Passion of the Fruit

Jamaican folks sing the praises of Devon House, a Kingston landmark and popular purveyor of island-style ice cream. But instead of booking the next flight on Air Jamaica to the island, head for the Highway 441 strip mall that offers a remarkable facsimile. At York Castle Tropical Ice Cream (61 S. State Rd. 7, Plantation, 954-316-9600), owner Cal Headley presides over a large array of tasty tubs filled with all the fun stuff Baskin-Robbins doesn't have the guts to carry. Decorated with bright, sunny, turquoise, orange, and green walls -- as well as posters depicting every weird island fruit known to man -- York Castle is like a taste-bud travel agent. This quick Caribbean getaway provides the old guard (chocolate, vanilla, rocky road, peppermint stick, et al.) and a low-carb amaretto treat for the not-so-brave.

But for those willing to cross the Tropic of Cancer, York Castle provides the sharp tang of passion fruit, jack fruit, soursop, lychee, tamarind, pineapple, mango, and papaya. Truly unusual -- but addictive -- specialties include green tea, peanut, ginger, cinnamon, crunchy grape-nut, ginseng, black walnut, soft-scented rose, a deliciously chewy-sweet and alcoholic rum raisin, and even Guinness ice cream, which offers the faint fizziness of an ice-cream float.

York Castle's mouth-watering selection draws fans from as far away as Jupiter Inlet, Headley reports. Sometimes he recommends a popular alternative to Dairy Queen called a Jamaican Breeze: a scoop of lychee and passion fruit ice cream topped with guava and mango, toasted coconut, whipped cream, and a cherry.

Everything is made fresh; Headley (who used to run an eponymous shop in Silver Springs, Maryland) perfects his creations in a Lauderdale Lakes facility and trucks 'em down to the store. Open from 2 to 8:30 p.m. daily, York Castle Tropical Ice Cream sells one-scoop cones for $2.50 (55 cents extra for a waffle cone). Headley will pack you a pint ($5.70) while pumping you full of sample spoons to help you pick out a favorite for next time.

 
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