Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Brief Tribute to Ice Cream

Ice cream comes in so many varieties, it's impossible not to find the perfect flavor. Mint chocolate chip, strawberry, cookie crumble, chocolate almond, peanut butter supreme, black cherry, vanilla, chocolate chip cookie dough, butter pecan, and even strawberry cheesecake bring people joy to people of all ages. I'm not overly fond of the non-chocolate flavors, but I appreciate differences in tastes and the value of a cold, delicious treat.

When I was home two weekends ago I had the pleasure of visiting the 3B's ice cream shop twice (to my knowledge, it's been around for awhile but no one's sure of what the 'B's actually mean). For anyone who hasn't been to Harrisburg, 3B's is an old-fashioned looking wooden stand, and there a few in the central Pennsylvania area. The one closest to my house doesn't have indoor seating, and it's located in a small parking lot on the corner of two major roads. I had the pleasure of eating a kid's cup (two huge scoops) of Nutty Milky Way and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. My companions indulged in Caramel Apple and Chocolate Marshmallow. One of my other favorite varieties, Death by Chocolate, is no longer on the extensive 3B's list, although Turkey Hill makes the same flavor and having it from a carton is almost as satisfying eating it out of a cup with a plastic spoon.

I recently tried Maggie Moos for the first time (the type of shop where they fold the toppings into the ice cream), and I definitely prefer it over Coldstone. The ice cream is much tastier and creamier, and the choices for add-ins aren't quite as overwhelming. I had cinnamon ice cream with brownies and hot fudge at Maggie Moos, and I'm eagerly anticipating all of the possible combinations I can concoct at the store in Richmond.

Easter dessert at my house is always ice cream and homemade hot fudge. We have the traditional ham, baked potatoes, salad, and pineapple (fresh and crushed) for dinner, but Easter often overlaps with Passover, and the Jewish half of my family is usually in town to celebrate with us. This limits dessert choices to items that don't have any type of leavening, hence the decision to serve ice cream. My mom's hot fudge is the best. She has a knack for achieving the perfect combination of brown sugar, evaporated milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips, and it's the ideal end to a fairly salty meal. I've tried and tried, except somehow I can't quite get my hot fudge to the same heavenly consistency and taste.

When I can't get to 3B's or have my mom's hot fudge, I turn to Bev's in Carytown (a mere two minute walk from my apartment). The ice cream is homemade, and includes flavors like Espresso Oreo, Cinnamon, and Dirty Chocolate as well the standard types. The employees also allow you to pick your own brownie for brownie sundaes. They then proceed to microwave the brownie before scooping ice cream and a topping onto it. If that sounds good, it gets even better: instead of whipped cream, you can choose an additional topping. I'm picky about whipped cream and would rather have crushed oreos or chocolate chips or peanut butter cups on my sundae, so in my opinion, Bev's is doing a great job of keeping a customer.

Another way to relieve an ice cream craving is Ben & Jerry's, which is an entire posting in itself, or Edy's Girl Scout Cookie flavors. My personal favorite is the Thin Mint. The cookies are crushed into chocolate ice cream that has a solid taste but isn't overpowering, resulting in an exquisite blend of mint and chocolate in an unbeatable texture. Edy's also makes Tagalong and Samoa ice creams. Unfortunately, all of the Girl Scout varieties are only available for a limited time. This isn't as big of a setback as it sounds, however, because all of the other brands and ice cream stores are just waiting to be chosen and eaten.

No comments: