Chow Time: Luxe Ice Cream for Anytime of the Year

It maybe getting cooler… but artisanal ice cream is the perfect dessert year-round.  And as my close friends know, I never considered myself a lover of ice cream even in the summer. I’m generally a warm food person and will take a slice of chocolate cake right out of the oven over a bowl of ice cream any day. But recently my indifference for ice cream has morphed into pure passion. How did this happen? I have a handful of skilled and incredibly talented ice cream makers to thank.

Jeni’s – Columbus, Ohio

My good friend Natasha introduced me to Jeni’s and the unconventional flavors available with artisanal ice cream. Up until my Jeni’s experience in 2010, I didn’t realize you could put sea salt, cayenne, chili, pepitas, olive oil, or curry in ice cream.

Don’t turn up your nose to savory flavors in your dessert until you give Jeni’s a try. You’ll find yourself wondering why you hadn’t thought of it yourself!

My favorite flavors: Bangkok peanut pint & Wildberry Lavender Pint

Where to buy: Grocery stores, speciality shops, and online

Batch – Jamaica Plain, Ma

Milk, cream, egg yolks,  sea salt, and cane sugar are the primary ingredients to this to-die-for ice cream by Batch. Every spoonful envelopes your tongue and explodes with taste and with flavors like ginger, salted caramel, and  cinnamon with chocolate bits, why would you ever go back to the mass produced stuff again.

The owners, Susie & Veronica, pride themselves on using “real ingredients,” many of which are local or Fair Trade. You’ll never see the likes of guar gum, corn syrup, extracts, or  flavorings, but you will taste real cinnamon, vanilla beans and  their own handmade caramel.

My favorite flavors: Salted caramel & Green Tea

Where to buy:  Grocery stores & speciality stores in Massachusetts

Graeters – Cincinnati, Ohio

A family friend and ice cream connoisseur said Graeter’s makes the best ice cream he’d ever tasted. The best ice cream? Yes. I was told that the 140-year-old American company produces the crème de la crème of frozen decadence. Well, who could resist such a recommendation?

CEO Rich Graeter (a descendant of the founder) explained what makes his ice cream unique is the process.  The company makes all its ice cream in small 2-gallon batches using a French Pot process that was used by the founding Graeters. The result is a richer, creamier ice cream.

My favorite flavors: Pumpkin (seasonal), Black raspberry chip, and Coconut Chip

Where to buy: Grocery stores, speciality shops, online

Ici Ice Cream – Berkeley, CA

I’ll admit that I’ve never tasted Ici (pronouced ee cee) Ice Cream, but it has been on my radar for some time. One of the Co-founders, Mary Canales, was the pastry chef at Chez Panisse 9 years ago and has brought that creativity energy with her, producing flavors like Early Grey, Chicory Whiskey, and Honey Basil…

Flavors I’d love to try: Darjeeling – cardamon, candied meyer lemon,  & rhubarb-rose sorbet

Where to buy: In-store only but online coming soon

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