When I get asked what my biggest vice is, I invariably answer ice cream. My love for ice cream has been consistent and religious, and when it comes to the eating of it I am a thoroughbred. It’s the one food I feel I could eat competitively. One time I went and got ice cream at Owen Park in Eau Claire, WI. I was there with my friends Aaron, Anne-Marie, and Elizabeth for Tuesday Night Blues. Every Tuesday there would be this stall to the right of the amphitheater where a family would sell the most amazing homemade ice cream. I always got the maximum number of scoops, and this particular evening was no exception; we sat down and listened to Bluesy renditions of “Layla” and other classic rock songs, and after a few minutes Aaron remarked with astonishment “Bro, you’re lapping me right now”. This was no small feat. Aaron is the strongest eater I know, and also the most competitive. I for one definitely have a sweet tooth, and I’ve found that I can always make room for ice cream after a large meal. My American roommates, on the other hand, much prefer savory food products. Aaron told me that growing up, his mom seldom made desserts, and instead he and his siblings were instilled with a love of meats, vegetables and carbs. Both he and his fiancée Anne-Marie would much prefer something like a pizza, a pretzel, or some deep-fried cheese curds for their Last Meal. Whereas if I were about to face a firing squad, I know in my heart that I would demand an ice cream sundae…or a cheesecake with a scoop of ice cream on top…or perhaps a cheesecake with an ice cream sundae on top.
Anyway, in order to commemorate my love of ice cream, I thought I would do a short post celebrating some of my favorite flavors. Make no mistake; this article is a love letter.
5. Birthday Cake
Kicking off this crazy list we’ve got the flavor that made me conscious of my addiction to ice cream. When I was an exchange student at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire during the Fall of 2012, I became famous for my poor skill at eating. At that time in my life the anxiety I had around eating was at its highest. I didn’t know if I had some kind of disorder or if I was just incredibly slow. I’ve touched on this theme a lot in my “personal essay” posts, and in the last year or two I’ve since overcome a lot of the problems surrounding my general anxiety with the help of some prescribed medication. But ice cream, by its very nature, is easy to eat. I was at the cafeteria- a little café they call Hilltop- with Aaron and a slew of other rowdy lads. I remember I kept going back for more of the free ice cream the cafeteria had, and each day it would be a different flavor. That day it was Birthday Cake, and I remember feeling guilty, shameful and embarrassed that I kept getting up to go to the ice cream bar for another scoop. However I think my buddies liked to see me eating well and growing in confidence, and with an amused grin they’d encourage me to go up and grab some more. Connoisseurs among you will know that Birthday Cake is a premium ice cream flavor. There are a few variations, but it’s usually made with milk, cake batter, vanilla and sprinkles. Blue Bell does a flavor that actually includes bitesize chunks of cake in it!
4. Key Lime Pie
This might seem like something of an unorthodox flavor, and it is, but when I can find it it’s so hard to resist. My best experience of Key Lime Pie ice cream is at a little sandwich shop in De Pere, WI called Scott’s Subs. During the summer of 2015, we would always go there to visit Aaron’s younger sister Danielle who worked there. My flavor of choice was Key Lime Pie, in that it was rich (but not as rich as a cheesecake) and yet simultaneously so refreshing. Give this one a go if you can find it, and check out Scott’s Subs if you are ever in the Green Bay area. Another great place in Wisco to pick up Key Lime Pie ice cream is the Goody Goody Gum Drop in the Wisconsin Dells. Seriously, their ice cream is out of this world.
3. Raspberry Ripple
I tend towards the fruity flavors about 90% of the time when I go get ice cream. For me, I like the experience to be refreshing. I am fond of lemon, mango, and strawberry flavors particularly, but I think my all-time favorite has to be raspberry. It’s my favorite fruit and I’ll almost always get it if it’s available. This is true not just for ice cream, but also my dalliances with donuts and fro-yo too.
I tend to get this flavor when I go someplace like Cold Stone Creamery in Wisconsin or Marble Slab Creamery down here in Texas. What I love so much about these chains is that you can go in there and mix and match from a whole range of flavors and toppings. I like the rich flavor of Cheesecake Ice Cream, and so I’ll pick that and ask to have it mixed with raspberries. The server will then artfully coalesce these two ingredients and you have yourself a dish of raspberry cheesecake ice cream. What more can one ask for?
1. Groom’s Cake
My favorite flavor at the moment is Groom’s Cake, which you can get from my favorite ice cream manufacturer Blue Bell. It’s chocolate ice cream with chocolate cake pieces, chocolate-coated strawberry hearts, and mixed in with swirls of strawberry sauce and chocolate icing. I usually get this flavor from H-E-B (Tim Duncan’s grocery store of choice!!) and I always pick up a bottle of Hershey’s Strawberry Syrup, which I apply liberally. Yeah, I’m a Trash Monster, I know. But this flavor is excellent, and it’s fully endorsed by my roommate Aaron, for whom I initially picked it out for, since he is going to be a groom next year. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this flavor is the addition of strawberry to chocolate, a stroke of genius best experienced in the “chocolate-coated strawberry hearts” found within. They are basically chocolate buttons with this creamy strawberry syrup filling.