BEST!” in bright red letters. That small, cute star glued up next to the words spoke volumes. I was ready to make my order, but then the authoritative words of Con Dorothy’s cofounder Kim Gi-hui bulldozed over me: “Make her the grapefruit flavor.”
The founders of Con Dorothy don’t take the soft-serve business too seriously. On the contrary — they take it just seriously enough. “We had already made a name for ourselves with handmade cookies and cakes in our café. Soft-serve ice cream was added after we noticed consumers were pursuing it elsewhere.”
Con Dorothy exists within the larger company Café Dorothy, one of the few cafés in Gangnam where an evening in with coffee and cake is enhanced by a live musician or two. The location and public persona gave it the perfect position to springboard into the soft-serve action, and with a hot summer looming ahead, Dorothy has zoomed forward with a slew of unique flavors and an ongoing commitment to quality.
“We use toppings made of only organic ingredients,” Kim said. “I understand other brands use powdered yogurt, but we do not — our yogurt is made of pure, organic milk. We try our best not to use chemical elements in our ice cream as well.” Consumers are trying to suss out the brands that are all-organic, but taste is just as important.
As my palate discovered, taste and health can coincide just beautifully. The tart juice of the grapefruit paired with smooth, milky yogurt is just one of many combinations that uphold this newfound dedication to flavor. I’m not usually much of a fan of fruit and yogurt together, but when it’s done well it makes me wonder if perhaps these well-being trendsters may be on to something. Mr. Kim certainly is.