by Eric Barton | September 20, 2018

The Spread: Mais Oui!

One man recreates the luxe crème glacèe desserts brought to America from Paris by Thomas Jefferson and now served in high style at Bar Crème in Miami


When Thom Ziegenhardt began dreaming up a new ice cream parlor concept four years ago, he pictured his parlor as something more refined, an antidote to the frozen yogurt shops and kid-focused sprinkle palaces on every corner. He started with Google. His search turned up something surprising: ice cream got its start in America thanks, in part, to Thomas Jefferson.

While Jefferson didn’t invent the stuff, he did help popularize it. After living in Paris for five years, Jefferson returned to the U.S. in 1789 with an appreciation for ice cream–based desserts. He’d later serve them to guests at the White House, then known simply as the President’s House.

Bar Crème burnt honey and lavender sundae; Photography by Libby Volgyes

As Ziegenhardt discovered, Jefferson dished up scoops of vanilla frozen custard on a hot pastry. The dessert could then be ladled with sauces, topped with spiced nuts and finished with dried fruits.

After he finished his research, Ziegenhardt developed a shop called Bar Crème, which he plans to open this fall in Miami-Dade’s Aventura Mall. He and the shop’s owner Omar Mazzei anticipate opening five to 10 locations of Bar Crème across South Florida before going national.

The place has a Jefferson-era feel, with French oak millwork, Calcutta marble and antique satin brass. Visitors can also indulge in imagining Jefferson spooning his way to the bottom of the same desserts.


Serves 1
  • Freshly made Liege waffle
  • Large scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • Bar Crème burnt honey lavender sauce
  • Whipped cream
  • Toasted almonds
  • Fresh lavender petals
  • 2 mini stroopwafels to garnish

PREPARATION: Center a warm Liege waffle on a plate and top with vanilla ice cream. Ladle warmed burnt honey lavender sauce over the ice cream and top with whipped cream. Lightly sprinkle sundae with toasted almonds and fresh lavender petals. Garnish sundae with 2 mini stroopwafels and enjoy!

Bar Crème Burnt Honey Lavender Sauce

  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ cup raw sugar
  • ¼ cup dried lavender petals
  • ¼ cup organic wildflower honey
  • 2 cups organic heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon French fleur de sel
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • Beet juice for color (optional)

PREPARATION: Pour honey into a large saucepan and warm over medium heat until golden brown. Add warm water and dried lavender and whisk until honey has been dissolved into the water. Continue cooking for about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and strain out lavender petals. Return liquid to saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk in cream, bring to a soft boil and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in salt and fresh lemon juice to help cut sweetness. Add lemon juice to taste a bit at a time, taking care not to turn the mixture tart. If using, add beet juice in small amounts until sauce attains preferred color.

Treat yourself to Bar Creme Smashed Strawberry Float