Ice cream: a love story

Leslie Silverman

While technically summer has not yet begun, my quest to try not to eat ice cream every day has already begun. This is a very difficult challenge for me. I admit...I am an addict.

I also live in a tiny tourist town with, like, a gazillion ice cream shops. I am also an ice cream snob. During the height of the zombie apocalypse when I needed a fix of my usual, chocolate ice cream in a dish with rainbow sprinkles, it was about 6 p.m. on a Saturday.

My absolute favorite make their own batch ice cream place was not open (sigh, if you’re reading this please change your hours so people like me can get ice cream after dinner). I was in the big city and I heard the “best” ice cream in town could be found at a place I will refer to as “turtles.” I figured that I had to have the best, so I went and checked it out.

OK people...if all you serve is soft serve ice cream you cannot have the best ice cream. It’s impossible! Soft serve ice cream is like the Lipton of tea. Or like wine in a box. Or instant coffee. Sigh. I ended up trying it. And no it wasn’t even remotely the best ice cream I had ever had. In fact, it was probably the worst!

I once lived in a desert town that didn’t understand what ice cream was. You could get imposter high priced stuff called gelato everywhere, but ice cream was nearly impossible to find. I moved shortly after I arrived. Any place sans ice cream was not somewhere I could call home.

I lived in New England for a bit. A short motorcycle ride away from my house was this place called Kimball Farms (it’s actual name). It was like rainbows and unicorns for me all rolled into one. They made their own ice cream and you could play mini golf there. This is the definition of summer in my opinion! Their portions were huge. Even a child’s size was more than an average person could enjoy.

I also lived in Minnesota for a bit. The cities had numerous ice cream shops vying for my money. Nelsons (also its real name) was my July 4 favorite. Lines snaked out the door to this tiny shop that boasted what seemed like endless flavor options.

By far, though, my favorite ice cream shop was in Saint Paul, next to my favorite burger place. Burgers and ice cream and summer go together like peanut butter and jelly. I think I gained 10 pounds each time I walked down that block!

I had heard the dead president’s have the best ice cream. I know their vanilla is the recipe Thomas Jefferson himself invented, or so the story goes. But I was also told my favorite flavor is only available in winter and for me, ice cream is a must have summer treat.

Well….the zombie apocalypse was good for my palette because when I went to visit the heads on Memorial Day weekend I noticed many a person walking around with chocolate ice cream. In disbelief, I cautiously approached the ice cream counter, preparing for disappointment as I placed my order. “I’d like a single scoop of chocolate ice cream please, “I said timidly. The counter person donned the scooper. Smiled. “So it’s not a winter flavor this year?” I asked. She said, “We have a supply left over due to COVID.”  Score! Thank you COVID for letting my taste buds try the wonderful chocolaty goodness of presidential flavors!

Now that tourist season is upon us, the best ice cream shop in the big city has opened. They are my Sunday ice cream joint place. They always have my flavor and they also can take my favorite cookie, the chocolate chip, and sandwich their ice cream in between it. This is not short of heaven for an addict like me.

I discovered what is by far my favorite ice cream shop in the Hills after I hiked the Flume Trail. It was a short drive from where the trail ended in Coon Hollow to the homemade ice cream paradise I will call “Dream”. This place knows what they are doing when it comes to ice cream. I cannot pass this place without stopping and it never disappoints. Their chocolate ice cream is super dark in color and its flavor is as rich as Warren Buffet’s pockets. I enjoy their spoons as well, which are not the almost cut your teeth plastic types but rather a wooden product of some sort.

I notice this, like the metal straw, is a new trend in sophisticated ice cream parlors.

No matter what your flavor, ice cream is a great summer treat you can enjoy even while social distancing. We are so lucky to have so many ice cream choices in such a geographically small location. And many of these shops are tourist- season-only operations. So enjoy buying local and watching your waistline explode while licking your favorite cool flavor of the best dessert in the world: ice cream!

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