[image-1] The word surcee (sometimes spelled cercie, surcie, circie, or sirsee) means a small token or gift, and that’s exactly what Kelly Chu, co-owner of Red Orchids and Aya Cookhouse, has given Charleston with the launch of her new Cirsea ice cream. 

For years Chu has been surprising guests with a slate of unique scoops not often found in a Chinese restaurant. We first wrote about them in 2012 when we discovered her flavors like green tea, jasmine tea, coconut, sweet-and-spicy cayenne, and lychee. Now Kelly’s finally answered customer demand and launched her own ice cream brand. “This has been in the works for many years,” Kelly said last night at the Cirsea launch. 

With branding by Fuzzco and an ice sculpture to boot, Kelly and her husband Tony introduced guests to her inaugural batch of flavors. On the list: strawberry, cinnamon (sweetened by a custard base), vanilla black pepper, bourbon caramel, and, my personal favorite, toasted black sesame. Pro tip: The latter would make an excellent entremets mid meal. 

The couple is currently hand crafting all their inventory in between working at both of their restaurants, but plan to have the ice cream available for order starting in October. Containers whole sale for $40 for 1.3 gallon, and custom flavors can also be created. 

Until then, eager taste testers can grab a bite at either Aya or Red Orchids in addition to Creekside Kitchen and Corner House Cafe in Summerville. And stay tuned for updates on Twitter and Instagram @cirseaicecream